POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (February 18, 2005) – Tim Wise is considered one of the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S., and he will address "Little White Lies: The Truth About Affirmative Action and 'Reverse Discrimination'" in the Villard Room at Vassar College on Tuesday, March 1 at 5:30 p.m. Wise will signs copies of his books immediately following.
Wise will publish two books in 2005, "White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son," and "Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White." He has contributed essays to a dozen books and anthologies, and is featured in the book "White Men Challenging Racism: Thirty-Five Personal Stories."
In his Vassar talk, Wise will explore the degree to which America is plagued by racism, and the necessity of affirmative action in breaking down inequitable treatment. A focus will be to reframe the affirmative action debate, from the preferences given to people of color, to the daily preferences available to whites.
Wise will also analyze the opposition to affirmative action, and what he considers the myths behind this criticism — that affirmative action rebukes "merit" standards, increases racial discord, hurts whites who are not responsible for the legacy of racism, and is irrelevant since racial discrimination has largely ended.
"Tim Wise is one of the most brilliant, articulate and courageous critics of white privilege in the nation. His considerable rhetorical skills, his fluid literary gifts and his relentless search for the truth make him a critical ally in the fight against racism and a true soldier in the war for social justice," said Michael Eric Dyson, Professor of African-American and Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Among his wide-ranging activities, Wise has spoken in 47 states and on over 300 college campuses, including Harvard, Stanford, and the law schools at Yale, Columbia, Michigan, and Vanderbilt. He has also trained numerous physicians, medical industry professionals, and teachers, as well as corporate, government, and law enforcement officials, on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions.
A graduate of Tulane University in political science, Wise received the 2001 British Diversity Award for best feature essay on race issues, and he is a featured columnist with the ZNet Commentary program. He serves as the Race and Ethnicity Editor for LIP magazine, and his work has been covered in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle.
For more information, please call Belinda Guthrie, Associate Dean of the College and the Director for Equal Opportunity, at (845) 437-7584. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Cathy Jennings at (845) 437-5370.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.