Tonight on The Terrordome: Tim Wise on How White Supremacy Harms White People, Part 1


Wednesday, April 4, 6 PM Mountain Time
CJSR FM 88 Edmonton
www.cjsr.com

Tonight we’ll hear from Tim Wise. Tim Wise, a Jewish American, [is a leading anti-Whitesupremacist and has been praised by Professor Michael Eric Dyson as “one of the most brilliant, articulate and courageous critics of white privilege in the nation” and as a national treasure. Wise has spoken in 48 states and on over 400 college campuses including Harvard and Yale. He provides anti-racism training to teachers, doctors, government and military officials and other professionals across the United States.

[Wise is the author of White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, and Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White. He received the 2001 British Diversity Award for best feature essay on race issues. His writings are taught at hundreds of American colleges and he speaks widely in corporate media.] In tonight’s discussion, entitled “Trapped in a History They Do Not Understand: The Consequences of Racial Privilege for White Americans,” Wise explains how Whitesupremacy “damages the emotional, psychological, political, cultural, and economic well being of most white people, even as they provide whites with benefits.” The speech was recorded at the Smith College School for Social Work Lecture Series, Northampton Ma, on June 20, 2005.


BACKGROUND FOR TONIGHT’S PROGRAMME:

In the last five hundred years, the global system of racial privilege and power, or White Supremacy, has amassed trillions of dollars of wealth and unprecedented global power for the Euro-American empire. That same system has, through war, oppression and slavery, committed genocide, killed scores of scattered millions, and rendered scores of other millions to lifelong destitution and subjection. Nevertheless, despite those awesome and terrible results, many of the beneficiaries of this system deny even its existence. At the centre of the empire, where human rights abuses are kept to a comparative minimum, the vast system of inequality feeding profit and power is rarely acknowledged. Yet occasionally it is. In March 2005, I reported on an Ipsos-Reid poll which revealed that one in ten Canadians--around three and a half million people--would not want someone of another race living next door to them.

Racial profiling doesn’t end with the police, though; it also enters also into housing. In 2003, CBC journalist Stephane Alari performed his own Black Like Me experiment. Donning Blackface make-up, Alari hunted for an apartment and then for a job, first appearing as Black, the next day as White. He said, “As a Black guy I asked who I should talk to for the job offer and they said it’s full.... And when I went back the day after as a White and I said, ‘Do you still need people?’ they said, ‘We always need people.’” Even White people who “sound” Black find they face discrimination. Torontonians Joan and Richard Davidson are White and Jewish, but they maintain the accents of their native Jamaica. A July 3, 1999 Toronto Star story on them reported that the couple faced difficulty securing jobs and housing any time they made inquiries over the telephone; suspecting racism, Joan had a neighbour with an Anglo accent call a landlord who’d just refused her; the landlord invited the neighbour to come view the apartment immediately.

Despite extensive studies proving who is the true target of racial profiling in employment, it’s still common to hear the lament in conversation that “White males need not apply,” while even a cursory visual inspection of typical Canadian police and fire services, not to mention board rooms, academies and government offices, show an over-representation of White males. Who needn’t bother applying seems obvious.

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation 2000 report Unequal Access says that “after accounting for education level, unemployment rate is highest among Aboriginal peoples, followed by foreign-born visible minorities, and Canadian-born visible minorities.” University-educated Aboriginal peoples are four times as likely as White Canadians to be unemployed, with foreign-born “visible minorities” at least twice as likely as White Canadians to be jobless. Even after adjusting for education, coloured Canadians are still less likely to be hired or later promoted than White Canadians. According to the Globe and Mail, although African-Canadians between 24 and 54 are just as likely to be university educated as all other Canadians of the same age range, their average income was around $7400 lower than the average. Clearly, keeping the wages of any group of workers artificially low is exploitation of that group--but by definition, such suppression also lowers the average for all workers.

Unquestionably, given the systemic nature of racialised privilege, profit and punishment in Canada, uprooting it entirely may be next to impossible, but most anti-racist activists stress education and public relations campaigns as a start. Clearly, though, without legal sanctions, and with such widespread backing from Canadians, perpetrators of racial profiling will find little reason to end their practices. Their victims will find even less comfort.

