Tim Wise
Tim Wise

Tim Wise
Me". The New York Times. Tim, Wise. "Tim Wise F.A.Q". Retrieved 5 August 2014. Joe Hart (November–December 2010). "Tim Wise: The Confrontationalist".

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Tim WiseWise in 2011BornTimothy Jacob Wise
(1968-10-04) October 4, 1968 (age 51)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.NationalityAmericanEducationB.A., Political ScienceAlma materTulane UniversityOccupationAnti-racism activist, writerSpouse(s)Kristy Cason (1998–present)Children2Parent(s)Michael Julius Wise
LuCinda Anne (McLean) WiseWebsitetimwise.org

Timothy Jacob Wise (born October 4, 1968) is an American anti-racism activist and writer.[1] Since 1995, he has given speeches at over 600 college campuses across the U.S.[2] He has trained teachers, corporate employees, non-profit organizations and law enforcement officers in methods for addressing and dismantling racism in their institutions.[3]

Contents Early life and education

Wise was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to Michael Julius Wise and LuCinda Anne (née McLean) Wise. His paternal grandfather was Jewish (of Russian origin), while the rest of his ancestry is northern European, including some Scottish.[4][5] Wise has said that when he was about 12 years old his synagogue was attacked by white supremacists.[6] Wise attended public schools in Nashville, graduating from Hillsboro High School in 1986.[7] In high school he was student body vice-president and a member of one of the top high school debate teams in the United States. Wise attended college at Tulane University in New Orleans and received his B.A. there, with a major in Political Science and a minor in Latin American Studies.[8] While a student, he was a leader in the campus anti-apartheid movement, which sought to force Tulane to divest from companies still doing business with the government of South Africa. His anti-apartheid activism was first brought to national attention in 1988, when South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu announced he would turn down an offer of an honorary degree from Tulane after Wise's group informed him of the school's ongoing investments there.[9]

Career 1990s

After graduating in 1990, Wise started working as an anti-racism activist after receiving training from the New Orleans-based People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. Wise began initially as a youth coordinator, and then associate director, of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism, the largest of the various organizations founded for the purpose of defeating political candidate David Duke when Duke ran for U.S. Senate in 1990 and Governor of Louisiana in 1991.[10][11]

After his work campaigning against David Duke, Wise worked for a number of community-based organizations and political groups in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, including the Louisiana Coalition for Tax Justice, the Louisiana Injured Worker's Union and Agenda for Children, where he worked as a policy analyst and community organizer in New Orleans public housing.[12]

In 1995, Wise began lecturing around the country on the issues of racism, criticizing white privilege (his own included)[1] and proposing his solutions. The following year, he returned to his hometown Nashville, and he continued his work around the US, gaining a national reputation for his work in defense of affirmative action.[13]


From 1999 to 2003, Wise served as an advisor to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute.[citation needed] Wise received the 2002 National Youth Advocacy Coalition's Social Justice Impact Award. He has appeared on numerous radio and television broadcasts, including The Montel Williams Show, Donahue, Paula Zahn NOW, MSNBC Live, and ABC's 20/20, arguing the case for affirmative action and to discuss the issue of white privilege and racism in America.[14]

Wise argues that racism in the United States is institutionalized due to past overt racism (and its ongoing effects) along with current-day discrimination. Although he concedes that personal, overt bias is less common than in the past (or at least less openly articulated), Wise argues that existing institutions continue to foster and perpetuate white privilege, and that subtle, impersonal, and even ostensibly race-neutral policies contribute to racism and racial inequality today.[15]


In multi-racial societies such as the U.S., Wise argues that all people (white or people of color) will have internalized various elements of racist thinking. However just because society has been conditioned this way does not mean that society is committed to racist thinking. Wise argues that members of society can challenge this conditioning and be taught to believe in equality.[16]

In 2010, Utne Reader magazine listed Wise as one of the "25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World".[17]

