White Like Me

White Like Me

As a random learning exercise, I tried to summarise Tim Wise’s excellent book ‘White Like Me’ in 15 tweets. I figured I’d post them here for posterity.

Here we go:

  1. We breathe racism – it’s everywhere around us. Therefore we all have to be constantly vigilant about our own prejudices.
  2. ‘Whiteness’ is a construct that was developed in the Americas in the 1600s to prevent the unity of black slaves and poor whites.
  3. Before that, people weren’t talked about in terms of white or black. Skin colour wasn’t considered a significant attribute.
  4. Laws were created, privileges were enforced. Whites were persuaded that their solidarity should be focused on race, not class.
  5. Race has no value from a scientific point of view, but it has become a sociological/political fact.
  6. Exceptions (Oprah, Obama) don’t prove the rule. There was a black millionaire in the US in 1911. Did racism not exist then?
  7. Many white people find it difficult to come to terms with the idea of white privilege, because it threatens their self-image.
  8. Privilege starts from day 1 – where you live, your family’s financial security, networks, inheritance, perception, education access.
  9. It is our human obligation to fight injustice. This struggle will never be truly finished, but we focus on playing our part.
  10. White people have everything 2 gain from fighting racism. Racism destroys US/English culture. We must develop a new inclusive culture.
  11. Silence is collaboration. Regardless of colour, we have clear responsibility to stand up to injustice perpetrated against others.
  12. If we can recognise that we’ve done wrong to the environment and take measures to fix it, why can’t we do the same with race?
  13. White people should set antiracist example in all areas. Expose racism. Refuse to worship a white Jesus. Boycott racist companies.
  14. White people should be willing to follow, not lead, in antiracist struggle. Respect that others have deeper experience of issue.
  15. Reject the Eurocentrism of mainstream education and press. Actively explore non-European history and culture.

Read the book; it’s great. Very refreshing and healthy to hear a middle class white male recognising white privilege as a problem.

Personally, I agree with the contents of the book almost entirely, but as always, remember to read critically and develop your own view.

Get the book for £7.73 on Amazon UK