Book Discussion on Between Barack and a Hard Place
Apr 4, 2009
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Tim Wise talked about his book Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama
(City Lights Publishers; January 2009). He argued that the election of Barack Obama says very little about a .. Read More
Tim Wise talked about his book Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama (City Lights Publishers; January 2009). He argued that the election of Barack Obama says very little about a reduction of racism in America. He said it reinforces the old negative views about the larger black community while carving out exceptions for blacks like President Obama. His election may therefore complicate progress against racism. Mr. Wise also acknowledged that day as the 41st anniversary of the death of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and talked about white perceptions of racism at that time. He also talked about a highly publicized mass killing the previous day in Binghampton, New York, by a Vietnamese man and how, like in other incidents, blame is assigned to an entire group, unless the perpetrator is white. He also talked about other types of discrimination, the pervasiveness of racism, and the personal responsibility to combat it. He responded to questions from members of the audience.
The 10th annual White Privilege Conference, an annual gathering for critical discussions about diversity, racism and combating oppression, was held in the Memphis Hilton. Sponsors of the WPC in 2009 included the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, the National Civil Rights Museum, the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Starr King School for the Ministry, the Young Women’s Christian Association of Greater Memphis, Rhodes College, and Stylus Publishing.
Tim Wise was the 2008 Oliver L. Brown Distinguished Visiting Scholar for Diversity Issues at Washburn University. He is the author of three books on race and racism: White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son; Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White; and Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections from an Angry White Male.