About This Series Of Articles
I first became aware of Tim Wise when he was featured on CNN, where he discussed public outrage regarding an article of his. The article is titled “An Open Letter to the White Right, On the Occasion of Your Recent, Successful Temper Tantrum”.
I’ve since briefly reviewed his website, and have come to the conclusion that he’s likely not a good person.
I get the feeling that he tends to write primarily, or wholly, about white racism. Look at the titles of his books:
“White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son“
“Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White“
“Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male“
“Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama“
“Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity”
Again, I get the feeling that he tends to write primarily, or wholly, about white racism. I have a problem with that. Wouldn’t it be better to focus on combating racism in general, regardless of race?
In fact, might his apparent focus on white racism actually be, to some degree, counterproductive to his efforts? After all, if you’re a white person, and you heard him highlight white racism yet downplay or ignore non-white racism, would you not feel he is acting unfairly?
Feeling that he’s acting unfair, might many whites tend to ignore his message, since they dislike the speaker’s seeming unfairness? I would think so.
If Tim Wise really wants to eliminate white racism (or racism in general, for that matter!), would it not be fair to address racism by non-whites also?
Before getting into in-depth analysis of his articles, I suspect that Tim Wise has hatred in his heart, and I suspect that he likely makes many illogical arguments. Why do I suspect this? Well, I suspect that he has hatred because of the contempt shown by some of his statements.
I think it’s likely the case that people with hatred in their heart are more likely to make illogical arguments. I am very confident that left-wingers are also more likely to make illogical arguments; however, I suppose it’s possible that Tim Wise doesn’t consider himself left wing.
I value fairness and logic. And perhaps most of all, I value good intentions. I’m not so sure Tim Wise is a person with good intentions.
Therefore, I have created a series of articles, each of which will review and analyse one of his articles. I have a feeling that they will expose, not support, Tim Wise.
Let’s see what I, the 74th smartest person in the world, discover!
Below, Part Two reviews a second Tim Wise article!
So, the title implies that Donald Trump may have engaged in denial. Given that I consider Trump to be one of the most intelligent celebrities, I’m certainly curious as to what Tim Wise will write about Trump! However, based on the illogical arguments exposed in Part One, I’m not getting my hopes up!
1) He writes:
“There is no one in the world more creative than a white person trying to deny their racism, after having said or done something incredibly racist.”
Really? So Tim Wise believes that racist whites are more creative in denying their racism than are racist blacks who deny their racism? Is Tim suggesting that whites are more creative than blacks?
Also, take a close look at Tim’s wording. It implies that all whites may be racist. After all, if Tim doesn’t believe all whites are racist, wouldn’t it have made more sense to write the following?
“There is no one in the world more creative than a white racist trying to deny their racism, after having said or done something incredibly racist.”
2) He writes:
“Whether it’s the Orange County California Republican activist who recently sent around the e-mail with the picture of the Obamas portrayed as chimpanzees…”
Portraying a black couple as chimpanzees is likely to have been a racist act, given that obviously racist people have a history of associating monkeys with blacks (as have some Muslims with Jews). If the person with the chimpanzee sign was not racist, she should have thought twice about making the chimpanzee comparison.
However, it’s understandable that one might want to disparage someone by comparing them to an animal, as a way of suggesting that they are a lesser form, and it is unfortunate that such a comparision is automatically assumed to be racist.
Regardless of likelihood, one can’t assume (as I assume Tim would) that comparing a black couple to chimpanzees is certainly more racist than a comparison between blacks and pigs. After all, wouldn’t most people prefer to be compared to a more human-like chimpanzee rather than a pig or a crocodile? Perhaps the only reason to assume a chimpanzee comparison is worse than a monkey comparison is if there’s something about a black being compared to a chimpanzee that is more hurtful than being compared to a pig..
So, what’s Tim Wise implying? Is he implying that comparing a black to a chimpanzee is more hurtful than a comparison to a pig?
