Monday, October 26, 2009

Talking Points 6: Tim Wise/Brown vs. Board of Education

Tim Wise is telling the world that just because we have elected a black president for the first time, it does not mean the racism struggle has gotten any easier. Many people feel as though people are much less racist because Obama has been elected. However, Obama's speaking style, dress, and entire presentation of himself is very much "white". He has gone to reputable colleges and is very intelligent. In fact, some whites consider Obama to be different than "normal" people of color. Wise explains that there are many other intelligent people of color in the United States that may not be taken serious by whites because of the way they do their hair or the way they dress. The life for normal people of color is still a struggle. Wise states the unfairness that it is easier for a mediocre white person to receive a high ended job such as president than it is for an extremely intelligent African American. During, the Brown vs. Board of Education case, people argued that people of color were not treated unequally, they were just separated from whites. Although today people of color are not segregated by having to go to different schools, use different bathrooms, or ride different buses than whites, they are seperated by the perceptions that whites have of them. They are seperated by the way they speak, dress, etc., and are categorized by whites as good or bad, depending how they have adapted to white culture. For example, if a white saw a person of color wearing baggy jeans, with his hair in cornrows approaching them carrying a baseball bat they would be terrified. On the other hand, if the boy was white and carrying a baseball bat they would probably assume he was going to play baseball with his friends. Where is the equality in this?

The polls that were given during the Brown vs. Board of Education era are very similar to recently given polls. The basis of them is that the majority of white people think that black people are treated equally. The conclusion made from these polls is that the unfairness colored people face is completely oblivious to whites. They either have no clue because they are so used to being the culture of power that they only worry about themselves, or they are in complete denial because they feel guilty for wanting to remain the culture of power. Other polls revealed that whites consider blacks as less intelligent, less patriotic, less hardworking, and more criminalized. Wise is saying that the treatment of colored people has come quite a ways, but there is still a long ways to go. He believes that the relevance of the presidential election is nearly as important as the Brown vs. Board of Education case. Is the election of Obama really a step towards the progression of a non-racial world? According to Wise, if anything, it is just a baby step.


  1. good points.... i like the example of the kids with the baseball bat.... its amazing how people judge

  2. I totally agree with your points of Obama having many "white" qualities. It is ridiculous that people feel the need to find excuses for his success with his lack of racial privilege. As if there must be some other reason why he is so powerful.

  3. That was a really strong example of the stereotypes that exist in our world. But its ridiculous that we still live in a society that feels this way.