Tim Wise Brings Racial Awareness to Berklee

By Madeline Hawke
Office for Cultural Diversity

In a culture where discrimination is rarely discussed openly, it takes a brave person to speak up about injustice. Not only is it brave, but when you are a member of the group that benefits from the inequality, it is even more confronting to bring up such a topic.

Tim Wise is one of these brave individuals, confronting racial discrimination in America directly in his books White Like Me and Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male. In these books he references white privilege openly in relation to his personal interactions. Though confronting at times, he analyzes his own life experiences, demonstrating how differently each situation would turn out had he been black.

An activist from an early age, Wise has used his privilege as a white man to address issues he sees as preventing racial equality and justice in America. Hurricane Katrina is a prime example of what he sees as white privilege, where poor black people were the last to be assisted while many white middle class citizens received immediate attention.

Though his writing style may confront the reader, making them question their own privilege and influence, he is opening up dialogue to those who may never have considered the privilege they have purely because of racial heritage.

Coming to speak at Berklee, Wise is going to discuss his upcoming book Between Barack and a Hard Place, which looks at racism and denial in the age of Obama. The presentation will be held on the 11th of February in Recital Hall 1A, 1140 Boylston St from 1-3P.M. and promises to be an insightful and thought-provoking presentation.