I went to a talk by Tim Wise last night. He’s a white, ant-racist, social justice activist. It was the first time I ever heard a white guy talk about ending racism. I read Janet Helms model of White Identity and became very frustrated/confused. Tim Wise provided the (mostly white) audience with some great insight about what it means to be white and how white people can use their unearned privileges to end racism. I am reading White Like Me by Tim Wise and it is full of useful language and ideas for action.
I talked with some friends of color and they had a less than positive reaction to Tim Wise. I empathize with their anger. Why should a white guy have to tell other white people that they have to end racism when people of color have been saying the same thing for a long time. I think Tim Wise is valuable as a social justice educator. He got my attention. Isn’t that valuable? How many white folks were affected by Wise’s talk? I think we all have to work towards the elimination of all oppressions and if someone from an oppressor group gets the attention of other oppressors than so be it. IMHO