Anti-racism author speaks at Sac State about Trump, multiculturalism

Tim Wise questioned by College Republicans


Jordan Silva-Benham

Author Tim Wise lectures Sac State students in the University Union Ballroom Thursday, Nov. 7. Wise is a prominent anti-racism activist and spoke on the rise of white nationalism during the Trump administration.

Anti-racism author Tim Wise spoke at Sacramento State Thursday about the rise of hate speech during President Donald Trump’s administration and the need for acceptance of other races.

Wise is a prominent anti-racism activist and has spoken at Yale, Harvard and Columbia University, according to his website. Wise spoke to students in the University Union Ballroom as a UNIQUE Programs guest speaker.

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Kiga Cole, a graduate sociology student, follows Wise on social media and recently saw him in Chelsea Handler’s Netflix documentary, “Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea.”

“It’s always good to create a space for students to come and hear about things that are happening, just in general,” Cole said. “Especially when it has to do with race and things that are affecting the way we interact with each other and build our relationships.” 

Butte College student Samuel Weiss heard about the event from his sociology class.

“I want to hear different opinions and insights on all sorts of matters and expand my worldview and my understanding of issues that we are presented with today,” Weiss said.

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Photo courtesy of Rahul Lal
Sac State President Robert Nelsen attends anti-racism author Tim Wise’s lecture in the University Union Ballroom Thursday, Nov. 7. Wise spoke on the rise of hate speech during the Trump administration.

Wise condemned Trump multiple times in his lecture.

One incident Wise highlighted was Trump not denouncing white supremacists who support him. 

Wise listed some things the then-president elect should have said when supported by racists during his campaign.

“This is terrible, and any of you who think that’s what I mean, please don’t support me,” Wise said, illustrating what he says Trump should have said. “I don’t want your votes. I don’t want your support. I don’t want you wearing my gear. I don’t want you coming to my rallies.”

Wise challenged the audience to learn other languages and learn about other cultures because the world and economy are becoming more interconnected.

“Why is it that people in every other country on the planet know multiple languages, and your American ass thinks it’s OK to just know one?” Wise asked. “Somehow we have determined that it’s a huge burden to be able to learn other peoples’ stuff, that somehow assimilation is a one-way street rather than a multi-directional highway in a planet where we’re all interdependent.” 

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Wise said learning about other cultures and expanding one’s horizons can be difficult for people who have not had to before.

“When you’re used to hegemony, pluralism feels like oppression,” Wise said.

After his hour-long lecture, Wise took questions from the audience.

The Sac State College Republicans attended the event wearing “Make America Great Again” hats. 

President of the club and political science major Joshua Jendian said the club attended in order to support free speech. 

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Jordan Silva-Benham
Kyle Watson, a managing information systems major and member of the College Republicans, attended the Tim Wise lecture in Sac State’s University Union Ballroom Thursday, Nov. 7. Wise spoke about the rise of hate speech during President Donald Trump’s administration and the need for acceptance of other races.

Floyd Johnson II, a Black political science major and president emeritus of the College Republicans, attended the event with the club. He said he comes from a well-off family.

“What do you say to the larger Black community as a whole on what they can do to raise themselves out of their current social standings, possibly?” Johnson asked.

“You’re going to have to work twice as hard to get half as far,” Wise answered. “That wasn’t a reason not to work hard. That was just admonition that you better bust ass because there are some barriers you’ve got no control over.” 

Wise said he expects parents of color and all working class parents to tell their kids this, and that they do.

Cole took issue with Johnson’s question.

“It just seems like he’s a little bit removed (from) all the social implications that happened to a race,” Cole said.

Correction: The original version of this story had Kiga Cole’s name spelled as Kaiga Cole, the story has since been updated