Tim Wise

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Tim Wise
Tim Wise (cropped).jpg
Wise in 2011
Timothy Jacob Wise

(1968-10-04) October 4, 1968 (age 54)
EducationB.A., Political Science
Alma materTulane University
Occupation(s)Anti-racism activist, writer
SpouseKristy Cason (1998–present)

Timothy Jacob Wise (born October 4, 1968)[1] is an American activist and writer on the topic of race.[2] He is a consultant who provides anti-racism lectures to institutions.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Wise was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to Michael Julius Wise and LuCinda Anne (née McLean) Wise. His paternal grandfather was Jewish (of Russian origin). The rest of his ancestry is mostly northern European, including some Scottish.[4][5] Wise has said that when he was about 12 years old his synagogue was attacked by white supremacists.[6] Wise attended public schools in Nashville, graduating from Hillsboro High School in 1986.[7] Wise has a BA from Tulane University in New Orleans. He majored in Political Science and minored in Latin American Studies.[8] While a student, he was a leader in the campus anti-apartheid movement, which sought to force Tulane to divest from companies still doing business with the government of South Africa. His anti-apartheid activism was first brought to national attention in 1988, when South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu announced he would turn down an offer of an honorary degree from Tulane after Wise's group informed him of the school's ongoing investments there.[9]


After graduating from Tulane in 1990, Wise started working as an anti-racism activist after receiving training from the New Orleans-based People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. Wise began initially as a youth coordinator, and then associate director, of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism, the largest of the various organizations founded for the purpose of defeating political candidate David Duke when Duke ran for U.S. Senate in 1990 and Governor of Louisiana in 1991.[10][11] After his work campaigning against David Duke, Wise worked for a number of community-based organizations and political groups in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, including the Louisiana Coalition for Tax Justice, the Louisiana Injured Worker's Union and Agenda for Children.[12] Later in the 1990s, Wise began lecturing around the country on the issues of racism, criticizing white privilege (his own included),[2] and defending affirmative action.[13]

From 1999 to 2003, Wise was an advisor to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute.[14] Wise argues that racism in the United States is institutionalized due to past overt racism (and its ongoing effects) along with current-day discrimination. Although he concedes that personal, overt bias is less common than in the past (or at least less openly articulated), Wise argues that existing institutions continue to foster and perpetuate white privilege, and that subtle, impersonal, and even ostensibly race-neutral policies contribute to racism and racial inequality today.[15] Wise starred in a 2013 documentary entitled White Like Me, based on the book by Wise of the same name.[16]

Personal life[edit]

After living in New Orleans for ten years, Wise relocated to his native Nashville[17] in 1996. In 1998, he married Kristy Cason. The couple have two children.[17] Wise considers himself Jewish by heritage and ethnicity, but does not practice Judaism as a religion.[18] He is a critic of Israel, and philosophically opposed to Zionism, which he views as not only oppressive to non-Jews in Palestine, but detrimental to Jews as well, and counter to Jewish values.[19]

Written works[edit]

  • White Like Me: Reflections on Race From a Privileged Son (Soft Skull Press, 2004)
  • Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White (Routledge, 2005)
  • Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male (Soft Skull Press, 2008)
  • "The Pathology of Privilege: Racism" (PDF). Media Education Foundation. 2008. Archived from the original on October 9, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  • Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama (City Lights Publishers, 2009) ISBN 978-0-87286-500-6.
  • Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity (City Lights Publishers, 2010) ISBN 978-0-87286-508-2.
  • Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority (City Lights Publishers, 2012) ISBN 978-0-87286-521-1.
  • Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America (City Lights Publishers, 2015) ISBN 978-0-87286-693-5.
  • Dispatches from the Race War (City Lights Publishers, 2020) ISBN 978-0-87286-809-0.[20]


  1. ^ Drick, Boyd (October 23, 2015). White Allies in the Struggle for Racial Justice. Orbis Books. ISBN 9781608336159 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b Bradley, Adam (March 29, 2009). "Book Reviews: 'Between Barack and a Hard Place' By Tim Wise | 'More Than Just Race' By William Julius Wilson". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Cook, David (July 2009). "By The Color Of Their Skin: Tim Wise On The Myth Of A Postracial America". The Sun (403).
  4. ^ "Silly Nazis: Encounters With Idiots, from Childhood to the Present". Tim Wise. 2010-11-08. Retrieved 2013-05-28. More to the point, and as regards myself, my Jewish lineage extends only on my Y-chromosome, that is to say, my paternal paternal line, as three of my four grandparents are of Northern European and decidedly non-Jewish derivation.
  5. ^ Wise, Tim (2005). White Like Me. Brooklyn, NY: Soft Skull Press. p. 5. ISBN 1-932360-68-9.
  6. ^ Tim Wise on Race and Racism in America; The Rock Newman Show (44-47 min. mark); December 10, 2014
  7. ^ "Class of 1986, Hillsboro H.S. (Nashville, TN)". Tree52. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  8. ^ "Tim Wise". DePauw University. Archived from the original on June 21, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  9. ^ Kadeem (May 7, 2011). "Power of One: Tim Wise". SUAVV. Archived from the original on January 30, 2012.
  10. ^ Lee, Martin A. (Spring 2003). "Detailing David Duke". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. 18 (109): 295–310. doi:10.1023/A:1023250105036. S2CID 36135157.
  11. ^ Applebome, Peter (February 6, 1992). "THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: Republicans; Duke's Candidacy Raises Legal Questions About State Ballot Laws". The New York Times.
  12. ^ White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son; Tim Wise; Soft Skull Press; Pgs. 168-173
  13. ^ Mugo wa Macharia (October 22, 1996). "Reverse discrimination debate causes outrage". Golden Gater. Archived from the original on May 21, 1997.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  14. ^ "About". 29 May 2010.
  15. ^ McLarin, Kim (September 3, 2006). "MODERN LOVE; Race Wasn't an Issue to Him, Which Was an Issue to Me". The New York Times.
  16. ^ Harris, Aisha (August 16, 2013). "Are You White? Then You Should Probably Watch This". Slate.
  17. ^ a b Cook, David (July 2009). "By The Color Of Their Skin, Tim Wise On The Myth Of A Postracial America". The Sun.
  18. ^ Time Wise website: "Responding to a Young Reactionary: White Privilege, Judaism and the Making of Sloppy Analogies" March 5, 2015
  19. ^ "Zionism articles". TimWise.org. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  20. ^ "The Book".

External links[edit]