Anti-racism author to speak Wednesday at IU Bloomington

Anti-racism writer and speaker Tim Wise will present two public lectures Wednesday, March 11, at IU Bloomington, focusing the limits of campus diversity initiatives and America’s retreat from racial equality in an era of so-called colorblindness.

Wise is the author of “White Like Me: Reflections on Race From a Privileged Son” and other books. His appearance is sponsored by Union Board in partnership with IU First Year Experiences, the Graduate and Professional Student Organization, the Black Law Students Association and the IU Student Association.

Tim Wise

Tim Wise

“Union Board strives to improve students’ academic and personal experience with thought-provoking, educational and entertaining programs,” said Kevin Kenes, director of fun and adventure for Union Board. “We believe that bringing Mr. Wise to campus will create a meaningful conversation and challenge students to explore their own beliefs relating to race and privilege.”

Marcus Cooke, social action chair for the Black Law Students Association, said Wise has the perspective of someone who benefits from white male privilege while at the same time critiquing privilege as an impediment to social justice.

“He has a speaking style that’s informative but not off-putting,” Cooke said. “He’s very respectful, but he speaks the truth.”

The two lectures are:

  • “Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat From Racial Equality” at noon in the Moot Court Room of the IU Maurer School of Law. Wise argues against colorblindness and in favor of deeper color-consciousness that will lead to authentic social and economic equality.
  • “Beyond Diversity: Challenging Racism in an Age of Backlash” at 7 p.m. in Whittenberger Auditorium at the Indiana Memorial Union. The speech makes the case that campus diversity initiatives often are feel-good efforts that fail to address racism and inequality.

Both lectures are free and open to the public. No tickets are required for the noon lecture. The 7 p.m. lecture is free but ticketed. To ensure a seat, pick up a ticket in advance from the Union Board office on the second floor of the Student Activities Tower in the IMU.

A question-and-answer session will follow each lecture, and a book signing will take place after the 7 p.m. event, with copies of Wise’s books available for purchase.

Wise has spent the past 20 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on more than 1,000 college and high school campuses and to community groups across the nation. He also has worked as a community organizer, a policy analyst and a college teacher.

He is the author of six books and has written for Alternet, Salon, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, The Root and other publications. His upcoming book “Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Jeopardizing the Future of America” will be released this year.

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