If so, why would the comparison to a chimpanzee be more hurtful? Aren’t the more hurtful comparisons ones that involve a nugget of truth? Is Tim Wise implying that there is something about chimpanzees that blacks can relate to? Perhaps. If so, I find it terrible of him to make such an inference!
3) He writes:
“…or the folks who show up to Tea Party rallies with signs picturing the president as an African witch doctor with a bone through his nose, no one ever wants to admit the obvious: that they are knuckle-dragging, pathetic bigots. In the case of the above-mentioned Republican activist, she relied on the old stand-by defense; namely, that she has black friends. “
I would think that a picture of Obama portrayed as an African witch doctor may have been fairly likely to have been a racist act, but I think the likelihood of it being racist is far less than the likelihood of the chimpanzee comparison being racist.
Why? Well, there is quite a bit of evidence suggesting that Obama was not born in Hawaii, and was instead born in Kenya. It certainly wouldn’t be out of place to portray him as an African!
As for the witch doctor aspect, it certainly wouldn’t be unusual for someone who believes Obama to be illogical to compare that aspect of his behavior to that of a a superstitious, unscientific witch doctor!
About both 2) and 3). And I can’t stress this enough. Isn’t it very plausible that in both instances the whites acted in the manner they did simply because they knew it might be considered racist, and hence, one of the most hurtful methods of attacking Obama?
Since when do someone’s hurtful words or acts mean that the person actually believes them? Haven’t you often said something hurtful to a family member, knowing that they would find it hurtful, even though you didn’t actually believe in the validity of the claim? Didn’t you ever say something to someone because you knew the topic was sensitive to them?
Tim: Where’s your head at? Did you not think of the reasoning I provided?
4) He writes:
“Of course, she can’t name any of them, because she’s lying; and more to the point, this isn’t a defense to a charge of racism. It would be like a heterosexual man using sexist slurs in the workplace, or pinching female co-workers on the ass, and then insisting that he wasn’t sexist because after all, he has a wife.”
If the person with the chimpanzee sign couldn’t name any black friends that she claimed to have, I agree that she was probably lying about having black friends.
However, the comparison made by Tim is illogical. A white racist is certainly unlikely to choose black friends, because a true racist (someone who dislikes blacks regardless of their individual personality and/or actions) certainly wouldn’t choose to be friends with blacks! In contrast, a sexist man is reasonably likely to be married, if only as a result of wanting companionship and children. It’s possible for someone to sexist and look down on women to a certain degree, but enjoy elements of their companionship. But Tim, why would a racist who dislikes blacks choose to be friends with blacks?
5) He writes:
“But the most recent award for a ‘White Man Doing Racist Shit and then Lying About it’ has to go to Donald Trump. Although Trump insists that he is possibly the ‘least racist’ person on the planet, and that he actually gets along good with ‘the blacks,’ whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean, his actions suggest otherwise. Putting aside the testimony of a former colleague of Trump’s, who has noted that the Donald once said that laziness was a ‘trait in blacks’ (an accusation Trump never denied at the time it was made)…”
Why does Tim Wise believe that it is racist for a white to believe that blacks may be lazier than whites? Does Tim believe there is no difference at all between the percentage of whites and blacks who are lazy?
I’m not suggesting that it is wise to actually make such a claim about laziness…but if they claim is made, it certainly doesn’t suggest the speaker is racist!
If there is a difference between the groups, why would that be considered racist? If one makes an observation that they believe to be true, how could that imply racism or hatred on the part of the person making the observation?
Making such a claim about laziness doesn’t even really say much anyway! (This is beside the point, but a point I’d like to make). If one believes one group is lazier than the other, what does that mean? Does that mean that 10% of whites are lazy and 15% of blacks are lazy? Or does it refer to 10% / 50%? I’m sure it’s much closer to the former than the latter.
In fact, the opposite could be true. Whites could be lazier than blacks. But I suppose Tim’s world is very rigid, allowing very little room for error. Except, of course, when he’s the one making the countless errors!
