Wising up about privilege

Mr. Wise took time after his lecture to sign books for fans. Wise has devoted his life to educating others in an effort to dismantle institutional racism. (Photo by Jordan Pickett)

Hundreds filled Kane Hall on Friday night to hear anti-racist activist, speaker, and writer Tim Wise at an event that was planned by UW Public Lectures months in advance, well before President Donald Trump became a reality.

As a result, much of what Wise discussed couldn’t be disentangled from current events, and in fact was directly correlated to them. At times, Wise’s cadences and motions matched that of a televangelist, and at other points he was a great comedic relief, but his words reflected those of an educated activist throughout the night.

“What I want to talk about is how we can understand white privilege as an operative thing that gives advantage to those so called,” he said.

Wise contended that white privilege tends to perpetuate American exceptionalism to sustain itself. American exceptionalism, to put it simply, is believing irrevocably in the concept that everyone can “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” and that it’s all anyone needs to do to achieve middle class status or higher.

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