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Race is Not a Card!

For my scholarly event I attended a talk called “Race is not a card� by Tim Wise at Mondale Hall from 7-9pm. The talk was witty and compelling. Tim Wise used statistics and personal anecdotes to portray the national problem of white privilege. The most important part of Tim Wise giving the lecture is that he is a white man, a white man that grew up in the south. He spoke about how colored people have been bringing up the same issues of racism for years, but until the white majority accepts it as an institutionalized problem, the battle will continue unsolved. The problem back when the civil rights movement was in progress was not that the whites were uncaring or unsympathetic, it was that they really believed what they said, such as 87% of white people thought that black children had equal education opportunities. This is obviously untrue only to the people who have been educated about the inequalities in the United States and elsewhere. If we are never told, how are we supposed to know? There needs to be a widespread dispersal of this knowledge. This is why we are so thankful to have Tim Wise come and speak. He has spoken in 48 states and over 400 colleges. This is a profound statistic, so why is racism still institutionalized?

One of the most important ideas that he portrayed in his talk was that the white majority didn’t suffer at all if we were in denial. We could look blindly through the problems of racism without any consequences. We are not tested if we know their reality. Colored people in America are tested on our history though, on our music and our culture. By dismissing the problems of racism, we accept the responsibility of being overprivileged. Overprivileged is not a word that people recognized, but we should. Overprivileged is the white societies’ term if the colored peoples of America are underprivileged. You cannot have one without the other.

We are not taught about our privileges, just about their disadvantages, which inn reality were created and repeated by us. This privilege has created a comfortable bubble for white folks. We were not taught to give up the good things we have in life, we were taught to take advantage of them. Tim used the example of if you were a young child at dinner and your parents told you to eat your peas because there are dying children in Africa, they tell you to have seconds, not to box up the peas and send them to the children. Though it is very unlikely that we even could send our loose peas, the problem here is that we are told to take more of our advantages. We are told to take it for what its worth, rather than sharing the wealth.

I really appreciated this talk. The audience was really interactive and receptive. I believe it does send a different message when coming from a white male, rather than say a black female. I do not believe that this is how it should be, but that is what we need to work to change. In order to make change in our society we need the white majority to accept racism as a systemic racism and realize that without working together, people of all colors, no significant change will be made. In many stories racism ends in death, so literally this problem is a life or death situation for many people. This is their reality, but we need to make it known in our realities also. By educating people about racism and institutionalized racism we can make a difference. One of the most profound statistics that Tim told the audience was that when asked if racism is a significant problem in the United States, only 6% of whites said yes. This is what we need to change.

Please check out Tim Wise's website if you are so inclined. Enjoy, Learn, Teach.