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Op-Ed: Tim Wise — Making ‘white privilege’ pay

By Alexander Baron     Sep 15, 2013 in Politics
If you haven't heard of Tim Wise, he is a man who has devoted his life to the excoriation of "white privilege", and making a comfortable living out of it.
If you haven't heard of white privilege, it is one of the latest forms of racism; they keep inventing new types like Missing White Woman Syndrome, but white privilege has been around for somewhat longer. Who is they in the above, precisely? The race hustlers, of course. These are people mainly but far from exclusively black who make a living out of telling us how oppressed they are, how bad they've had it throughout history, and how we - through our taxes - have to give them more to amend for past injustices, and all manner of grievances, real and imagined.
So what does Tim Wise have to say? Here he is polemicising against what he calls affirmative action for whites. Apparently it's all down to, yes, you guessed it, slavery, that and the colonisation of America in the first place.
If it is not clear from this little rant then it should be that for Wise and his ilk there are only two types of people in the world: whites, who are oppressors even when they don't realise they are oppressing others. And what he calls "people of color", "students of color", and so on. This sick euphemism has no basis in fact; it is a bit like using the phrase "Jews and Gentiles" or "Moslems and non-Moslems" or perhaps more accurately something like "Texans and non-Texans", as though an elderly Mandarin speaking woman from China, a paraplegic Australian Aborigine and an Egyptian serial killer all share a common bond, one which no one from Texas ever can.
This idiocy is compounded by the insistence that race doesn't really exist, that it is a social construct rather than a biological reality. This, believe it or not, is the standard "anti-racist" position - there is only one race, the human race, blah, blah, blah. The reality is of course that there is a human species. Any serious text on race makes this clear, like Race by John R. Baker, but for reasons relating to the Second World War the abuse of eugenics, and the cynical exploitation of the race lobby, this subject is largely taboo today, not only in the media but throughout academe.
So what about white privilege and affirmative action? Like Chris Hedges, who doesn't stoop to his level, Tim Wise comes from a fairly privileged background, and thinks all whites do. This wilful myopia is compounded by a selective reading of history, the vast majority of the whites who flocked to the New World in the 19th and the early 20th Century were anything but privileged, as that famous poem at the Statue of Liberty reminds us.
Alabama State University was founded to educate blacks in 1867. This photograph of homeless white bo...
Alabama State University was founded to educate blacks in 1867. This photograph of homeless white boys was taken at New York in 1890. It is only when inconvenient facts like this are juxtaposed that white privilege can be seen for the fantasy it is.
Creative Commons
How many of these huddled masses found the American dream? The black experience is of course starkly different; most blacks came to America as slaves - as did some whites, never let it be forgotten - but after abolition, they too were free to pursue the American dream, albeit with at times far greater obstacles, and many of them did. The first American millionaire was the daughter of slaves. Generally, blacks fared less well in business, but they enjoyed success in acting: on the stage, films and later, television; in sports - including boxing and especially heavyweight boxing, which they came to dominate, but most of all in music.
Forget so-called hip hop, and reggae, even soul, from the beginnings of ragtime with Scott Joplin and Ernest Hogan, through jazz, swing, r&b and more jazz to the beginnings of rock 'n' roll, the black contribution was and remains simply unparalleled.
Most of these men - and women - faced enormous obstacles the likes of which most of America's contemporary blacks cannot imagine. To take just one example, Ray Charles grew up not only black in a segregated America, but blind, and the wicked racist system sent him to a school in the Deep South where he was taught to read music in braille.
Today there are some 35,000 black millionaires in the US, this fact alone debunks the statistical racism games "anti-racists" love to play. In fact the racial wealth gap was explained 3 decades ago by two of America's greatest economists, both of them black. Thomas Sowell wrote a book about it, and here is Walter Williams asking how much can discrimination explain?
For Tim Wise and his ilk, none of this matters, instead, ignoring both inconvenient facts and the seminal researches of Sowell and Williams, he plays stupid games with statistics; for him the scandalously high crime rates among young blacks are not due to delinquency, thuggishness or dishonesty, but racist drug laws. So Anthony Sowell is not on death row because he murdered eleven women, but because of racism; Terry Blair is behind bars for life not because he murdered six women but because the great white bigot made him do it. And so on. Inequalities in income across the racial divide are caused entirely and only by racism. And his solution? Affirmative action and similar programmes, after all, WE owe it to blacks don't we? Remember slavery?
This is totally pathetic, and a moment's reflection will show why. Redistributing income is not the solution. Everyone needs livelihood, and simply giving jobs that might have been done by whites to (less qualified) blacks does not address this very real issue. Predictably, neither Wise nor any of his fellow travellers - white or black - has any inkling of the real problem. On the other hand, Mr Wise himself is doing very nicely, thank you.
He is a popular speaker with the black academic elite and white "radicals" because he tells them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. He makes a tidy income from this. His books can be found on Amazon. Unsurprisingly they are published in San Francisco by a company called City Lights, that styles itself a radical bookstore. Radical indeed. Far worse than this is the fact that Wise boasts he has given "sensitivity training" to police forces, something that involves stressing the privileges that come with being white and male and - yes, you guessed it - heterosexual.
The proof of any pudding is in the eating, and if Ameri-K-a were such a terrible place for blacks especially, one would expect to see them fleeing the country in droves. What do we find? In a period of just over 40 years, until 2007, close to a million Africans emigrated to the United States. How many, or rather how few, "African-Americans" choose to return to their ancestral homelands? Nuff said!
A lot more could be written about Mr Wise and his fraudulent gospel, but two more points will suffice. One of the things he brands racist is networking, informal networks keep blacks out of the top jobs, etc. What he doesn't seem to realise is that he is networking himself, indeed networking is something most of us do at some point. It can be as simple as recommending a plumber to a neighbour, and at a higher level including academe, many posts are filled through networking. In music, a particular guitarist or saxophonist may play on a particular musician's album by personal recommendation; in the film world, who knows whom is often more important than who does what. And undoubtedly, Tim Wise has been invited to speak (rant) at a certain venue or event because someone heard him and recommended him to someone else. Race and racism have nothing to do with this.
Finally, three years ago, Wise penned a polemic called An Open Letter to the White Right, On the Occasion of Your Recent, Successful Temper Tantrum which reads like a death threat to White America. Later he prefixed this with an explanatory note to the effect that it was directed only at the "white right" and not at all white people. That qualification has no more sincerity than his vacuous rants at "white privilege" have honesty. For Tim Wise and his ilk the day when the last white woman passes child-bearing age can't come soon enough. If and when that day ever happens, who will they then have to blame for all the evils of the world?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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