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Tim Wise, prominent anti-racist writer, visited Stephens Auditorium on Sept. 13 and addressed a large audience of students and community members about racism in today’s society, white supremacy and white privilege. “We have to begin to acknowledge that this problem of racism, this problem of white supremacy goes far deeper than the folks who march around with swastikas and other neo-Nazi symbolism on their shields or their hats. It goes far deeper than the Klan. It is about a larger culture of inequality and the ways that we are all a part of that and contribute to it directly or indirectly,” Wise said.

Addressing a large audience in Stephens Auditorium, anti-racist author and educator, Tim Wise recalled a conversation between him and his two daughters. Driving through Nashville, Tennessee, Wise's youngest daughter asked why only African-Americans lived in a particular neighborhood. 

Wise said he struggled to explain an answer to his daughter, but his daughter managed to provide an answer for her father: redlining.

Redlining is a real estate discriminatory practice of denying services directly or through selectively raising prices to residents of certain areas. In the case of the neighborhood, African Americans residents were the individuals who were victimized by the practice.

Wise used this example and many more to illustrate that the large social structure was to blame for current racial conflicts and inequality in the United States.

"We aren't born with socio-imagination; we create it," Wise said.  

Wise believed that whether people realized it, white supremacy shaped the culture we live in and still has impact.

However, Wise said that the nation is becoming increasingly focused on the conflict of racism. He also said that it is hard to ignore the issue when there are open white nationalists blatantly displaying racial ideologies.

"Nothing demonstrates the inherits of superiority of the white race like a good oversized Polynesian candle," said Wise about how white supremacists, like the ones who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia are marching down the streets with Tiki Torches to ignite fear in non-whites.

However, Wise said white supremacy is not to blame for inequality among whites and minorities in the United States.

"It goes far deeper than the folks who march around with swastikas or Neo-nazi symbols on their shield or their hats," Wise said. "It's a part of a larger social structure we all find ourselves in.'' 

Wise said people have to interrogate the normal operative beliefs that have been instilled in us because they too promote racist ideologies. 

In the midst of talking about the normal operative beliefs, Wise said it has become ironic because it is starting to haunt white people.

"The irony of it is it's the very advantages white folks have had that makes us unprepared for the world to change," Wise said. "Equality starts feeling like oppression because you haven't had to do it before."

Wise shifted his lecture into the opioid epidemic and stated that the country is going through two epidemics. One epidemic Wise described as hitting the small, predominately white towns that are disproportionately affected by the legal and illegal opioids. 

Wise suggested that there was a second opioid crisis, in which white Americans are indulging not just the drug but a "walking opioid" which was the term Wise used to describe President Donald Trump and his ideologies.

"You really think we're going to build a wall and all of a sudden companies are going to stop sending companies overseas?" Wise asked rhetorically.

Wise said Trump's plan of building a wall to prevent labor workers from coming to the United States wouldn't stop capitalism.

"If you tell labor that it can't cross borders in search of the highest wage and while you allow capital to go wherever it pleases," Wise said. "You tilt the game in favor of capital and against laborers."

Wise went on to say that the foundation of Trump's candidacy is laid in white supremacy.

"This man [Donald Trump]'s political rise begins with birtherism," Wise said. "Which is the ultimate expression of racial, religious and cultural uttering against Barack Obama."

Wise explained Trump's perseverance in trying to prove that former president Barack Obama was not actually born in Hawaii and wasn't a natural-born citizen, meaning he wouldn't be qualified for the presidency. Trump would continue his pursuit following him being proven wrong about Obama's birthplace.

"He continued the pursuit which was his way of saying this black man wasn't one of us," Wise said.

Wise continued his lecture saying Trump claimed during his campaign that Mexico didn't send their best citizens into the United States, but Wise suggested that Europe didn't bring their best people over to the United States during the colonial times.

Wise said Trump is continuing the trend of rich white men telling poor white men that people of color are the enemies. Wise said this act had been happening for hundreds of years.

Wise said in the middle of the 1600s the terminology "white" came along as a way to stop the rebellions of poor white men and African slaves due to colonial aristocracy and to control the African slaves.

"Rich people get poor people to fight for them," Wise said.

Moving into his topic of the evening, Wise briefly talked about white liberals and their current narrative toward DACA recipients and how individuals shouldn't blame and criminalize the parents of the DACA recipients.

"People are people, when we're desperate we do desperate things," Wise said.

Wise told his audience not to become cynical or discouraged, but that people should have a clearheaded understanding of history and understand the unequal, racially charged society that has been in place for generations. Instead Wise encouraged his audience to take part in defeating racism.

"I'm fighting for the world that I want my children to live in and other children cause they deserve it."

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