Tim Wise: White Power is not History



“You’re White, You’re Old, You’re History!” That was one Newsweek writer’s message to the GOP November 10. It’s been a media mantra for weeks.  However, anti-racist activist and author Tim Wise says white power is far from over yet – just follow the wealth.

Great insight from the great man himself.


[Speaking of whites] “You’re no longer the prototype, you’re no longer the model for what America looks like is threatening. If you never had to think about your race, identity or experience, you took that for granted. Now they have to think about it. It was once invisible to you and now has become opaque…now people see you. This is where white folks are right now. They’re being named and seeing themselves for the first time at the center of this. People of color have always seen themselves, but whites have always been invisible.

“There are two paths a white person can take at this point: 1) solidarity with people of color, identifying with similarities (jobs, housing, economics)…or 2) when I feel threatened, rather than finding common cause with those who have always been threatened by the system, I’m going to circle the wagons.

“The concern is they may choose the latter and the next 5 or 10 years can be particularly ugly with a deep seated white nationalism [like apartheid in South Africa until they finally let go], and more overt racism than what we’ve seen in the last 4 years. And those are dangerous people…people who have nothing to lose.”

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10 thoughts on “Tim Wise: White Power is not History”

  1. Reblogged this on 2012 Spirit In Action and commented:
    I’ve had some horrendous experiences trying to explain white privilege, so this is interesting to me on another level. I think it will be interesting to see how people who are used to ethnicity being invisible and unquestioned develop their awareness. Most people do not realize that “white” is not a race, it is not an ethnicity-it is a privilege class that has at certain times been openly denied to people with REALLY pale white skin (the Irish are the perfect example but the immigrants from eastern Europe in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s were also not “white” tho their skin was quite light in many cases) Race is a false concept, a set of categories created only to create division among people thus providing leverage to certain groups who wished to gain and maintain POWER over others. I read somewhere that we share 93% of our genetic material with a BANANA so how different can we really be from another human being? I think it will be beautiful when the whole concept of whiteness dies its long overdue death and people return to being Gaels, Picts, Uighurs, Bretons, Yoruba, Tamil, Chechen, Tupa, Cherokee, Hmong, Catalan, Berbers, Silesians and the several thousand other ethnicities that make up our wonderfully diverse planet. To me whiteness is a false division, a line just to have a line. Culture and ethnicity are no more divisive than liking different music, or clothing, or whether you have curly hair or not. These things make life more interesting-we can share one anothers differences happily where dividing lines made just to divide are always ugly and hurtful (see the whole debate on “illegal” immigration for another riff on this same dismal tune!)
    I know people who vehemently disagree with me and who are “proud to be white” but to me that is like being proud to be Generic-since that is all words like white or black, red or yellow really are-generic terms for whole ranges of ethnicities and cultures that are HUGELY different within each “colour” often more different than two people of different “colours” but similar cultures are. Think about the Ainu who have more in common with the Inuit than any other “white” group. Or how the Maasai and the Navajo who are both herding cultures have more in common with one another than with other “black” or “red” peoples who are say fisherfolk whose lives are based around the sea. Colonization has long attempted to erase culture and replace it with division based on wealth, position and skin “colour” or “race”. Colonization attempts to make everyone wear levis, shop at walmart, eat at mcdonalds and drink Coke while watching “reality tv”, or you can wear donna karan, shop at Macy’s, eat at Wendy’s, and drink Pepsi-in effect your ethnicity, or culture becomes nothing but corporate branding. If you can look beyond the narrow focus of “white” people vs the rest of us and see the big picture of how that came to be, you quickly see the tricks, the reasons for it all and who benefits and how we all lose from it.

    1. Thank you for this insight, ohnwentsya. Fact is, whites in America have made this an issue that people of color have had to deal with and suffer tremendously through. As long as people in power, who happen to be white, continue to make “race” and color an issue, we will continue to discuss it and educate others about it. 🙂

  2. There is a blogger following my blog who commented on this thread claiming to NOT BE a racist, yet her comments pointed to the fact that she is. While I cannot block this person from my blog, I can trash her comments and report them, if needed.

    For the record, Tim Wise IS THE EXPERT on race relations. Anyone questioning him better have their credentials in order besides being a viewer of Fox News and oxycotin and viagra pumped Rush Limbaugh.

    For any other racists or trolls out there, know that I have ZERO tolerance for ignorance, hate and stupidity.

  3. Wow; Graet article and a great responce from Ohnwentsya.

    You are so correct when you say that white is not a race. Many races have “White” skin as many races have “Black” or “Brown” or “Yellow” or “Red”
    Our world is made up of a vast number of different races; group identities (like tribal groups) and cultures. Each of them has been affected by the others to become what they are. Spaniards are part Moor. Sicilians are as well. All of the South and Central American countries are peopled by folks who are of Spanish, Native Indian, and African heritage. Most people in this country today are of mixed heritage. Even those who claim to be pure white or pure black; probably aren’t. Such claims seem foolish to me. The people who have the highest likelyhood of being part black are the very white people who make the most hateful noise. Southern white families are more riddled with black ancesters than swiss cheese is riddled with holes. Slaveownwers were the biggest reason for the inter-racial children born to slaves to begin with. this makes their refusal to integrate all the more reprehensible and frankly; emasulating for them. “Black” people have had an influence on most cultures and many of those affects have been extremely beneficial.

    “Hell; I say let them stay. What about you? You’re a Native American if I remember correctly; you wanna’ stay too?”

    I’ll bet that’s how you feel treated many times. White people having the arrogance to presume to decide your status and your rights or lack there-of.

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