The Pathology of White Privilege by Tim Wise

Powerful talk on race and privilege from Tim Wise.  Thought this video would add to the discussion nicely.  Freestyle with me, what ya think?


  1. DR · August 26, 2009

    Listened to the entire lecture.
    Listened to the problems addressed.
    Listened for answers and solutions.
    Heard one… I think.

    He stated in the very beginning of the speech that the information he was presenting was information gleaned from listening to people of color.
    The one solution I heard from Tim W.: Listen to people of color.

    So, let me revisit the question posed a few days ago in your last post…
    “Is Race a factor in health care?”
    My new answer:
    Now what?

    • BS · September 3, 2009

      DR wrote: Listened to the entire lecture.
      Listened to the problems addressed.
      Listened for answers and solutions.

      I can feel your desire for answers and solutions, but I can’t help but think that in a world as broken as our is, some problems are so deeply ingrained within our collective (sub/uc)conscious that looking for answers at first can be just as hurtful as not listening. I’m not suggesting that wanting answers isn’t admirable, but it can and, I fear especially is the case within racial inequality in the United States, is perceived as slightly dismissive. Some hurts, not unlike those Job experienced, require a caring friend who is willing to hear one out and be empathetic. Unfortunately, really hearing and listening are all too often radically different things.

      My heart broke as I watched the video. I’m not sure what I’ll think or feel tomorrow or the day after that. My wife and I lived among the urban (both white and black) poor until very recently and one of the most striking aspects of these various communities was the lack of cooperation and humanity shared between them, particularly on the part of the white poor. This is something I as a white male honestly do not understand. One thing I do believe is that God grieves when he sees it, so I have some obligation to respond in kind. What I should do after that isn’t altogether clear.

      • DR · September 3, 2009

        I’m listening …

  2. Dana · August 27, 2009

    I love this guy. I think he came to my campus back when I was in college. He is on point!

  3. freestyle · August 28, 2009

    Dana, I also had the privilege of hearing him when he came to our college as well. He is on point, thanks for sharing.

    DR, well I know already that you know very well that there are no simplistic answers and solutions to these complex problems. I think though if we can agree on a common problem, (which we have) we can begin trying to answer them. And obviously we don’t only need answers, but for people to buy in to them as well. Sometimes that is the hardest part of it all. The start is definitely being aware of what the problems are though. I am sure we will agree more at times and disagree more other times, but I think the dialogue has been good overall. Hope you do too!

  4. Albert Griffin · August 28, 2009

    Drew, thanks for bringing this to me. I’m trying to figure out how to expose it to others. As per my comments, let me just say, I am grateful to see the number of whites in the audience. To hear this rhetoric from someone other than a person of color is extremely valuable to the cause of justice. I thank them for having the courage to listen even if they don’t agree. It is definitely a good boost to what has already been a good start, some 120 years ago.

  5. freestyle · August 29, 2009

    I have heard Tim Wise live twice, and was equally impressed each time. I have his Dvd if you ever want to borrow it. I actually let Ben borrow it once, you know he loves that stuff. The thing that is unique about Tim Wise is that he addresses the issue of race from his context. The discussion of whiteness and privilege is an important conversation, especially one that addresses systemic injustice and does not attempt to leave people stuck feeling guilty. But he is no softy either, it speaks truth boldly. Both times I saw him speak he had a lot of white people in the audience, I think that is the norm for him, especially since his speaking circuit is basically colleges.

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