I’ve observed what I perceive to be many differences between many groups: males/females, blacks/whites, Canadians/Americans/Europeans. Am I sexist / racist / nationalistic for believing what my eyes see and my ears hear? Of course not. And it’s a disgrace for Tim to imply that.
6) He writes:
“…his recent rants indicate a definite willingness to push buttons of white racial anxiety and resentment for political gain. First, Trump jumped on the birther bandwagon, suggesting that President Obama may not have been born in the U.S. This, despite the fact that state officials in Hawaii had long verified that he was born there…”
Rants? Who’s the one ranting?
So Tim Wise is willing to believe Obama was born in Hawaii simply because the people Obama has influence over say as much? Does he see no potential conflict of interest? Does he not know that government has a reputation for being corrupt, regardless of the party in power?
Worse, would Tim Wise say that such evidence outweighs the fact that Obama spent millions of dollars defending lawsuits that could have been avoided simply by releasing a birth certificate?
7) He writes:
“…and the fact that the Honolulu newspaper had printed a birth announcement a few days after Obama was born. To believe the president wasn’t born there would require a belief that his mother had purposely concocted a conspiracy to place a phony birth announcement: an act that would have made no sense unless we believe that she somehow knew, even in 1961, that her son — her black son — was going to run for president one day and would need the cover of ‘natural born’ citizenship.”
Really? Is Tim Wise actually making this argument in all seriousness?
So, a birth announcement can only be placed by mothers who can predict the future presidential success of their son? That’s funny, because I would’ve thought that many everyday mothers would consider that placing a fraudulent birth notice would simply increase the chance their son would receive the benefits of being considered an American instead of being considered a foreigner! (Those benefits being Social Security, avoiding deportation, Employment Insurance, etc).
8) He writes:
“What makes birtherism racist is simple: it has been part of a larger narrative that has attempted to ‘other’ Barack Obama, as a secret Muslim, a foreigner, an ‘anti-colonial’ African (in Dinesh D’Souza’s terms), and as someone who doesn’t view America the way the rest of us (read: white people) do.”
The biggest problem with this argument is Tim’s claim that it is racist to point out someone who may be a foreigner. How is it racist to claim that someone is a foreigner, if one really believes the person is a foreigner?
And isn’t it fair to assume that a foreigner would not view America as Americans would? Why would they? And isn’t it fair to make that point?
And why would it be odd to portray Obama as a secret Muslim, given that Obama himself basically admits that he is a Muslim? Obama admits his father was Muslim, and Muslims aren’t baptized; they become Muslims automatically if their father is Muslim!
And why does Tim refer to Dinesh D’Souza? He isn’t white. Of course, one doesn’t have to be white to be racist, but given the title of Tim’s article, and given his reference to whites just a few words after his reference to D’Souza, isn’t it fair to assume that Tim was referring to white racists?
9) He writes:
“No white president has ever had their citizenship questioned in this way, nor would they.”
Yes, perhaps no white president would ever be likely to have their citizenship questioned as much as a black president.
But it’s ridiculous to imply that if recent white presidents were treated equal to how Obama’s been treated, they would’ve also had their citizenship questioned. I don’t recall any other white presidents refusing to release a document of which its provision is mandatory for children who wish to enter Little League baseball! So why would the citizenship of white presidents have been questioned?
10) He writes:
“Now, with the birth certificate thing settled among remotely sane people…”
Sane? Would a sane person make the arguments Tim Wise does? Perhaps a sane but biased, hateful and/or less intelligent person!
11) He writes:
“Trump has switched gears, casting doubt on Barack Obama’s academic performance and suggesting he didn’t deserve to get into the Ivy League schools he attended; namely, Columbia and Harvard Law. Although this plays directly into the long-running narrative so common on the white right for the past forty years, to the effect that black folks are getting things they don’t deserve because of racial favoritism, Trump insists it has nothing to do with race. Of course not. “
Apparently Obama graduated from Columbia without honors. I think it would be reasonable for Trump to wonder how a graduate without honors could gain admission to one of the top law schools in the world. I think it would be reasonable for Trump to wonder about the Columbia grades, given that Obama refuses to release them. Don’t you?