Comments

Carla-Ann said…
Why is it ok to be black and proud? Mexican and proud? Yet if you are white and proud you are a racist? Racial profiling is a joke. Blacks and mexicans get all sorts of breaks thanks to the whole white guilt trip.
Minister Faust said…
Carla-Ann has complained about two unrelated issues. I'll skip the first for now. On the second, it's fascinating how some people seem to believe that making remarks, sans evidence or citation, ranks as argument worthy of adult attention. *Sigh*. Nevertheless, in the spirit of informed debate (please note that my original posting was quite specific and that Carla-Ann provided ZERO evidence to refute any of it):

886,000 UNNECESSARY BLACK DEATHS IN 1990s USA DUE TO INEQUALITY IN MEDICAL CARE

Study says unequal care fatal for blacks
By January W. Payne, Washington Post
December 22, 2004

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2004/12/22/study_says_unequal_care_fatal_for_blacks/

WASHINGTON--More than 886,000 deaths could have been prevented from 1991 to 2000 if African-Americans had received the same level of health care as whites, according to an analysis in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The study estimates that technological improvements in medicine--including better drugs, devices, and procedures--averted only 176,633 deaths during the same period.

That means "five times as many lives can be saved by correcting the disparities [in care between whites and blacks] than in developing new treatments," Dr. Steven H. Woolf, lead author and director of research at Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of Family Medicine, said in a telephone interview.

Woolf and four coauthors compiled and examined the data, which they drew from the National Center for Health Statistics.

"We were trying to say that there was something you could do in medical research to improve health outcomes," said Dr. David Satcher, coauthor and former US surgeon general and the current director of the National Center for Primary Care at the Morehouse School of Medicine. "But if you didn't focus more on the translation of that into especially the populations that tended to be left behind . . . you were not going to get as much out of the research as you would otherwise."

Reduced access to health care doesn't account for all the racial disparity in preventable deaths.

Blacks have greater incidence of some diseases; some of this greater morbidity results from education, income level, and environment as well as access to health care. The challenge, the authors said, is to deliver the same quality health care to everyone, despite these factors.

One of the Healthy People 2010 goals--the nation's health priorities for the decade--is to eliminate such inequities in health care.

© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.
Minister Faust said…
US OWES AFRICAN-AMERICANS $1.6 TRILLION FOR ECONOMIC LOSSES DUE TO 1929-1969 JIM CROW LAWS

"A University of California at Berkeley study found that the value of lost income to Black Americans because of discrimination between 1929 and 1969 alone comes to about $1.6 trillion.

"So, contrary to Thomas Sowell's distortions, the idea of reparations is not about convincing people whose ancestors arrived in America after the Civil War that they owe anybody anything for what happened in the ante-bellum South. Clearly, Black economic deprivation goes far beyond the Civil War and the ante-bellum South.

"It was AFTER slavery that America allowed the Black Codes, a set of laws designed to restrict the labor mobility of the newly freed slaves, guaranteeing cheap labour for white planters. One code stipulated that any freed slave without 'lawful employment' would be subject to arrest and then be leased to a white employer.

"So there is a qualitative and quantitative difference between the economic hardships faced by black America and those confronted by every other immigrant group in this nation's history."

--Sean Gonsalves
Cape Cod Times staff writer & syndicated columnist
Minister Faust said…
Whites Swim in Racial Preference
By Tim Wise, AlterNet
February 20, 2003

http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=15223

Ask a fish what water is and you'll get no answer. Even if fish were capable of speech, they would likely have no explanation for the element they swim in every minute of every day of their lives. Water simply is. Fish take it for granted.

So too with this thing we hear so much about, "racial preference." While many whites seem to think the notion originated with affirmative action programs, intended to expand opportunities for historically marginalized people of color, racial preference has actually had a long and very white history.

Affirmative action for whites was embodied in the abolition of European indentured servitude, which left black (and occasionally indigenous) slaves as the only unfree labor in the colonies that would become the U.S.

Affirmative action for whites was the essence of the 1790 Naturalization Act, which allowed virtually any European immigrant to become a full citizen, even while blacks, Asians and American Indians could not.

Affirmative action for whites was the guiding principle of segregation, Asian exclusion laws, and the theft of half of Mexico for the fulfillment of Manifest Destiny.

In recent history, affirmative action for whites motivated racially restrictive housing policies that helped 15 million white families procure homes with FHA loans from the 1930s to the '60s, while people of color were mostly excluded from the same programs.

In other words, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that white America is the biggest collective recipient of racial preference in the history of the cosmos. It has skewed our laws, shaped our public policy and helped create the glaring inequalities with which we still live.

White families, on average, have a net worth that is 11 times the net worth of black families, according to a recent study; and this gap remains substantial even when only comparing families of like size, composition, education and income status.

