Movie Friday: Tim Wise and the illusion of “post-racial”

I am depressed.

I am depressed for two reasons. First, I am depressed that no matter how hard I work, I will likely never get as good at talking about issues of race and racism, history and the importance of advocacy as Tim Wise is:

The second reason I am depressed is that it seems like the forces of reason are losing the fight to the forces of revisionist history, post-hoc rationalization and short-sighted self-interest. I realize this post is much longer than what I usually post for Movie Friday (and has fewer jokes), but if you’ve found any of my posts on “the good old days” or the importance of recognizing black history, or really anything that I’ve said about race to be interesting (and the numbers suggest that at least some of you do), then you’ll absolutely love this clip.

Any of you who have watched any black beat poetry or other forms of spoken word, you’ll recognize that Tim uses a lot of their cadence and punctuated rhythm to get his points across. It’s not just a lecture – it’s verbal poetry. Amazing stuff, and I really really hope you watch it.

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  1. rumor says

    Wise is a fantastic orator… thanks for sharing. I like to think of myself as aware of the effects of racial privilege in N. America, but I learned some important new facts here.

  2. Riptide says

    I know this is ‘old news’, but the video is fascinating. The speaker’s cadence reminded me a bit more of Southern black preachers than spoken-word artists, but I have more experience with the former than the latter, and I could be easily convinced the styles have a non-empty overlap.

    Also, the speaker’s rhetorical question of what other problems do we think will repair themselves if we don’t talk about them has a *very* easy answer: teen pregnancy and abortion. The religious (and general) right-wing have built their entire policy of sex education around the idea of not saying *anything* about it to the people who need it most. But this reinforces rather than detracts from the power of the rhetorical point in my opinion, showing mainstream religion as complicit in social stagnation rather than as driving social progress, as the myth is so commonly attributed.

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