- Taschenbuch: 208 Seiten
- Verlag: Soft Skull Press; Auflage: Revised. (13. September 2011)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1593764251
- ISBN-13: 978-1593764258
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14 x 2,3 x 20,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
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White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 13. September 2011
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A memoir of white privilege explores the various ways in which white skin constitutes an advantage in American society in education, employment, housing, criminal justice, and health care. Original. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
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In other words, I have to think about race a lot -- for a white man.
But even with as much as I think about race I am still oblivious to some of the ways my race has privileged me in every context since my conception. And some of the ways it still privileges me every day in ways that harm the wife, children, and church that I love. And, as Wise discusses in White Like Me, ways that harm me and other whites.
In "White Like Me" Tim Wise tells his own story of living as a white man in a country that privileges whiteness. Beginning with his conception and continuing to Obama's presidency, Wise writes of his life experiences and what each one reveals about the advantages whiteness affords. His storytelling is at times moving, usually humurous, and always relatable for white readers.
Wise is not interested in making white people feel guilty. He is interested in helping white people see what our black neighbors see and feel every day. As such, the book is illuminating whether you have explored the subject of white privilege before or not.
Privilege, according to Wise, amounts to almost every experience that a white person has within their life. Simple things like whether or not your presence in a certain area will be questioned or larger things such as access to college educations are all related to the color of our skin at birth. People don't automatically assume you are poor or going to steal when you are in a store, they don't cross the street to avoid walking past you, and they don't assume you are selling to drugs to buy your new shoes. This is not exactly the kind of thing that there is a lot of expert research on. All the evidence and claims that Wise make concerning the subject are all related to his personal experiences and his work relating to activism. However, this being the case I feel that he does make a very strong argument; I have been able to relate to what he is saying in many of his stories.
During one such story he recounts that in his youth he would go to underage keg parties and when the cops would come by they would do little except tell them to keep the noise down. There was no doubt as to the fact that kids were drinking and smoking pot, but no one was arrested and no fines were given. During this same time Wise was running a fake ID business for which he never got in trouble when he or anyone else was caught with one. Wise chalks all of this up to the fact that these homes were in white neighborhoods and that the cops weren't out to make trouble for white kids (35-7).
In all the keg parties I have been to, I can say that this definitely rang true for me. I have never seen any one get arrested or even fined at a party in Milwaukee when the cops have shown up. They merely kick everyone out and even that seems like a joke most of the time, people usually just come back within an hour or so.
Considering the state of the country with terrorism and national security, you'd think that law enforcement would take possession of a fake ID very seriously. If a person of Middle Eastern decent was caught with a fake ID, I'm sure they would have had a much harder time than a white person. I have known several white kids to have had their IDs taken away with not so much as even a slap on the wrist. On another note, if you go to almost any of the bars near campus, many of them knowingly let in people with fake IDs, yet nothing is done to stop it. These bars of course are packed to capacity with white kids.
Resistance is where Wise is trying to lead the readers of his book. To resist racism is to act in what he calls an antiracist way. According to Wise, we all have the choice to stand up and confront racism or to back down and say nothing at all (73). This can be hard for some of us who have family and friends whose feelings are really ingrained with a racist way of thinking. Again, Wise uses an example from his life where he stood up to a person he had just met who told a black joke to a room full of white people. Instead of saying nothing to the man, which he feels is worse than saying nothing at all, Wise chose to engage the man into a reflective discussion about just why the joke was wrong.
Wise goes about this subject of resistance in a way that has never been offered as an option to me or anyone I have ever talked to. To stand up and combat racism as opposed to simply ignoring it, telling yourself that you aren't a racist, or even trying not to think racist thoughts is a huge step to take. In effect you are shedding your layer of privilege and opening yourself up to the possibility of rejection or even ridicule. The most I learned from parents and school, as well intentioned as they were, was only that everyone is equal and deserves to be treated fairly. Had this combative attitude been implanted I may have been challenging the system as a younger person. We all might have, it's hard to say how many minds could have been steered away from prejudice.
One of the finer points Wise tries to make in his argument is that as white antiracists, we do not fight racism for black people. We have to fight it because it is evil and we hate it, we do it for ourselves and our community (98). We must however fight to keep resistance in our lives. No matter how hard you fight against racism, it can always rear its head in your life. Since we have been learning it from such an early stage and see it all around us, its almost impossible to completely change your mode of thought. According to Wise, we don't always act in an intellectual way, sometimes we just operate on conditioning. All it takes is a situation to bring to mind a stereotype and you are working against this antiracist mentality (134). Despite the challenges that come with being an antiracist, the work is absolutely necessary. Destroying racism as a goal might never be able to be accomplished, but nothing worth having has ever been easy.
But the book could have been half this length (and it's not that long). Wise is so self absorbed, he is tedious. Beyond that, he has no insight into the fact that a lot of his privilege derives from being male, as well as white. He'll give examples of "white" privilege that are as much about his gender as his skin color, not to mention matters of class, as others have mentioned. The way he talks about his wife dutifully raising their two children almost by herself while he keeps writing and writing and writing was really hard for me to read. Better he should have taken over the kids for a month and let her finish the book, or, better yet, write her own. I bet she'd have a lot to say. I actually finished the book, just to see where he was going with his ideas, but I was sorry I wasted the time.
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