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Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity
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Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  294 ratings  ·  28 reviews
"It's a great book. I highly, highly, highly recommend it." --Tavis Smiley

In this powerful follow-up to Between Barack and a Hard Place, Tim Wise argues against “colorblindness” and for a deeper color-consciousness in both public and private practice. We can only begin to move toward authentic social and economic equity through what Wise calls "illuminated individualism"—a
Paperback, 216 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by City Lights Publishers (first published 2010)
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(6/10) In this book Tim Wise finally decides to step up to the plate and take a swing at Obama, in the most respectful and definitely-not-racist way possible. His thesis here is that Obama represents a trend in liberal thought away from specific attention to racial issues via affirmitive action and such towards what Wise calls "colorblind universalism", which focuses on creating universally beneficial public programs.

This is a real phenomenon, and Wise cites a number of influential authors whose

Tim Wise speaks a real talk that is incredibly accessible, unarguably relevant and extraordinarily necessary. Here, Wise attacks the developing push for a post-racial America, especially by the self-proclaimed liberal left. He levels attacks not only on an ideological front but more importantly from a purely strategic angle, persuasively arguing that meaningful progress with regards to racial disparities requires a race-conscious, not race-neutral, approach.

After exploring the rise of post-r
City Lights
"If you don't know who Tim Wise is, you will after this book." — Mark Anthony Neal, author of New Black Man and Professor of African & African-American Studies at Duke University

"With Colorblind, Tim Wise offers a gutsy call to arms. Rather than play nice and reiterate the fiction of black racial transcendence, Wise takes the gloves off: He insists white Americans themselves must be at the forefront of the policy shifts necessary to correct our nation's racial imbalances in crime, health, w
I'll have you know my book has a different subtitle: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat From Racial Equity. No mention of Obama. If it did mention Obama I would have felt more prepared about the attacks on Obama that were brought up from this book during class discussion. I did not completely read the book. It did help me see that I share quite a bit of Obama's post-racial liberalism. Wise makes the argument that we needed to say that health care reform is a black issue. I complete ...more
As a regular reader of Tim Wise, I was excited to pick up his new book AT City Lights during a recent trip to San Francisco. Sadly, I didn't find this text as engaging as some of his previous works. It's not for lack of a good concept - Wise's thesis is that "post-racial liberalism" (as practiced by many democrats, including President Obama) actually moves us further from racial justice than a more color conscious approach (here he calls it "illuminated individualism). Intriguing, right? Yet he ...more
Judah Martin
It is distressing that most of the people who really need to read this book never will and, fundamentally, that explains the prevalence of the flawed post-racial narrative Wise intellectually destroys in this book. The fact of the matter is that most people who do not have to think critically about the consequences of race do not, and they certainly do not take it upon themselves to pursue an understanding of the critical historical context of the race-based social and economic disparities our s ...more
Zawn Villines
This is not Wise's strongest work. It seems there's a trend with writers who do social science. Once they begin to get publicity, they start churning stuff out every two years; unfortunately, much of the stuff is recycled old work. This is the case with Colorblind.

