By Leonard Lewis IV
Special from the Louisiana Weekly
(TriceEdneyWire) – President Donald Trump’s political strategy really is not something new, according to anti-racism speaker Tim Wise, who recently visited New Orleans. At a public lecture at Xavier University, Wise explained how the president’s strategy is to distract his supporters from his policies by fueling tensions around racism.
“If Donald Trump attacks the right people that his base doesn’t like, he does not have to actually foresee the things he promised in his campaign,” Wise told attendees at Xavier’s Administration Auditorium on Nov. 29.
The president’s current legislative attempt at tax reform, Wise explained, is Trump’s latest attempt to distract the public. Experts have calculated that the new Republican party tax plan could generate huge tax cuts for the rich by ending the alternative minimum tax, which would have saved even Trump millions on his taxes, based on looking at Trump’s last public tax returns from 2005. Wise explained that the GOP tax reform plays into what America has done for years, which is to create policies that favor the rich. What Trump is doing with tax reform has been similar to his tactics with other policies since he started his term in office. Some of things that were promised in the campaign were affordable health care and education, better roads, and lastly better jobs.
“The GOP tax plan does not help his base which are middle-class working people, it actually hurts them,” Wise said.Wise’ education on antiracism stems long before his rise as a prominent speaker on the topic. He grew up in Nashville, Tenn. during the civil rights era amidst riots and protests. He said he remembered his grandmother being sympathetic to the Freedom Riders but was disappointed she did not get involved and that she was more upset that the movement was an inconvenience to her, because it made it more difficult for her to get around Nashville.
Wise, who graduated from Tulane University in 1990, received antiracism training from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond in New Orleans. His efforts resulted in books on his work in anti-racism, and in the documentary “White Like Me: Racism and White Privilege in America,” which he co-wrote and co-produced. Wise has been named one of the 25 visionaries who are changing the world by Utne Reader. Wise now sees his work intersecting with what is happening in America since the election of Donald Trump. He explained how Trump’s base voted, as Trump’s campaign pitted Black and Brown people against white people.
“If you still support Donald Trump today, you did not vote for him based off his political strategy and your economic concerns but because he made the right enemies and you like the fact that he attacked Mexican, Muslims and Black folks,” Wise said. Since Trump’s election, he has continued this tactic, Wise said, by targeting mostly African-American football players and branding them as unpatriotic. “Players kneeling has nothing to do with the flag or military,” Wise said. “No solider took an oath to a stupid flag, anthem, or song. They took an oath to the constitution of the United States and if that is being violated via the Fourteenth Amendment, each solider should be kneeling too,” Wise said.
In coordinating Wise’s visit to New Orleans, Xavier officials said they felt it was important to hear a leading critical voice on race, who happens to be white. “I think Tim Wise speeches are very raw and uses language and examples that everyone can understand,” said Amber Davis Prince, the director of Xavier Campus Activities.
Davis Prince, “Also he speaks against the foolishness the president puts out there.”