Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

364 of 409 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2007
Although I agree with the vast majority of the posts regarding the quality and insight of Wise's White Like Me, I think that, as a community of readers, teachers, activists and concerned citizens who loathe racial injustice, we must take care not to exalt Wise as THE authority on race and privilege in this country (basing this on another post that used similar language). Many African American scholars and writers - W.E.B. DuBoise, David Walker, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Sonia Sanchez, Gwendolyn Brooks and Amiri Baraka - have been saying the same thing (from the black perspective) that Wise does in his book, and decades BEFORE Wise did. While I applaud Wise's courage, I think that we shouldn't fall into another white privilege trap, which is to exalt a white person for a revolutionary work on race, when this same type of revolutionary writing was done by people without privilege years ago. I would hate to think that we can only accept admissions of white privilege from whites, when people of color - who have suffered from it - took risks and challenged racism when the topic was far from vogue (dangerous, actually). There are many great thinkers and writers of color out there; read Wise, but supplement your knowledge from those who are survivors, too. Peace to my fellow activists of EVERY hue.
3838 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
92 of 121 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2006
Tim Wise's book, White Like Me, takes a look at racism from the perspective of the whites in the United States. Through his writings, Wise hopes to be able to open the eyes of white people to the privilege that has been bestowed upon them as the dominant racial group in our society. "Being a member of the majority, the dominant group, allows one to ignore how race shapes one's life" (Wise 2). Beginning from this premise, by using examples and stories from his own life, he attempts to show just how privilege has shaped his life and what he has done for the fight against racism.

Privilege, according to Wise, amounts to almost every experience that a white person has within their life. Simple things like whether or not your presence in a certain area will be questioned or larger things such as access to college educations are all related to the color of our skin at birth. People don't automatically assume you are poor or going to steal when you are in a store, they don't cross the street to avoid walking past you, and they don't assume you are selling to drugs to buy your new shoes. This is not exactly the kind of thing that there is a lot of expert research on. All the evidence and claims that Wise make concerning the subject are all related to his personal experiences and his work relating to activism. However, this being the case I feel that he does make a very strong argument; I have been able to relate to what he is saying in many of his stories.

During one such story he recounts that in his youth he would go to underage keg parties and when the cops would come by they would do little except tell them to keep the noise down. There was no doubt as to the fact that kids were drinking and smoking pot, but no one was arrested and no fines were given. During this same time Wise was running a fake ID business for which he never got in trouble when he or anyone else was caught with one. Wise chalks all of this up to the fact that these homes were in white neighborhoods and that the cops weren't out to make trouble for white kids (35-7).

In all the keg parties I have been to, I can say that this definitely rang true for me. I have never seen any one get arrested or even fined at a party in Milwaukee when the cops have shown up. They merely kick everyone out and even that seems like a joke most of the time, people usually just come back within an hour or so.

Considering the state of the country with terrorism and national security, you'd think that law enforcement would take possession of a fake ID very seriously. If a person of Middle Eastern decent was caught with a fake ID, I'm sure they would have had a much harder time than a white person. I have known several white kids to have had their IDs taken away with not so much as even a slap on the wrist. On another note, if you go to almost any of the bars near campus, many of them knowingly let in people with fake IDs, yet nothing is done to stop it. These bars of course are packed to capacity with white kids.

Resistance is where Wise is trying to lead the readers of his book. To resist racism is to act in what he calls an antiracist way. According to Wise, we all have the choice to stand up and confront racism or to back down and say nothing at all (73). This can be hard for some of us who have family and friends whose feelings are really ingrained with a racist way of thinking. Again, Wise uses an example from his life where he stood up to a person he had just met who told a black joke to a room full of white people. Instead of saying nothing to the man, which he feels is worse than saying nothing at all, Wise chose to engage the man into a reflective discussion about just why the joke was wrong.

Wise goes about this subject of resistance in a way that has never been offered as an option to me or anyone I have ever talked to. To stand up and combat racism as opposed to simply ignoring it, telling yourself that you aren't a racist, or even trying not to think racist thoughts is a huge step to take. In effect you are shedding your layer of privilege and opening yourself up to the possibility of rejection or even ridicule. The most I learned from parents and school, as well intentioned as they were, was only that everyone is equal and deserves to be treated fairly. Had this combative attitude been implanted I may have been challenging the system as a younger person. We all might have, it's hard to say how many minds could have been steered away from prejudice.

One of the finer points Wise tries to make in his argument is that as white antiracists, we do not fight racism for black people. We have to fight it because it is evil and we hate it, we do it for ourselves and our community (98). We must however fight to keep resistance in our lives. No matter how hard you fight against racism, it can always rear its head in your life. Since we have been learning it from such an early stage and see it all around us, its almost impossible to completely change your mode of thought. According to Wise, we don't always act in an intellectual way, sometimes we just operate on conditioning. All it takes is a situation to bring to mind a stereotype and you are working against this antiracist mentality (134). Despite the challenges that come with being an antiracist, the work is absolutely necessary. Destroying racism as a goal might never be able to be accomplished, but nothing worth having has ever been easy.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
55 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2011
I have to agree with a lot of the harsher critics of this book. I am liberal and Wise has some valuable insights for to an audience that hasn't thought much about race. For that, fine. I'm glad he wrote the book.

