Tim Wise

If This Is a Civil War, Pick a Side: Donald Trump, White Nationalism and the Future of America

Sometimes America feels like the movie Groundhog Day: a place where we keep waking up again and again to the same crap, hoping against hope that this time — no really, this time — things will be different.

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Anti-Racism Author Tim Wise: Injustice Is Not a Glitch, It's a Feature: Reflections on the Murder of Philando Castile

If, as the saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, then hoping against hope that this time—surely this time—an officer who shot a black man in cold blood would be held to account, is a type of insanity most profound. Or at the very least, evidence of an overactive imagination rivaling that of the most creative screenplay writer. But rest assured, this movie does not have an alternate ending. It has been screen-tested before jury after jury, and it is quite clear by now which conclusion the audience prefers. Expecting anything different is to expect the things that have always happened to stop happening, like believing any day now, hummingbirds will walk and preschoolers take flight.

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Unpacking the Dark and Contradictory Rhetoric of the White Nationalist Current That Ushered Trump to the White House

So now we know: White nationalists have been working more on their wardrobes than on tightening up the rhetoric and logic they use to defend and present their worldview.

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Discovering the Light In Darkness: Fighting Back Against Trump

“One discovers the light in darkness. That is what darkness is for. But everything in our lives depends on how we bear the light. It is necessary, while in darkness, to know that there is a light somewhere, to know that in oneself, waiting to be found there is a light. What the light reveals is danger, and what it demands is faith…I know we often lose…and how often one feels that one cannot start again. And yet, on pain of death, one can never remain where one is. The light. The light. One will perish without the light…For nothing is fixed, forever, and forever, and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have…The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. And the moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.” —James Baldwin, “Nothing Personal,” 1964

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Millions of White Americans Are Dealing With Economic Pain They Haven't Seen for Decades

The following is an excerpt from the book Under the Affluence by Tim Wise (City Lights Books, 2015): 

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The Casual, Idiotic Racism of Modern American Conservatism

Sometimes racism isn’t about vicious bigotry and hatred towards those with different skin color than your own, let alone a willingness to walk into a church and massacre nine of those others because you think they’re “taking over your country.” Sometimes, racism is manifested in the subtle way a person can dismiss the lived experiences of those racial others as if they were nothing, utterly erasing those experiences, consigning them to the ashbin of history like so much irrelevant refuse.

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Mimicry Is Not Solidarity: Rachel Dolezal and the Creation of Antiracist White Identity

In a country where being black increases your likelihood of being unemployed, poor, rejected for a bank loan, suspected of wrongdoing and profiled as a criminal, being arrested or even shot by police, the mind boggles at Rachel Dolezal's decision some years ago to begin posing as an African American. Yes perhaps blackness helps when you’re looking for a job in an Africana Studies department, selling your own African American portraiture art, or hoping to head up the local NAACP branch—all of which appear to have been the case for Dolezal—but generally speaking, adopting blackness as a personal identity and a substitute for one's actual whiteness is not exactly the path of least resistance in America.

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White America's Greatest Delusion: "They Do Not Know It and They Do Not Want to Know It"

Though perhaps overused, there are few statements that so thoroughly burrow to the heart of the nation's racial condition as the following, written fifty-three years ago by James Baldwin:

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White Americans Have Been Brainwashed About Race: Lies We Tell Ourselves About Black Women

This essay originally appeared at www.timwise.org

In the wake of recent police killings of young black men --- John Crawford, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice most prominently --- there has been much discussion about the way in which large numbers of white Americans, and especially white police, view African American males. The criminalization of the black male body has rarely been as apparent as in the past few months. Regarding Mike Brown, we are told --- and are expected to believe --- that black men are "hulks" and "demons," so irrational as to attack police without provocation, and then after being shot, throw caution to the wind and seek to run through a hail of bullets, as if possessed of superhuman strength. Because apparently it is easier to believe that than to believe a white officer with a history of belligerence, acting out of over-amped fear, prejudice or an authority jones would have killed a black man for talking back to him.

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The Nice White People Who Stick Their Heads in the Sand and Perpetuate Murderous Injustice

This past week, Chris Rock noted in an interview that although racism remained a real and persistent problem, he was glad to see that America is now producing the nicest white people in its history.

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Happy Holidays!