Wise rehashes the basic arguments of why white people are privileged, why racism still exists, etc. And while this is necessary if this book is given to someone who's never been introduced to these basic concepts, for his readers who a
Lori Peek
This book is for anyone who cares about living in a more just and racially equitable society. Wise does a masterful job of pulling together hundreds of social-psychological and sociological studies that illustrate the ongoing signficance of race in shaping lives and life chances. The book is organized around four aspects of social life - housing, education, health care, and employment - where racial disparities are most glaring. Wise convincingly argues why the "post-racial" and "colorblind" nar ...more
I was interested in reading this book after watching Tim Wise on YouTube. He is clearly a dynamic speaker and a very thoughtful academic. The book itself is a bit academic and dry, but thought-provoking. His central premise is counter-intuitive, that color-blindness (ignoring race) itself leads to unfairness because it ignores both historic and present-day disparate treatment. In its place, he suggests a form of race-conscience individualism, recognizing that someone is both an individual and a ...more
Paul Yoon
I thought this book was incredible. I have heard Tim Wise speak once before during college and I have heard about his work through word of mouth but this was the first book I decided to read of his. I found it compelling, well-researched, thoughtful, and above all else practical. I appreciated his deep analysis of the fallacy of post-racial liberalism and how we must on the one hand address structural change but at the same time develop what he calls illuminated individualism. I also appreciated ...more
Ryan Wilson
Does a great job of putting to bed the idea that we live in a post-racial country, in spite of the fact that we elected a black president. The book spends a great deal of time showing empirically the effects of both historical, legal racism and contemporary, subversive racism. It advocates for race-based reform in addition to socioeconomic-based measures. The last quarter of the book offers some concrete suggestions to working toward a more equal society. I strongly recommend it to anybody inter ...more
Great, but stick to White Like Me.
Wise is extremely redundant. It makes me wonder if ran out of material after the previous book, or is it because we need to hear this message many times? My only criticism so far- I think he is too harsh on Obama. Obama would have never been elected in to office without belittling the issue of racism in America. Wise should focus more on that (the additional challenge of being a minority in politics) than how Obama "chooses" to skirt around the issue. I see Obama more as a victim of racism than ...more
Jul 31, 2013 Kim added it
This non-fictional piece was very insightful and powerful. Tim Wise is right on target when he speaks of "White Privilege." After reading the book, I downloaded some relevant podcast with Tim lecturing. He is an inspirational speaker. I was moved and inspired. This book is useful and a good read for anyone, white or black who is interested in understanding race relations in America. They have it at ibooks as well. I just happen to still like holding and annotating in my books::::))))))).
Tim Wise does a fantastic job of laying out the reasons for why we should abandon the concept of 'colorblind.' He spends quite a lot of time on health care in the African American population and the ways in which discrimination manifests into illness.

Then he lays out his vision of adopting color-conscious policies and approaches to hiring, health care, education, and housing. His vision of illuminated individualism is insightful and brilliant.
Claire Melanie
Finally re-read and actually finished this book. Feel the first chapter is the strongest but overall it's good. Not very long though so don't expect much in depth analysis. Some interesting strategies offered in the final chapter too. Good point that if we wait for the government to lead change hell will freeze over first.
Stig E.
Well worth reading to challenge your own assumptions about racism. This should be mandatory reading for anyone in a position where they can influence public or company policy on recruitment and racism. It very anchored in the US, so readers in other countries may want to supplement with local authors on the same topics.
Phenomenal book! I read this for my Critical Thinking course. Tim Wise is a brilliant public speaker and a incredible writer on the subject of racism and privilege. All of his claims are backed up by at least 300 sources. A must read for anyone who is interested in tackling racism and bigotry.
Good but intense. I've started Tim's next book, "Dear White America," and already it is more engaging and compelling than "Colorblind." Good ideas presented in this book, but I found it a bit difficult to slog through to the end.
Nov 14, 2010 Hep rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: racism
as always, wise lands exactly the right amount of info to be able to perfectly remember every statistic. amazing, easy to read, probably the single book i would demand everyone in the country read if i had a choice.
Rebecca Stuhr
I had some problems with Wise's presentation, but his premise is compelling and worthy. No need to criticize President Obama to the extent Wise does--and it's his second book on this topic in one year.
I saw him on Tavis Smiley's show. His book sounded interesting.Something quite compelling about his view point.All I can say, read the book...Very informative..Tim's not scared...Tell it Tim.
L. Lawson
Dispels the myth of "a rising tide lifts all boats." Teaches that racial disparity has roots and is real. Only by talking about it honestly and openly can we heal.
Pretty good, nothing earth shattering in here for your average liberal. Might be useless if you can convince your subtly racist uncle to read it.
Must read for white folks. We must name and address color-blind racism. Wise does a great job breaking this down.
Don't bother. Contains very little insight and nothing to substantial.
Aug 16, 2010 Nicole added it
tim wise is always eloquent and amazing.
Way too anti-Obama for me.
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Nov 25, 2014
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  • We Are Not Afraid: The Story of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney, and the Civil Rights Campaign for Mississippi
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  • Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society
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Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S., and has been called the foremost white anti-racist intellectual in the nation, having spoken in 46 states, and on over 300 college campuses, including Harvard, Stanford, Cal Tech and the Law Schools at Yale, Columbia, Michigan, and Vanderbilt.

From 1999 to 2003, Wise served as an advisor to the Fisk University Race
More about Tim Wise...
White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White

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“Standing still is never an option so long as inequities remain embedded in the very fabric of the culture.” 10 likes
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