But the book could have been half this length (and it's not that long). Wise is so self absorbed, he is tedious. Beyond that, he has no insight into the fact that a lot of his privilege derives from being male, as well as white. He'll give examples of "white" privilege that are as much about his gender as his skin color, not to mention matters of class, as others have mentioned. The way he talks about his wife dutifully raising their two children almost by herself while he keeps writing and writing and writing was really hard for me to read. Better he should have taken over the kids for a month and let her finish the book, or, better yet, write her own. I bet she'd have a lot to say. I actually finished the book, just to see where he was going with his ideas, but I was sorry I wasted the time.
55 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
27 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2012
I'm a white man married to black woman. I'm a white father of two children society classifies as black. I'm a white pastor of a congregation that is 60% black.

In other words, I have to think about race a lot -- for a white man.

But even with as much as I think about race I am still oblivious to some of the ways my race has privileged me in every context since my conception. And some of the ways it still privileges me every day in ways that harm the wife, children, and church that I love. And, as Wise discusses in White Like Me, ways that harm me and other whites.

In "White Like Me" Tim Wise tells his own story of living as a white man in a country that privileges whiteness. Beginning with his conception and continuing to Obama's presidency, Wise writes of his life experiences and what each one reveals about the advantages whiteness affords. His storytelling is at times moving, usually humurous, and always relatable for white readers.

Wise is not interested in making white people feel guilty. He is interested in helping white people see what our black neighbors see and feel every day. As such, the book is illuminating whether you have explored the subject of white privilege before or not.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
68 of 99 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2009
I recently came across two of Tim Wise's books in a local book store - White Like Me and Speaking Treason Fluently. I gave them a quick scan and decided that I wanted to read them both. I work in education and have seen white privilege at work; it's a topic I care about.

As I began this book, White Like Me, I found the reading enjoyable. Even better, I felt my own beliefs about racism and white privilege were being affirmed.

However, I won't be finishing the book or reading anything else by Tim Wise. On two consecutive pages, Wise makes commenst that are racist to the point that he's lost credibility with me. Let me explain.

When explaining why high school debate team is "so white", Wise states (p. 33) "The substance of the arguments made and the way in which the arguments are delivered also tend to appeal to whites far more readily than people of color, for whom the style and substance are often too abstract to be of much practical value." That is a disgusting comment. To generalize that people of color would not be interested in abstract argument because it lacks practical value is incredibly arrogant, demeaning, and racist.

Amazed as I was by that statement, I was willing to overlook it until I read the next page (p.34). Here Wise explains that the entire process of debate is "a white one." He writes, "...whites (and especially affluent ones), much more than folks of color, have the luxury of looking at life or death issues of war, peace, famine, unemployment, or criminal justice as a game, as a mere exercise in intellecutual and rhetorical banter." He then claims that being able to debate a position such as "whether or not full employment is a good idea, presupposes that my folks are not likely out of work as I go about the task." He adds, "To debate whether racial profiling is legitimate likewise presupposes that I, the debater, am not likely to be someone who was confronted..." with racial profiling.

Wise seems to be saying that because of their position in society, people of color are unable to engage in intellectual and rhetorical banter, to take equally either side of a position. He's saying that because they have experienced discrimination, they can not step outside of their own experience to discuss the discrimination from all sides. Again, Wise's arrogance is palpable.

The perfect counterpoint to Wise's claims is the current debate about healt care reform. People of color, some with health insurance and some without, are debating the pros and cons of a government-run health insurance option. They are able to discuss it intellecutally and rhetorically. They are able to look at both sides of the issue. They are able to overcome the multitude of ways in which the health care industry discriminates against them.

Tim Wise is clearly aware of "white privilege" and it's role in the continuing oppression of minorities. But his opinions and perspectives contain the covert and subtle racism that now characterizes much of American thought towards "people of color".
3131 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2015
I tried to read this book, but could not finish it. Wise is a precious and pretentious nitwit. This autobiographical sketch says less about race relations than it does about Wise's desperate desire to transform the random bits and pieces of his life into a memoir. I have up midway through; there's simply nothing compelling about his collegiate activism -- ironically, he proves "white privilege." Only a white boy could write a book celebrating an almost obsessive narcissism as though the rest of us could, or would, care. (Dp you recall the names of your junior high school teachers?)
He tries too hard, strains meager accomplishments, and bores rather than instructs. Race matters. No doubt. But Tim Wise has little to say on the topic. White Like Me teaches little and inspires not at all.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2015
A very thoughtful book. While it's important to listen to people of color when it comes to matters of race, Tim Wise uses his whiteness very effectively to contribute to the conversation.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2015
Tim Wise has written an excellent book on white privilege and has done it in a way that doesn't produce existential guilt that one might expect. He is a consummate storyteller!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2015
A very though provoking book. Wise brings up institutionalized racism that many whites simply do not think of.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2015
This guy wrote what people speculate. It is a open eye view of the truth about whiteness in America
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed

Black Like Me
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin (Paperback - October 20, 2010)
$8.99

Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race
Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving (Paperback - January 9, 2014)
$15.01
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.