A full-time black male worker in 2003 makes less in real dollar terms than similar white men were earning in 1967. Such realities are not merely indicative of the disadvantages faced by blacks, but indeed are evidence of the preferences afforded whites – a demarcation of privilege that is the necessary flipside of discrimination.

Indeed, the value of preferences to whites over the years is so enormous that the current baby-boomer generation of whites is currently in the process of inheriting between $7-10 trillion in assets from their parents and grandparents – property handed down by those who were able to accumulate assets at a time when people of color by and large could not. To place this in the proper perspective, we should note that this amount of money is more than all the outstanding mortgage debt, all the credit card debt, all the savings account assets, all the money in IRAs and 401k retirement plans, all the annual profits for U.S. manufacturers, and our entire merchandise trade deficit combined.

Yet few whites have ever thought of our position as resulting from racial preferences. Indeed, we pride ourselves on our hard work and ambition, as if somehow we invented the concepts.

As if we have worked harder than the folks who were forced to pick cotton and build levies for free; harder than the Latino immigrants who spend 10 hours a day in fields picking strawberries or tomatoes; harder than the (mostly) women of color who clean hotel rooms or change bedpans in hospitals, or the (mostly) men of color who collect our garbage.

We strike the pose of self-sufficiency while ignoring the advantages we have been afforded in every realm of activity: housing, education, employment, criminal justice, politics, banking and business. We ignore the fact that at almost every turn, our hard work has been met with access to an opportunity structure denied to millions of others. Privilege, to us, is like water to the fish: invisible precisely because we cannot imagine life without it.

It is that context that best explains the duplicity of the President's recent criticisms of affirmative action at the University of Michigan. President Bush, himself a lifelong recipient of affirmative action – the kind set aside for the mediocre rich – recently proclaimed that the school's policies were examples of unfair racial preference. Yet in doing so he not only showed a profound ignorance of the Michigan policy, but made clear the inability of yet another white person to grasp the magnitude of white privilege still in operation.

The President attacked Michigan's policy of awarding 20 points (on a 150-point evaluation scale) to undergraduate applicants who are members of underrepresented minorities (which at U of M means blacks, Latinos and American Indians). To many whites such a "preference" is blatantly discriminatory.

Bush failed to mention that greater numbers of points are awarded for other things that amount to preferences for whites to the exclusion of people of color.

For example, Michigan awards 20 points to any student from a low-income background, regardless of race. Since these points cannot be combined with those for minority status (in other words poor blacks don't get 40 points), in effect this is a preference for poor whites.

Then Michigan awards 16 points to students who hail from the Upper Peninsula of the state: a rural, largely isolated, and almost completely white area.

Of course both preferences are fair, based as they are on the recognition that economic status and even geography (as with race) can have a profound effect on the quality of K-12 schooling that one receives, and that no one should be punished for things that are beyond their control. But note that such preferences – though disproportionately awarded to whites – remain uncriticized, while preferences for people of color become the target for reactionary anger. Once again, white preference remains hidden because it is more subtle, more ingrained, and isn't called white preference, even if that's the effect.

But that's not all. Ten points are awarded to students who attended top-notch high schools, and another eight points are given to students who took an especially demanding AP and honors curriculum.

As with points for those from the Upper Peninsula, these preferences may be race-neutral in theory, but in practice they are anything but. Because of intense racial isolation (and Michigan's schools are the most segregated in America for blacks, according to research by the Harvard Civil Rights Project), students of color will rarely attend the "best" schools, and on average, schools serving mostly black and Latino students offer only a third as many AP and honors courses as schools serving mostly whites.

So even truly talented students of color will be unable to access those extra points simply because of where they live, their economic status and ultimately their race, which is intertwined with both.

Four more points are awarded to students who have a parent who attended the U of M: a kind of affirmative action with which the President is intimately familiar, and which almost exclusively goes to whites. Ironically, while alumni preference could work toward the interest of diversity if combined with aggressive race-based affirmative action (by creating a larger number of black and brown alums), the rollback of the latter, combined with the almost guaranteed retention of the former, will only further perpetuate white preference.

So the U of M offers 20 "extra" points to the typical black, Latino or indigenous applicant, while offering various combinations worth up to 58 extra points for students who will almost all be white. But while the first of these are seen as examples of racial preferences, the second are not, hidden as they are behind the structure of social inequities that limit where people live, where they go to school, and the kinds of opportunities they have been afforded. White preferences, the result of the normal workings of a racist society, can remain out of sight and out of mind, while the power of the state is turned against the paltry preferences meant to offset them.

