Tim Wise (shown with Ross Wishnick, chairman of Princeton Human Services) spoke to an SRO crowd of 175 people at the Carl A. Fields Center tonight (February 10). Someone from Not in Our Town, asking a question, elicited what was arguably the most valuable insight of the evening:
Question: How to engage students and faculty who are in denial about the realities of white privilege?
Answer: reduce the guilt (for whites) and the shame (for blacks).
Offer examples of activists that students can identify with. Teach the whites about the Greensboro sit-ins. They learn how white solidarity provoked change. Tell the students of color about how slaves sabotaged the economic prosperity of plantation owners. They learn how resistance made a difference.
Then both whites and blacks get to see history through a different lens. They learn that “people like me stood up.”
And they are challenged to decide “whose side are you on.”