Details

Biography
Topics
Civil Rights Movement
Economy/Economic Visions
Electoral Politics
First Year Read Programs
Leadership
Multiculturalism
Programs for High School Students
Racism/Racial Justice
U.S. History
White Privilege
Youth/Student Activism

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the United States. He has spent the past 25 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on over 1000 college and high school campuses, at hundreds of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups across the country. He is also the host of the new podcast, Speak Out with Tim Wise.

He has also lectured internationally, in Canada and Bermuda, and has trained corporate, government, entertainment, media, law enforcement, military, and medical industry professionals on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions. Wise has provided anti-racism training to educators and administrators nationwide.

Wise is the author of seven books, including his latest, Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America (City Lights Books). Other books include Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority (City Lights Books); his highly acclaimed memoir, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son (recently updated and re-released by Soft Skull Press); Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White; Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male; Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama; and Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity.

Named one of “25 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World,” by Utne Reader, Wise has contributed chapters or essays to over 25 additional books and his writings are taught in colleges and universities across the nation. His essays have appeared on Alternet, Salon, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, The Root, Black Commentator, BK Nation and Z Magazine among other popular, professional and scholarly journals.

From 1999-2003, Wise was an advisor to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute, in Nashville, and in the early ’90s he was Youth Coordinator and Associate Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism: the largest of the many groups organized for the purpose of defeating neo-Nazi political candidate, David Duke.

Wise has been featured in several documentaries, including the 2013 Media Education Foundation release, “White Like Me: Race, Racism and White Privilege in America.” The film, which he co-wrote and co-produced, has been called “A phenomenal educational tool in the struggle against racism,” and “One of the best films made on the unfinished quest for racial justice,” by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva of Duke University, and Robert Jensen of the University of Texas, respectively. He also appeared alongside legendary scholar and activist, Angela Davis, in the 2011 documentary, “Vocabulary of Change.” In this public dialogue between the two activists, Davis and Wise discussed the connections between issues of race, class, gender, sexuality and militarism, as well as inter-generational movement building and the prospects for social change.

Wise appears regularly on CNN and MSNBC to discuss race issues and was featured in a 2007 segment on 20/20. He graduated from Tulane University in 1990 and received antiracism training from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, in New Orleans.

 

 

Testimonials

"Tim Wise is one of the most brilliant, articulate and courageous critics of white privilege in the nation."  

— Michael Eric Dyson, best-selling author and University of Pennsylvania professor

“Tim Wise is a vanilla brother in the tradition of (antiracism and antislavery fighter) John Brown."  

— Cornel West, philosopher and author

"Your presentation changed minds, and strengthened others in their commitment to leading antiracist lives. You are a role model to white students and evidence to students of color that whites can see their privilege and work against it."  

— Arlene Avakian, Professor of Women's Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

"Having seen probably 1000 campus presentations over the years, I can unequivocally say that (Tim's) was the most thoughtful, enriching and empathetic I have ever seen...his extemporaneous nuanced responses to the audience were profound and life-altering."  

— Bradley J. Davis, President, West Valley College, Saratoga CA

“The fate of this country depends on whites like yourself speaking the truth to those who don't want to hear it.  In this, you are as one with the Biblical prophets. You are more likely to be condemned than lauded, and yet your words are no less important. So, keep speaking out. At the very least, some future archeologists sifting through the ashes of this civilization may be able to find evidence that there were some who offered truth as a cure for the disease that destroyed us.”

— Derrick Bell, Professor of Law, New York University, and one of the world’s leading scholars on race and the legal system, as well as best-selling author of author of several books on race

“Tim Wise is one of those rare ‘public intellectuals’ that numerous authors have suggested are becoming extinct in this society. He is evidence that this is not the case…in my judgment, he is the very best of the white anti-racism writers and commentators working in the U.S. media today…” 

— Joe Feagin, Graduate Research Professor of Sociology, Texas A&M, and an award-winning author of over twenty books on race and racism issues

“...One of the most prolific speakers I’ve encountered. I heard students proclaim that Tim’s presentation changed their attitudes and helped them make a commitment to get involved with changing the system.” 