Very telling is the oft-heard comment by whites, "If I had only been black I would have gotten into my first-choice college."

Such a statement not only ignores the fact that whites are more likely than members of any other group – even with affirmative action in place – to get into their first-choice school, but it also presumes, as anti-racist activist Paul Marcus explains, "that if these whites were black, everything else about their life would have remained the same." In other words, that it would have made no negative difference as to where they went to school, what their family income was, or anything else.

The ability to believe that being black would have made no difference (other than a beneficial one when it came time for college), and that being white has made no positive difference, is rooted in privilege itself: the privilege that allows one to not have to think about race on a daily basis; to not have one's intelligence questioned by best-selling books; to not have to worry about being viewed as a "out of place" when driving, shopping, buying a home, or for that matter, attending the University of Michigan.

So long as those privileges remain firmly in place and the preferential treatment that flows from those privileges continues to work to the benefit of whites, all talk of ending affirmative action is not only premature but a slap in the face to those who have fought, and died, for equal opportunity.

Tim Wise is a White antiracist activist, essayist and lecturer. Send email to timjwise@msn.com.
Minister Faust said…
Whites Swim in Racial Preference
By Tim Wise, AlterNet
February 20, 2003

http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=15223

Ask a fish what water is and you'll get no answer. Even if fish were capable of speech, they would likely have no explanation for the element they swim in every minute of every day of their lives. Water simply is. Fish take it for granted.

So too with this thing we hear so much about, "racial preference." While many whites seem to think the notion originated with affirmative action programs, intended to expand opportunities for historically marginalized people of color, racial preference has actually had a long and very white history.

Affirmative action for whites was embodied in the abolition of European indentured servitude, which left black (and occasionally indigenous) slaves as the only unfree labor in the colonies that would become the U.S.

Affirmative action for whites was the essence of the 1790 Naturalization Act, which allowed virtually any European immigrant to become a full citizen, even while blacks, Asians and American Indians could not.

Affirmative action for whites was the guiding principle of segregation, Asian exclusion laws, and the theft of half of Mexico for the fulfillment of Manifest Destiny.

In recent history, affirmative action for whites motivated racially restrictive housing policies that helped 15 million white families procure homes with FHA loans from the 1930s to the '60s, while people of color were mostly excluded from the same programs.

In other words, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that white America is the biggest collective recipient of racial preference in the history of the cosmos. It has skewed our laws, shaped our public policy and helped create the glaring inequalities with which we still live.

White families, on average, have a net worth that is 11 times the net worth of black families, according to a recent study; and this gap remains substantial even when only comparing families of like size, composition, education and income status.

A full-time black male worker in 2003 makes less in real dollar terms than similar white men were earning in 1967. Such realities are not merely indicative of the disadvantages faced by blacks, but indeed are evidence of the preferences afforded whites – a demarcation of privilege that is the necessary flipside of discrimination.

Indeed, the value of preferences to whites over the years is so enormous that the current baby-boomer generation of whites is currently in the process of inheriting between $7-10 trillion in assets from their parents and grandparents – property handed down by those who were able to accumulate assets at a time when people of color by and large could not. To place this in the proper perspective, we should note that this amount of money is more than all the outstanding mortgage debt, all the credit card debt, all the savings account assets, all the money in IRAs and 401k retirement plans, all the annual profits for U.S. manufacturers, and our entire merchandise trade deficit combined.

Yet few whites have ever thought of our position as resulting from racial preferences. Indeed, we pride ourselves on our hard work and ambition, as if somehow we invented the concepts.

As if we have worked harder than the folks who were forced to pick cotton and build levies for free; harder than the Latino immigrants who spend 10 hours a day in fields picking strawberries or tomatoes; harder than the (mostly) women of color who clean hotel rooms or change bedpans in hospitals, or the (mostly) men of color who collect our garbage.

We strike the pose of self-sufficiency while ignoring the advantages we have been afforded in every realm of activity: housing, education, employment, criminal justice, politics, banking and business. We ignore the fact that at almost every turn, our hard work has been met with access to an opportunity structure denied to millions of others. Privilege, to us, is like water to the fish: invisible precisely because we cannot imagine life without it.

It is that context that best explains the duplicity of the President's recent criticisms of affirmative action at the University of Michigan. President Bush, himself a lifelong recipient of affirmative action – the kind set aside for the mediocre rich – recently proclaimed that the school's policies were examples of unfair racial preference. Yet in doing so he not only showed a profound ignorance of the Michigan policy, but made clear the inability of yet another white person to grasp the magnitude of white privilege still in operation.