12) He writes:
“Neither could it possibly be about race that Trump would question Obama in this way, despite never having raised the issue of academic merit with any white president or politician, like, for instance, George W. Bush, who was a mediocre student (at best) in prep school and Yale, and actually bragged about his piss-poor performance to Yale students when he gave the commencement address there after becoming president.”
Did Tim ever think that perhaps Trump raised the issue of Obama’s academic merit simply because he dislikes Obama having censored his documents? Isn’t one more likely to question someone they dislike, regardless of their race?
Isn’t it possible that Trump might not have questioned Bush’s entrance into Ivy League schools not because Bush is white, but because Trump understood how Bush gained entrance (perhaps through his family connections). In contrast, isn’t it possible that Trump questioned Obama’s admission simply because Trump didn’t understand how Obama gained admission?
After all, although affirmative action assists unqualified blacks, it’s reasonable to question whether affirmative action would go so far as to provide a very unqualified black, like Obama, with entrance to Harvard, as opposed to providing a boost to a mildly unqualified black, such as a black who graduated with honors but with a GPA lower than otherwise academically identical whites. And given that Trump may have found it hard to believe that affirmative action would’ve provided Obama with such a huge benefit, wouldn’t it be natural for Trump to question how Obama was admitted?
13) He writes:
“By suggesting Obama might not have deserved to be in the Ivy League (despite that whole Magna Cum Laude thing at Harvard Law, which is not awarded, after all, by pulling names out of a hat)…”
So let me get this right. Tim believes that someone is deserving of admission into a school based on the grades they earn after admission, and not the grades they earned prior to admission! Wow!
I’d love to see a world like that, because it would mean that every single person admitted to an Ivy League school would graduate with above average, A and B grades! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could achieve that? In Tim Wise’s world, apparently we already have achieved that!
14) He writes:
“He might be, but that isn’t the point: it’s that he, like far too many white Americans seems to buy into a narrative that people of color are getting things for which they aren’t qualified: slots in good colleges, positions on the Supreme Court, or even the presidency itself.”
How could one not believe many blacks have gotten things they didn’t qualify for? After all, that’s the definition of affirmative action, to provide an artificial boost. Now, other than the blacks whom received an artificial boost, there have been many blacks that were unfairly discriminated against. But that’s beside the point, because the point Tim Wise made was simply to question whether some blacks have received an unfair boost, not to question whether other blacks have been discriminated against!
15) He writes:
“Rush Limbaugh, for instance, insists that Obama only won because he was black and that a combination of racially-motivated African Americans and guilt-ridden white liberals voted for him on that basis.”
Obama won the election with 54% of the vote (The electoral vote is actually the vote that counted, but my point is still valid, for argument’s sake).
If 4 percentage points of people (4 among the 54) voted for Obama for race related reasons, then it’s true that Obama’s victory was a result of his race! That’s indisputable!
It’s not unreasonable to believe that 7.4% (4/54) of those who voted for Obama did so for those reasons. Is it?
Now, it wouldn’t be correct to say that Obama only won due to his race, because other aspects of his character influenced voters, but if 7.4% of those Obama voters did vote for him because of his race, it is nevertheless true that Obama would’ve lost the election had he been white!
16) He writes:
“That a guy whose only physical exercise in 20 years had been washing down oxycontin with water would deign to weigh in on who was and was not a talented football player was precious to say the least.”
So is Tim Wise saying that only athletes should be allowed to be coaches, because it’s impossible for a non-athlete to ever be a better coach than any athlete?