In 2013, Wise posted a commentary on his Facebook page describing the hate mail and death threats he receives, and addressing the people who troll his site. Many commenters criticized the commentary as reflecting white privilege, and questioned his role in the discussion of race in the United States. One commenter found Wise's remarks demeaning to anti-racist work done by people of color.[18] Two others compared Wise to Hugo Schwyzer, who was famous in feminist circles but later exposed for misogynistic attitudes.[18] Wise posted a response on Facebook saying in part, "I won't try and defend the tone of most of my remarks. It was inappropriate. Period. ... I fell into the same kind of vitriolic and sometimes personal attack mode that had gotten me angry in the first place. I shouldn't have. I will strive to do better."[18]

Wise starred in a 2013 documentary entitled White Like Me, based on the book by Wise of the same name.[19]

Personal life

After living in New Orleans for ten years, Wise relocated to his native Nashville[20] in 1996. In 1998, he married Kristy Cason. Together they have two children.[20] Wise has referred to himself as Jewish[6] and as an anti-Zionist Jew[21] but does not practice Judaism.[22]

Written works Video releases

In addition to books and essays Wise has produced a DVD titled On White Privilege: Racism, White Denial & the Costs of Inequality and a double-CD entitled The Audacity of Truth: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama.[2]

  1. ^ a b Bradley, Adam (March 29, 2009). "Book Reviews: 'Between Barack and a Hard Place' By Tim Wise | 'More Than Just Race' By William Julius Wilson". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Tim Wise: One of the Country's Leading Anti-Racist Writers and Activists". Speak Out. Archived from the original on November 13, 2011. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Cook, David (July 2009). "By The Color Of Their Skin: Tim Wise On The Myth Of A Postracial America". The Sun (403).
  4. ^ "Silly Nazis: Encounters With Idiots, from Childhood to the Present". Tim Wise. 2010-11-08. Retrieved 2013-05-28. More to the point, and as regards myself, my Jewish lineage extends only on my Y-chromosome, that is to say, my paternal paternal line, as three of my four grandparents are of Northern European and decidedly non-Jewish derivation.
  5. ^ Wise, Tim (2005). White Like Me. Brooklyn, NY: Soft Skull Press. p. 5. ISBN 1-932360-68-9.
  6. ^ a b Tim Wise on Race and Racism in America; The Rock Newman Show (44-47 min. mark); December 10, 2014
  7. ^ "Class of 1986, Hillsboro H.S. (Nashville, TN)". Tree52. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  8. ^ "Tim Wise". DePauw University. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  9. ^ Kadeem (May 7, 2011). "Power of One: Tim Wise". SUAVV. Archived from the original on January 30, 2012.
  10. ^ Lee, Martin A. (Spring 2003). "Detailing David Duke". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center (109).
  11. ^ Applebome, Peter (February 6, 1992). "THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: Republicans; Duke's Candidacy Raises Legal Questions About State Ballot Laws". The New York Times.
  12. ^ White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son; Tim Wise; Soft Skull Press; Pgs. 168-173
  13. ^ Mugo wa Macharia (October 22, 1996). "Reverse discrimination debate causes outrage". Golden Gater. Archived from the original on May 21, 1997.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  14. ^ "A conversation about race". Crampton Auditorium at Howard University in Washington, DC: NBC News. April 16, 2008.
  15. ^ McLarin, Kim (September 3, 2006). "MODERN LOVE; Race Wasn't an Issue to Him, Which Was an Issue to Me". The New York Times.
  16. ^ Tim, Wise. "Tim Wise F.A.Q". Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  17. ^ Joe Hart (November–December 2010). "Tim Wise: The Confrontationalist". Utne Reader. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  18. ^ a b c The Stream Team (17 September 2013). "Anti-racism activist gets backlash over Facebook rant". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 24 February 2014.
  19. ^ Harris, Aisha (August 16, 2013). "Are You White? Then You Should Probably Watch This". Slate.
  20. ^ a b Cook, David (July 2009). "By The Color Of Their Skin, Tim Wise On The Myth Of A Postracial America". The Sun.
  21. ^ "Zionism articles". TimWise.org. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  22. ^ Time Wise website: "Responding to a Young Reactionary: White Privilege, Judaism and the Making of Sloppy Analogies" March 5, 2015
  23. ^ "White Lies Matter: Race, Crime and the Politics of Fear". City Lights. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
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