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Tim Wise        

Anti-Racist Essayist, Author & Educator

Tim Wise is among the most prominent writers and educators on issues of race and racial equity in the United States. He has spent the past 27 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on over 1500 college campuses, at hundreds of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups, government agencies, corporations, and non-profit organizations across the country about methods for dismantling racism in their institutions. He has also served as an expert witness and consultant in cases involving racial discrimination in the workplace in Washington State, New York, and California.

Wise is the author of nine books, including his latest essay collection, "Dispatches from the Race War," and his highly-acclaimed memoir, "White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son". Named one of “25 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World” by Utne Reader, Wise has contributed chapters or essays to 25 additional books, and his essays have appeared in dozens of popular, professional, and scholarly journals and newspapers.

From 1999-2003, Wise was an advisor to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute, in Nashville, and in the early ’90s he was the 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 “White Like Me: Race, Racism and White Privilege in America,” and "The Great White Hoax: Donald Trump & the Politics of Race & Class in America," both from the Media Education Foundation. Wise appears regularly on CNN and MSNBC to discuss race issues and has been featured on Nightline, CBS Sunday Morning, 20/20, and 48 Hours, among other national news programs. He graduated from Tulane University in 1990 and received antiracism training from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, in New Orleans.

Speech Topics


DEI or DOA? How To Move Beyond Window-Dressing to Achieve Institutional Equity

In this presentation, Tim Wise examines DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) efforts in the workplace, and how those efforts either support real change or perpetuate institutional inequity. As Wise explains, much of what gets done under the rubric of DEI doesn’t challenge fundamental cultural norms or practices that contribute to inequity, rendering DEI efforts DOA (dead on arrival), regardless of the good intentions of those charged with implementing them.

Until those structural impediments to change are explored and altered, institutions are setting up their DEI officers for failure, letting down their employees of color, and doing real damage to the cause of equity. Wise will provide examples of structural changes and institutional norms that promote equity, so that participants can walk away with tangible ideas on how to move real DEI work forward.

Anti-Racism is Not a Self-Help Movement: Moving From Individual Analysis to Systemic Change

In this presentation, Wise explores the trajectory of anti-racism analysis, activism, and "equity work" since the killing of George Floyd. From implicit bias training to workshops on white privilege and fragility, too much of the work has focused on white people as individuals — fixing their biases, checking their privileges, and challenging their fragility — rather than creating policies, practices, and procedures that will produce greater equity for all. While understanding implicit bias, privilege, and fragility can be helpful as a first step, it remains too easy to get stuck at that level, never moving on to explore systemic change. Even worse, a focus on individual privilege or bias engenders defensiveness among white employees that can torpedo the important work that needs to be done. In this speech, Wise discusses how to bring a systemic lens to our anti-racism, so as to avoid these pitfalls, reduce defensiveness and move our institutions in the direction of real change.

Beyond Diversity: Steps for Uprooting Racism, Privilege and Institutional Inequity

In this presentation (which can also be offered as a longer workshop), Wise explores the causes, both formal and informal, for institutional racial inequities. By examining the various policies, practices, and procedures that exist within organizations -- and which often inadvertently perpetuate unequal opportunity and treatment — audience members/participants can develop strategies for shifting their institutional cultures in the direction of greater equity and going beyond surface level diversity.

Among the topics 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 throughout our institutions

News


Tim Wise at Sacramento State University Union Ballroom, 9/19/2013 ...
Tim Wise, lecture based his new book, "Culture of Cruelty: How America's Elite Demonize the Poor, Valorize the Rich and Jeopardize the Future" on how class ...
Tim Wise encourages students to talk about race issues - The News ...
Tim Wise, a renowned anti-racism writer and speaker, tells students in a packed auditorium-style classroom in Old Chemistry that ignoring racism will not make it  ...

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