Trump discussion to drop anchor

Von Lanier

Tim Wise, one of “25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” will visit NMU at 7:30 p.m. this evening in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University Center to address diversity issues in society and white privilege.

“The Trump Phenomenon” will be presented by Wise, who is one of the biggest anti-racist writers in the United States and who has spoken on more than 1,000 college and high school campuses. According to Wise’s website,, he’s spent the past 25 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states.

He also visits and gives lectures to various community groups. His work as an anti-racist activist began during his years at Tulane University in the 1980s, where he also participated in formal debates. After graduation, he went on to write seven books and has been featured in several documentaries and TED Talks.

Rachel Harris, director of the Center for Student Enrichment, said she first became aware of Wise at a National Conference on Race & Ethnicity meeting in San Francisco over the summer.

“I was fired up about him as well as several other speakers and at the end of the presentation, I was just in awe,” she said. Harris found Wise to be such a dynamic speaker that she brought his name back to Platform Personalities, where members voted to bring him to NMU for a presentation. Harris said every generation has their own share of problems with racism and we just have to find a way to deal with them.

“Some of it is just people not knowing or realizing that they have privilege,” she said. “Just a bit of education can go a long way.”

Wise has written many books and essays, some with titles like: “White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son;” “Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority;” and his latest, “Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America.”

Wise will be introduced in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University by Jeulani Gahiji, chair of assembly for ASNMU and entrepreneurship major.

“We need to have a discussion about real politics and the fallacies the media portrays more often than not,” Gahiji said. “Tim Wise will tell us what we need to hear.”

Gahiji said she hopes Wise’s presentation will get the conversation started about real issues on campus. She thinks the discussion will get people talking about issues they may not have had to think about before.

“People need to feel it’s okay to discuss our views, even if they’re different,” she said. “We don’t have to agree with one another but we shouldn’t shut people out that we don’t agree with so that we stay comfortable. This is something people should definitely consider when voting this year.”

Ben Harris, president of Platform Personalities, said race is always a relevant topic, especially as it enters the public eye during this national election cycle.

“Given the circumstances of this year’s election, we’ve seen a huge increase in overt racism and sometimes violent responses to it, incited by Trump himself. [Platform Personalities] feel that it’s vital for us to consider and discuss the violent, hateful tendencies of this election,” Harris said.

Harris also said it’s important for people to be exposed to different opinions outside of their own. “If you’re never exposed to other perspectives, it’s much easier to stick with the status quo.”

The event is a forum sponsored by Platform Personalities in collaboration with the Student Activity Fee. It will be free for NMU students and $2 for general public admission.