Tim Wise Lecture
Tim Wise is a nationally recognized speaker that will be coming to present a lecture on the topic of
COLORBLIND: THE RISE OF POST-RACIAL POLITICS AND THE RETREAT FROM RACIAL EQUITY
Ever since the civil rights movement, Americans (liberal and conservative) have advocated a retreat from color-conscious public policies such as affirmative action, and even from open discussion of racism as a key factor in the perpetuation of racial inequity in the United States. They have argued that the barriers faced by black and brown Americans are largely divorced from racism, and that these stem either from race-neutral economic factors (such as deindustrialization and inadequate funding for education, jobs programs, and other programs of social uplift) or cultural factors (single-parent families, welfare dependence, and a “culture of poverty”). From this starting point, they contend that "universal" programs intended to help the poor and working class are the best means for narrowing the racial inequalities, or that “self-help” and “personal responsibility” will suffice.
In discussing the pitfalls of "colorblindness" in the Obama era, Wise argues against colorblindness and for deeper color-consciousness in both public and private practice. He also debunks the notion that racial inequalities can be blamed on cultural attributes specific to people of color, or that those inequalities can be solved with race-neutral economic policies. Wise explains that we can only begin to move toward authentic social and economic equity through what he calls “illuminated individualism” — acknowledging the way racial identity continues to shape our experiences and perceptions (consciously and unconsciously) today.