The Sankofa Column: Oct. 13

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The Collegian will publish a bi-weekly column from the Black Student Union. This is the first and is named “The Sankofa Column” after the BSU symbol.

Get Them Wise, Tim Wise

“No accidents, just precedents.” It was no accident that Tim Wise was speaking in front of a packed audience in the K-State Student Union’s Grand Ballroom.

With racial tensions in the country growing to catastrophic levels, action has to be taken and a good start is to bring in a speaker who has been covering racial issues for quite some time.

With 25 years of public speaking under his belt, it’s safe to assume that Tim Wise has mastered the art of working a crowd. I had spent the time watching interviews and had a short encounter with his book, so I was no stranger to the issues that Tim Wise was bound to cover during this lecture.

My only concern was how much prudent and critical information from the man of the hour would fall to deaf ears. As a relatively conscious black male, I know the issues that are yet to be faced in not only the black community but in most communities that are not the majority.

I have sat around with groups of my peers and discussed these issues. I have also sat and talked with my white counterparts about these racial issues and oppressions that have yet to be faced. I have had successes in these engagements and failures as some problems can often be made minimal.

As soon as Tim Wise took the podium, he immediately eradicated all of my doubts, beginning the lecture stating that the things he would talk about have already been talked about by people of color 20 times in the last week. He was only using his platform to further articulate the issues discussed on a daily basis in the communities of people of color.

Filled with humorous rhetoric, direct and subliminal Trump slams and words spoken with much fervor, Wise’s lecture was a wake-up call to the future. In my opinion, it should have been a wake-up call to the white majority on campus as well.

I know how easy it is to ignore or dismiss things that don’t directly pertain to us, but as Wise so eloquently put it, “Don’t ignore those that have taken the class and continue to take it daily.”

With this simple, yet intricate statement, I believe if we continue to heed to the racial dilemmas faced in America, then we will begin to better understand how the systems of oppression affect people of color. Simply put, lending an ear to the troubles people of color express to you daily should be humane, not an indictment.

In order to progress our quest for justice and equality, the white majority has to take a stand and join the conversation. No longer can it be put off. They have to be willing to be accomplices to people of color even to the point where they will die for what they believe in.

This is the groundwork to starting a true change in the country and picking ourselves out of this hole leading to destruction.

So again, Wise’s insight to combatting racism was no accident but simply a precedent of the work we still have to do as we try to find solutions for the systematic oppression faced by people of color as well as the racial tensions that are a direct effect of these oppressions.

Gary Hackett

BSU member, Ebony Theatre president and senior in marketing and theatre

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