Civil Rights Movement
Economy/Economic Visions
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First Year Read Programs
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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 1500 college and high school campuses, at hundreds of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups across the country.

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

Wise is the author of nine books, including his latest, Dispatches from the Race War (City Lights Books). Other books include Under the Affluence, Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority and Colorblind (all from 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; and Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama.

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 two from the Media Education Foundation. “White Like Me: Race, Racism and White Privilege in America,” 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. "The Great White Hoax: Donald Trump & the Politics of Race & Class in America" features Wise explores how American political leaders of both parties have been tapping into white anxiety, stoking white grievance, and scapegoating people of color for decades to divide and conquer working class voters and shore up political support.

Wise also appears 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. More recently, he appeared in Chelsea Handler's Netflix documentary Hello Privilege, It’s Me Chelsea on white privilege and racism in the United States.

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. He is also the host of the podcast, Speak Out with Tim Wise.




"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

“Tim joined our faculty virtually and did an outstanding job outliningg that we are in the middle of the largest racial justice uprising in history. He offered context and clarity on the importance of the moment that was accessible to the entire faculty. He gave us tangible take aways for us to implement with our students. He spoke brilliantly for over an hour, with great enthusiasm and grace because he included and invited everyone to engage with the material in a safe way. The faculty felt empowered and energized to take his messages back to our students. He was simply amazing!”
— Beth Krasemann, Suffield Academy, CT

Interest Convergence in a Time of Pandemic and Police Brutality:
How COVID and Growing Authoritarianism Provide an Opening for Solidarity

In this presentation, Wise explores the dangers and opportunities of the current pandemic moment, combined with the burgeoning movement for racial justice in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. As the nation’s lackluster response to COVID signaled an indifference to those affected — disproportionately Black and Brown folks — so too has the brutal reaction to the brewing rebellion made it clear: we are living in a nation whose leaders have announced for all to hear that so far as they are concerned, Black lives do not matter. And yet, precisely because of the pandemic, millions of Americans (including millions of whites), have been able to stop and actually see what people of color have long known. The relative quiet provided by quarantine has opened up people to the world around them — a world they cannot easily ignore as they often do when going about the normal routine of their pre-pandemic lives. How might we take advantage of this opening? How might we make use of the pandemic moment, and the vulnerabilities it has laid bare, to build empathy across lines of race? After all, because of COVID, for the first time millions of whites are having to ask questions like: Is it safe to go to the store? To go for a walk or jog around the neighborhood? But these are questions Black and Brown folks have had to ask always, with or without a global health emergency. And as we can see from the actions of police, it’s a question they have to ask still, because racism too is a type of virus, for which we have no vaccine or herd immunity. Building on the concepts of “interest convergence” long articulated by the late great legal scholar, Derrick Bell, Wise will examine the various points of potential common ground between whites and folks of color made visible in this moment, and how they can be utilized to grow the movement for justice.

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.

STEM is Not Enough: Equity and the Importance of MESH Education (Media Literacy, Ethics, Sociology, and History)
In this bold new presentation, Tim Wise explores the current push for STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), both in general and for students of color and women, and critiques the single minded focus on these subjects at the expense of comprehensive civics education. As he explains, science and technical skills, absent an understanding of history, group power dynamics (which are explored in sociology), ethics and media literacy will produce a society of coders and engineers but very few people who have what it takes to build and maintain a multicultural, pluralistic democracy. Equity and democracy, after all, don’t come with phone Apps or simple mathematical equations. They require an informed citizenry with the historical memory and ethical grounding needed to produce justice. In fact, even the STEM disciplines need a MESH filter, given the way in which science and technology have been weaponized in history against marginalized populations. In this presentation, Wise examines the problems with STEM, the necessity of MESH, and how schools can ensure a proper balance between them, for the benefit of all.

Challenging the Culture of Cruelty: Understanding and Defeating Race and Class Inequity in America
In this speech, drawn from his 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.

Beyond Diversity: Steps for Uprooting Racism, Privilege and Institutional Inequity
[Note: This can be done as a workshop or as a lecture presentation followed by Q & A.]
In this session, Tim 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 -- participants 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 that can be explored in this 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

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.