(Tim) Wise Watch

It will come as no surprise that professional anti-racist Tim Wise (who I wrote about here) has been provoked to an unusually high dudgeon by l’affaire Rachel Dolezal, he and his minions characterizing her as a “pathological liar” for her cynical appropriation of a African American identity. Why cynical to “occupy a space of oppression”, as Freddie DeBoer cogently argues in today’s LA Times? Because in the circles Dolezal moves in, namely, rarefied academic and left activist circles, there is little to be lost and much to be gained, in careerist terms, by making this move. This is something Wise himself well understands having been milking this particular cash cow, to the tune of a six figure income, for some years now. But he can’t say that least the finger point to himself, hence, the flailing and gesticulating to make sure that that doesn’t happen.

All this is rather amusing and rather sad as well.

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One thought on “(Tim) Wise Watch”

  1. I lived in an open bay barracks for a few months in 1969.

    In that barracks was a white man, not albino, who had grown up in a black community and family.

    He had many speech and behavioral traits that made him unacceptable to the white gatherings in the barracks, and also to the black gatherings.

    The blacks assumed he was mimicking lower class black behavior and tried to get him to step out of what may have been a role he had assumed. He received harsh treatment from both the blacks and whites. He was mostly ignored by the whites.

    The man was very alone in a very bad place. He told his story to the black group in the open bay barracks so that anyone there, white or black, would be hard pressed to avoid overhearing it. When confronted by the group of 5 or 6 black men probing him over a period of days about his true condition, he broke down in tears before everyone present.

    The blacks seemed, over time, to accept him as an underprivileged lesser member of their group, letting him hang with them. He seemed comfortable with them. The whites never seemed to accept him on his own terms at all.

    My perspective on culture as the dominant determinant of behavior was unshakably set by that experience.

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