I Don’t Want Tim Wise As An Ally. No Thanks.
Tim Wise had some sort of meltdown on Facebook recently, for which he later apologized. But this meltdown reveals more than someone angry at critics. Look, if he spouted the rhetoric that he does in a different context, not one where he is paid to be some sort of anti-racism educator and speaker, then I would still critique the White supremacy and White privilege and at times racism that shapes his responses to criticism. But he isn’t some random banker or right wing pundit or someone I critique but realize that the context of their espoused ideology is distant from mine. This is a person who claims expertise on that which he does not live yet rejects criticism. But rejecting criticism when you’re in a place of privilege is very dangerous especially when you do justice work.
This is a part of what he recently wrote on Facebook. How someone can claim to be anti-racism yet writes this is beyond me:
And this is what’s funny…every second that fools troll my site, complaining about how I take up all the antiracist space so they can’t be heard, is a moment they aren’t setting up their own website, blog, or writing their own book…but they wanna blame me for why no one knows who they are…it’s not on me sweetheart..plenty of people of color get book deals and speaking gigs each year…if u didn’t its not on me…it’s cuz u havent said anything that anyone finds valuable…deal with that rather than wasting time trolling…Maybe another POC blew up your spot rather than me…ever think of that? No, of course not…cuz that would require critical thought rather than simplistic hater bs and stuff u can put on tumblr…seriously, it’s time for people to be told to step off…feel free to jump off the page trolls….or I can bounce you…and would love to…trust me, u will lose this beef..badly…
1) This comment ignores the role of White, male and class privilege and their effects on exposure, publication, platform, income…even being listened to as an “authority” on Black experiences. Him ignoring this is endorsing White supremacy and is a product of his White male privilege. And before anyone claims that any Black person who wants to earn money for our own work is an evil capitalist (yet Tim Wise can without such a label) or that any Black person who does this work wants White approval or are “jealous” of his platform, see these for context: Exploitation of Black Women’s Labor…In The Name of Feminism or Justice? Please. and How EVERYONE Works Together To Silence Women of Colour’s Critiques of Mainstream Feminism.
2) Implying that another person of colour could have “took their spot” is based on the myth of equal spots available for persons treated equally. This ignores the role of institutional racism on literally…everything. But he has one point here. Yes, perhaps another person of colour DID get the spot he speaks of BUT ONLY because White supremacy allows tokens, not real diversity in any space.
3) “cuz u havent said anything that anyone finds valuable…deal with that rather than wasting time trolling.” So he ignores the role that White supremacy plays on the very concept of “value.” If value was based on merit and work, then cultural appropriation wouldn’t exist or be a problem. No one would think anything done by someone White is automatically more valuable and better, even if that work or idea was straight up stolen or re-purposed for a White voice. This is White privilege and White supremacy in his thinking, working together here. When mainstream publications plagiarize and content troll my work, yet the same ones reject my submissions, that proves that the content is not the question. The messenger is. And is he really saying that his content on what he doesn’t experience is automatically better than content from those who do experience racism? Really? How White supremacist of him.
4) He mentions "stuff u can put on tumblr." Hi White, male and class privilege with power, platform and money. Yes, some of us use Tumblr because we do not have access to other spaces and while our content here is repeatedly stolen and used in the mainstream, the space we put it on is denigrated? The idea that our blogs exist just to “hate on” him, not discuss how racism impacts our lives, even when racism comes from “allies” is amazing here.
5) “or I can bounce you…and would love to…trust me, u will lose this beef..badly…” We’re so glad that he has so much White male power and needed to remind everyone that he can flex it. Believe me, I know that Black people who speak out against racism have “lost” quite a bit while Whites, whether they are as racist as day or profit from being anti-racism “win.” This would be White supremacy, again. And to be appropriative of AAVE and call criticism of his work a “beef” just annoys me.
And let’s be clear, I do NOT support anyone physically threatening him versus critiquing his words and actions. I don’t support that towards anyone. But, I have watched this man for years reply to women of colour (if he even replies; usually only worship from people of colour is responded to) with ignorance and hostility and reject criticism from anyone. Others have seen this as well. He seems to think that he is excluded from the White privilege and White supremacy he speaks of as if his work has put him into a place where he can no longer be critiqued. This is unacceptable and incredibly dangerous. And this is justice work? Comments like his above? This is comical to me. People will suggest critiquing the kyriarchy and the patriarchy etc. not “allies” as if doing the latter harms the movements. The irony is allies EMBODY oppressors’ actions all of the time and that has to be critiqued just as well. There is no “off limit” space.
Full article: http://www.gradientlair.com/post/61521224722/i-dont-need-tim-wise-as-an-ally