— Elva Jones, Director of Diversity, Midland Lutheran College, Fremont, NE
 

"Thank you for all of your help in getting Tim here to Pittsburgh! His delivery and story telling made his message so easy to understand, helped folks identify biases they may have, and what impact these biases have on students. I believe that our students/families will forever benefit from our faculty having had this experience. We look forward to continuing the conversation that Tim started."
— Kelly Maddox, Communications Assistant, Falk Laboratory School, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA

Speeches

Great White Hoax: Racism, Divide-and-Conquer and the Politics of Trumpism
In this presentation, Wise explores the rise of Donald Trump and the way Trumpism reflects longstanding traditions of white racial resentment in America. By placing current politics in a historical context, this talk allows the audience to understand what is new, and not so new about the rise of Trump. Furthermore, this presentation documents the way in which Trumpism is rooted in a common and ignoble history in which monied elites have pitted white working class folks against people of color, while ignoring the real causes of economic and social pain felt by millions. From Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric to his calls for “law and order,” Wise lays bare the intellectual absurdity of the Trump phenomenon, and demonstrates conclusively the way in which it is tied to an implicit or even explicitly white nationalist worldview.

Not Giving Up: Maintaining Our Commitment to Justice in Unjust Times
In this new and exciting presentation, Tim Wise explores the importance of staying strong in difficult times, and committing to the struggle for justice, even when justice seems far away. Weaving social movement history with contemporary analysis, humor and storytelling, Wise provides practical tools for movement building, self-care, how to build effective coalitions, and how to avoid some of the pitfalls that occasionally befall organizers and activists in every generation. In this talk, Wise also examines the ups and downs of social media as a tool for movement building; the importance (and potential blind spots) of movement allies; and understanding the difference between systems of oppression and individuals who occasionally act in oppressive ways, and how to stay focused principally on the former, as a way to lessen the harms of both. Additionally, he explores the importance of "radical humility,” in movement work: recognizing our own mistakes, our own (often slow) process of becoming aware of injustices, and the recognition that we still have much to learn from one another.  This presentation is a great primer for movement building and effective activism, which will help boost the resilience of those seeking a more just and equitable world, but who find themselves frustrated by the slow—and often backwards—pace of change.

Challenging the Culture of Cruelty: Understanding and Defeating Race and Class Inequity in America
In this speech, drawn from his newest book, Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Jeopardizing the Future of America, Tim Wise examines the ways in which American politics and culture serve to rationalize inequalities on the basis of class and race. From the myth of “rugged individualism” to the racialized attacks on the nation’s poor, American ideology has long served to explain away inequity as a natural outcome of differential talent, effort or cultural attributes. But as Wise shows in this presentation, to believe that the poor and unemployed are to blame for their own plight, or that the rich deserve their positions and wealth is to believe in a pernicious and destructive lie that threatens the very heart of democracy and true equal opportunity. By exploring the way that racism has been central to the development and perpetuation of the nation’s class system, Wise demonstrates the importance of undermining the dominant white racial narrative not solely to fight racism itself, but larger economic and social injustice as well.

White LIES Matter: Race, Crime and the Politics of Fear in America
In this talk, Wise examines the pushback to the Black Lives Matter movement, and the way in which conservative commentators and even the president have propagated blatant falsehoods about crime and violence in Black and brown communities so as to derail the movement against police brutality in America. As calls for police accountability rise in volume, the right has unleashed a pernicious campaign of propaganda to rationalize racial profiling, legitimize disproportionate police violence against persons of color, and discredit movements for reform. Part of a long tradition of what scholar Jody David Armour has called “Negrophobia,” the lies of the right regarding Black crime serve to boost support for mass incarceration, while doing nothing to improve public safety.


Tim Wise can also tailor presentations to focus on topics like race and education, race and health care, race and the legal system, among others.
Contact SpeakOut for details.



WORKSHOP: “Beyond Diversity: Steps for Uprooting Racism, Privilege and Institutional Inequity”

In this interactive workshop, participants will explore the causes -- both formal and informal -- for institutional racial inequities. By examining the various policies practices and procedures that exist within educational, employment and organizational settings -- and which often inadvertently perpetuate unequal opportunity and treatment -- workshop attendees can develop strategies for shifting their institutional cultures in the direction of greater parity.

This session can be tailored specifically for educators (at the primary, secondary or higher ed level), businesses, non-profits, government agencies, or religious bodies, as desired.

Among the topics explored in the session are:
• The difference between individual bias and institutional bias
• The sources of internalized supremacy/oppression and how these can manifest in all of us
• Privilege as the flipside of oppression
• Stereotype Vulnerability and Racial Performance Gaps - The Hidden Key to Disparities
• The harms of inequity for all members of an institution, including dominant group members
• Strategies for creating equity in the classroom, workspace, and throughout our institutions

Ideally this workshop can be conducted as a, half-day,  full-day training or two-day training. Participants will work in small groups, in one-on-one pairings, and as a plenary.

Note: Workshops can be adapted to run fewer hours and/or to include more participants. Focus can be tailored to your specific goals and desired outcomes.

 

Media