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Affirmative action activist speaks Monday at WMU

March 23, 2006

KALAMAZOO--A prominent political activist and author will be making an affirmative action presentation 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 27, in the Bernhard Center Ballroom at Western Michigan University.

The presentation by Tim Wise, which is free and open to the public, also will include a book signing from 8:30 to 9 p.m. The event is being sponsored by WMU's Division of Multicultural Affairs and its Office of Institutional Equity.

Wise's work has encompassed affirmative action aspects of such varied issues as apartheid in South Africa, racism in the United States, and the disparities between black and white New Orleanians as evidenced in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

He has trained teachers as well as corporate, government, media and law enforcement officials on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions and also served as a consultant for plaintiff's attorneys in federal discrimination cases in New York and Washington State.

From 1999 to 2003, Wise was an advisor to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute. In the early 1990s, he was associate director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism--the largest of the many groups organized to defeat neo-Nazi political candidate David Duke.

This past summer, Wise served as an adjunct faculty member at the Smith College School for Social Work in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he co-taught a master's-level class on racism in the United States. In 2001, he spent a month as faculty-in-residence at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he trained journalists to eliminate racial bias in reporting.

Wise is the author of two 2005 books, "White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son" which was published by Soft Skull Press, and "Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White which was published by Routledge.

Two new books by Wise will be published this year, "Disasters, Natural and Otherwise: Race, Class and the Destruction of New Orleans," and a collection of essays called "Speaking Treason Fluently: Dissident Reflections on Race, Faith and Nation." In addition, he has contributed essays to 15 books and is featured in "White Men Challenging Racism: Thirty-Five Personal Stories."

A featured guest on radio and television programs around the world, Wise is the recipient of the 2001 British Diversity Award for best feature essay on race issues. He serves as race and ethnicity editor for LIP magazine and is a featured columnist with the ZNet Commentary program, a Web service that disseminates essays by prominent progressive educators. His writings have appeared in dozens of popular, professional and scholarly journals as well as been taught at hundreds of colleges across the country.

Wise has a bachelor's degree in political science from Tulane University, where his anti-apartheid work received global attention and the thanks of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

For more information, contact Erika Carr in the WMU's Division of Multicultural Affairs at (269) 387-3319 or visit the Web at www.lipmagazine.org/~timwise.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
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