Speaker Focuses on ‘White Privilege’

Kate Meyers, Sentinel and Enterprise (Fitchburg, Mass.), Apr. 21

FITCHBURG—White privilege, which has been blamed for the growing disparity between America’s races, may actually be hurting whites, according to Tim Wise.

Wise, an author and national lecturer on race issues, spoke to a crowd of approximately 50 Wednesday afternoon in the Fitchburg public library auditorium as part of the Mount Wachusett Community College “What’s Next” speaker series.

“I am here in large part, if not entirely, not only because I’m good at what I do, but because of the social context into which I was born,” Wise said.

Before getting into his explanation of white privilege, Wise offered background on his own working class upbringing in Tennessee.

It was not because of his parents’ hard work or affluence that he got to attend Tulane University, he said, but rather because of his skin color.

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Wise’s words, though controversial, were received well by the audience, even those who traveled far to hear him speak.

“I thought it was wonderful,” said John Policastro of Boston’s Mission Hill district. “He was dealing with an explosive subject matter.”

“My biggest attraction is how explosive (Wise) is,” agreed Chris Churchill of Brockton. “He’s very passionate.”

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