Tim Wise on the Rock Newman Show (Washington DC, WHUT/PBS), December 10, 2014
My appearance on CNN with Chris Cuomo and Charles Blow, 11/26/14 discussing the post-Ferguson rebellion and white denial regarding racism and law enforcement
From the Q&A from my keynote in Lexington, KY, December, 2014, (MOSAIIC Conference) discussing the history of movement building and the importance of youth activism
My response to a question from my December, 2014 talk at the Lyric Theatre, Lexington, KY…
Q&A session after my talk at the MOSAIIC conference, December, 2014…this discussion is specifically about how white southerners come to issues of race…
Tim Wise Speech – “Racism, White Denial and Criminal Justice: Ferguson and Beyond,” 12/5/2014 – Lexington, KY
My keynote speech at the MOSAIIC conference, 12/5/2014 in Lexington KY at the Lyric Theatre, organized by Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
Tim Wise on “Our Common Ground” (BlogTalkRadio) w/Janice Graham: “White Rage in America – Unhinged” (12/7/2014)
My appearance on December 7, 2014 on “Our Common Ground” (BlogTalkRadio) with Janice Graham to discuss racism, white anxiety and the prospects for change, post-Ferguson
My appearance via Skype on the ZoWhat!? Show, December 8, 2014 to discuss racism and white privilege post-Ferguson…
Discussion on HuffPost Live, 12/8/14, hosted by Marc Lamont Hill. We discuss the aftermath of the Grand Jury decisions in Ferguson and New York, and next steps for the movement to end racism and police brutality in communities of color
Guests: Franchesca Ramsey, Patrisse Cullors, Redditt Hudson and Tim Wise
This past week, Chris Rock noted in an interview that in his estimation, America is producing the nicest white people in its history.
Perhaps. But if so, this only suggests the pitiable limits of niceness and its utter irrelevance for the production of something approaching justice, or for that matter even insight. And if so, it may merely signify how far we had to come out of the pit of whatever one takes the opposite of nice to be: mean, nasty, cruel, selfish, and so on. In short, it’s pretty thin gruel in the pantheon of praise, however sincerely Rock may have meant it.
One can be perfectly nice, after all, and still fail to see that which is right before you, staring at you from the computer screen as you watch Eric Garner killed on the streets of Staten Island by an officer who compresses his jugular vein with a chokehold, and still others who sit on his back, thereby compressing his chest and restricting his ability to breathe. The officer who applied that pressure to Garner’s neck might well be “nice” in the sense that he is kind to old people, babies and animals. Likewise, the grand jury that decided yesterday not to indict him for any crime might well have been filled with nice people, who send get-well cards to sick friends and relatives, participate in Secret Santa at work and volunteer at the local food bank. And what of it? Their niceness did not, clearly, provide them with the gift of comprehension, as they managed to watch an officer kill a man who posed no threat to him whatsoever—no reaching for his gun, even in some paranoid fever dream, no charging him like a bull, or as Darren Wilson put it to justify his killing of Mike Brown, like “a demon.” Their niceness came laced with nothing so helpful as empathy as they watched a man choked to death, gasping for air, all because he had been selling loose cigarettes on the street and dared to tell the officers to leave him alone when they decided to harass him for that most serious of crimes.
Their niceness, however real it may be in some abstract sense, means nothing. It will neither bring Eric Garner back nor prevent the deaths of more just like him. So too, I suspect there may be at least a few nice white folks on that grand jury outside of Akron that refused to indict the officer who killed John Crawford a few months ago in the Walmart there. Among their number may well have been at least a few white folks, for instance, who have nursed a wounded bird back to health or taken soup to a shut-in. But from this possibility, we are supposed to conclude what, exactly? Perhaps only this: that nice people can watch cold blooded murder on video—a video that completely contradicts what the officer said about the incident, and also gives the lie to the claims of the possibly nice white man who first alerted police to Crawford’s presence in the store—and still see nothing at all in the way of a crime. Clearly whatever part of the brain controls niceness is not remotely connected to one’s optic nerve, so let us at least make note of this for future reference.