Anti-racist activist Tim Wise will lecture at 6:30 p.m. tonight in Campbell Hall about prejudice and discrimination in American society.
Associated Students Finance Board, Student Commission on Racial Equality, Residence Halls Association and Black Pioneers Renaissance Organization are sponsoring the free event to foster discussion on topics including white privilege, university hate crimes and the effects tuition increases have on underrepresented students. Wise, who has spoken at over 600 campuses nationwide, has authored five books including White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, investigating modern racism in the U.S.
Black Pioneers Renaissance Organization Co-Chair Yoel Haile, a second-year black studies and political science major, said the lecture will address diversity and equity issues on local and national levels.
“It is imperative for all of us to know where we are at in terms of racial equality and how past and present racist laws have translated into current racial disparities in education, jobs and the overall life chances of people of color,” Haile said in an e-mail. “Although we may be one of the more progressive campuses, there is still much work to be done in terms of our awareness of diversity, equity and the privileges that we have and how we can be better allies to marginalized groups of our society.”
Residential Life Resident Assistant Marlenee Blas, a third-year global studies major, said attendees have the opportunity to participate in an unbiased and honest discussion on racial issues.
“I think [attendees] should come with an open mind, because the concept of racism is big and controversial,” Blas said. “They should be open to dialogue and expression.”
According to Assistant Resident Director Sara Potter, coordinator of last year’s Tim Wise event, the discussion will offer an in-depth analysis that engages the audience’s introspective analytical skills.
“Prepare for a mind marathon,” Potter said in an e-mail. “Tim Wise makes folks think very critically in ways they may have never thought before. Your brain will be tired after this!”
According to Potter, Wise provides a unique viewpoint that will resonate with a diverse audience and provides a historical foundation for taboo race issues in American society.
“Oftentimes, discussions around race and racism bring up a lot of feeling, and Wise does a great job of providing historical facts to help understand why these feelings occur,” Potter said. “While his aesthetic agency allows him to connect with certain people, he also talks about issues that people of color have talked about forever.”
Blas said the event utilizes student funds to give the community an opportunity to learn about relevant race issues on campus.
“The event is worth attending because there are many students that have worked hard to bring him here and our student fees are paying for him,” Blas said. “Also, I think the topics he will talk about are very important to our campus, especially because of the continuous battles the students are facing here — like budget cuts and hate crimes.”