17) He writes:
“Never mind that according to a Century Foundation study from a few years back, for every student of color who benefitted at all from affirmative action at a selective college there are two whites with lower scores and grades than the average, but who were admitted anyway because of family connections or parental alumni status.”
That’s a strange comment. “Average” what? There are two whites that are admitted with scores lower than the “average” admission score? Of course there would be! Don’t almost all averages have that characteristic?
There will always be many people with grades above and below the average scores who are admitted for legitimate reasons. Otherwise, every single admission would have the exact same grade! Have you ever seen that occur?
But let’s assume, for arguments sake, that Tim actually meant something other than what he wrote. Let’s assume he meant that for every affirmative action receipient there were two unqualified whites admitted due to family connections and family alumni.
That’s a problem. I don’t agree with using that criteria for admission! But what does that necessarily have to do with racism against blacks? Nothing! That has to do with faulty criteria!
It’s natural that more whites would benefit from family connection and family alumni criteria simply because…there are more whites living in the USA!
Actually, given that the ratio of whites to blacks is about 6 to 1 in the USA, wouldn’t Tim’s citation of the 2 to 1 ratio actually suggest that the family connection criteria does not, for any reason, favor whites (if it did, you’d expect to see a >6 to 1 ratio), but rather suggest that family connection criteria favors blacks (as you’d expect to see with a ratio of <6 to 1)? Why did Tim Wise cite research that claims that family connection and family alumni criteria favor the admission of blacks over whites?
It’s bizarre to see Tim presenting an argument that contradicts the point he attempts to make.
18) He writes:
“Never mind that even when job applicants are equally qualified in terms of experience and education, applicants with white-sounding names are 50 percent more likely than those with black-sounding names to get a callback for an interview.
Never mind that white male job applicants with criminal records are more likely to get called back for an interview than black men without one, even when all other qualifications are indistinguishable.
Never mind that African Americans with college degrees are twice as likely as their white counterparts to be out of work, Latinos with degrees about fifty percent more likely than comparable whites to be out of work, and Asian Americans with degrees about 35 percent more likely than similar whites to be unemployed.“
I’m not surprised to read that these scenarios are occurring. And the scenarios are unfortunate. But does he not think that if blacks were in the majority blacks would discriminate against those with white sounding names? Why rail against whites specifically? Why not rail against any group that does this?
19) He writes:
“Never mind that corporations run by white folks receive far more taxpayer largesse (in the form of subsidies and specialized tax breaks) than all poor folks combined, let alone the poor of color.”
Without providing figures to compare the percentage of taxes each group pays, his statement offers little. Tim might have a good point; but you could never know based on the limited amount of information he provides.
20) He writes:
The statement itself tells you little. Along with knowing how much tax was paid, you need to be able to compare the income levels between the two groups, and you need to examine what positives society may have gained in exchange for GE receiving the tax credits!
21) He ends with this:
“And never mind that Richie Rich, who was set up in business by his father and inherited tens of millions of dollars from his daddy to help him build his own fortune, thinks he is somehow qualified to pontificate on the extent to which others may or may not have earned what they have — which really is the textbook definition of irony, and by irony, I mean balls.”
Why would whether someone receives an inheritance be a factor that limits their ability to determine whether others have earned what they have? What a bizarre statement.
Similar to the findings in Part One, I think it’s fair to say that one must conclude that Tim Wise is either 1) Not that bright, 2) Bright but not bright enough, 3) A liar, regardless of his intelligence level 4) Irrational, regardless of his intelligence level.
In fact, wouldn’t it be reasonable to claim that Tim Wise is at least fairly likely to be a racist? When you think about it, doesn’t he seem to make negative, unfounded, illogical statements about whites based on their skin colour, regardless of their accuracy?
If the negative statements he makes about whites aren’t simply based on their skin colour, aren’t made regardless of whites’ individual actions, then why does he make such illogical statements? Is it a lack of intelligence?
And to think that such a person does (I assume) provide such bizarre views to audiences, it’s very disturbing indeed!
Coming soon: Part Three