Summary: In this interview with Tim Wise on the Tavis Smiley show, Wise talks about his new book, Colorblind: the Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity, and offers an incisive critique of colorblind race logics in US politics. To be blind to color, he argues, is to be blind to the consequences of color, making it impossible to effectively address racial inequality. In the discussion Wise points to housing discrimination, incarceration rates, and healthcare disparities in a nice explication of institutional racism, and he counters the popular notion among white Americans that the United States suddenly became post-racial following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008. While this twenty-minute clip is rich with information on racial inequality generally, I have found the clip particularly useful in broaching the topic of colorblind racism. Once I've shown it, I typically engage students in a discussion about the consequences of denying the existence of race as a central principle of social organization, both in terms of national policy and interpersonal interaction. Note that in addition to his book, Wise explores the topic of colorblind racism in greater detail in a nice pair of essays he wrote (here and here).
Submitted By: Lester Andrist