The President attacked Michigan's policy of awarding 20 points (on a 150-point evaluation scale) to undergraduate applicants who are members of underrepresented minorities (which at U of M means blacks, Latinos and American Indians). To many whites such a "preference" is blatantly discriminatory.

Bush failed to mention that greater numbers of points are awarded for other things that amount to preferences for whites to the exclusion of people of color.

For example, Michigan awards 20 points to any student from a low-income background, regardless of race. Since these points cannot be combined with those for minority status (in other words poor blacks don't get 40 points), in effect this is a preference for poor whites.

Then Michigan awards 16 points to students who hail from the Upper Peninsula of the state: a rural, largely isolated, and almost completely white area.

Of course both preferences are fair, based as they are on the recognition that economic status and even geography (as with race) can have a profound effect on the quality of K-12 schooling that one receives, and that no one should be punished for things that are beyond their control. But note that such preferences – though disproportionately awarded to whites – remain uncriticized, while preferences for people of color become the target for reactionary anger. Once again, white preference remains hidden because it is more subtle, more ingrained, and isn't called white preference, even if that's the effect.

But that's not all. Ten points are awarded to students who attended top-notch high schools, and another eight points are given to students who took an especially demanding AP and honors curriculum.

As with points for those from the Upper Peninsula, these preferences may be race-neutral in theory, but in practice they are anything but. Because of intense racial isolation (and Michigan's schools are the most segregated in America for blacks, according to research by the Harvard Civil Rights Project), students of color will rarely attend the "best" schools, and on average, schools serving mostly black and Latino students offer only a third as many AP and honors courses as schools serving mostly whites.

So even truly talented students of color will be unable to access those extra points simply because of where they live, their economic status and ultimately their race, which is intertwined with both.

Four more points are awarded to students who have a parent who attended the U of M: a kind of affirmative action with which the President is intimately familiar, and which almost exclusively goes to whites. Ironically, while alumni preference could work toward the interest of diversity if combined with aggressive race-based affirmative action (by creating a larger number of black and brown alums), the rollback of the latter, combined with the almost guaranteed retention of the former, will only further perpetuate white preference.

So the U of M offers 20 "extra" points to the typical black, Latino or indigenous applicant, while offering various combinations worth up to 58 extra points for students who will almost all be white. But while the first of these are seen as examples of racial preferences, the second are not, hidden as they are behind the structure of social inequities that limit where people live, where they go to school, and the kinds of opportunities they have been afforded. White preferences, the result of the normal workings of a racist society, can remain out of sight and out of mind, while the power of the state is turned against the paltry preferences meant to offset them.

Very telling is the oft-heard comment by whites, "If I had only been black I would have gotten into my first-choice college."

Such a statement not only ignores the fact that whites are more likely than members of any other group – even with affirmative action in place – to get into their first-choice school, but it also presumes, as anti-racist activist Paul Marcus explains, "that if these whites were black, everything else about their life would have remained the same." In other words, that it would have made no negative difference as to where they went to school, what their family income was, or anything else.

The ability to believe that being black would have made no difference (other than a beneficial one when it came time for college), and that being white has made no positive difference, is rooted in privilege itself: the privilege that allows one to not have to think about race on a daily basis; to not have one's intelligence questioned by best-selling books; to not have to worry about being viewed as a "out of place" when driving, shopping, buying a home, or for that matter, attending the University of Michigan.

So long as those privileges remain firmly in place and the preferential treatment that flows from those privileges continues to work to the benefit of whites, all talk of ending affirmative action is not only premature but a slap in the face to those who have fought, and died, for equal opportunity.

Tim Wise is a White antiracist activist, essayist and lecturer. Send email to timjwise@msn.com.
JuleZ said…
Big Upz Minister Faus! This was a killer presentaion done by Tim Wise. Carla-Ann must have not Listened to the show itself becasue it was so clearly laid out. The privilages that insue with having white skin in the USA are so apparent to anybody not of that demographic, but yet much of the privilaged cLass is also being oppressed. Used and abused morally, spiritually, emotionally, creatively, and seperated from the truth - and this i beLieve is part of the reason they donT understand the other level of racist oppresion which they are silently perpetrating. ignorance is what doesnT Let them understand this reality. Time wise really layz this all out.

One Love for aLL thingz
JuLez

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