Campus Involvement

Tim Wise keynote 04-17-13

The Understanding Race Theme Semester Student Steering Committee in partnership with the Center for Campus Involvement's Social Justice Speaker Series presents...

An evening with Tim Wise
Wednesday, April 17th
Michigan League Ballroom

Tim Wise is the author of six books, including his latest, Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority and his highly acclaimed memoir, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son. Wise has spoken in all 50 states, on over 800 college and high school campuses and to community groups across the nation.


Ever since the civil rights movement, liberals have advocated a retreat from color-conscious public policies such as affirmative action, and even from open discussion of racism as a key factor in the perpetuation of racial inequity in the United States. They have argued that the barriers faced by black and brown Americans are largely divorced from racism, and that these stem, instead, from economic factors such as deindustrialization, capital flight from the cities, spiraling healthcare costs and inadequate funding for education, jobs programs, and other programs of social uplift. From this starting point, they contend that "universal" programs intended to help the poor and working class are the best means for narrowing the racial inequalities with which the nation is still plagued.

In discussing the pitfalls of "colorblindness" in the Obama era, Wise argues against colorblindness and for deeper color-consciousness in both public and private practice. We can only begin to move toward authentic social and economic equity through what he calls illuminated individualism—acknowledging the diverse identities that have shaped our perceptions and the role that race continues to play in the maintenance of disparities between whites and people of color in the United States today.

Other sponsors for this event include: The Diversity Council, the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, the Department of American Culture, MESA, Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice, Zingerman's, Michigan Access Program, LSA Honors Program, and the Center for Public Policy in Diverse Societies.

Doors open at 4:00pm. A reception will be held following the keynote in the Michigan League Vandenberg Room.