Episode for May 17, 2022
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Tim Wise, whom scholar and philosopher Cornel West calls, “A vanilla brother in the tradition of (abolitionist) John Brown,” is among the nation’s most prominent antiracist essayists and educators. He has spent the past 25 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on over 1000 college and high school campuses, at hundreds of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups across the nation. He has also lectured internationally in Canada and Bermuda, and has trained corporate, government, law enforcement and medical industry professionals on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions.
Wise’s antiracism work traces back to his days as a college activist in the 1980s, fighting for divestment from (and economic sanctions against) apartheid South Africa. After graduation, he threw himself into social justice efforts full-time, as a Youth Coordinator and Associate Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism: the largest of the many groups organized in the early 1990s to defeat the political candidacies of white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. From there, he became a community organizer in New Orleans’ public housing, and a policy analyst for a children’s advocacy group focused on combatting poverty and economic inequity. He has served as an adjunct professor at the Smith College School of Social Work, in Northampton, MA., and from 1999-2003 was an advisor to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute in Nashville, TN.
Wise is the author of seven books, including his highly-acclaimed memoir, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, as well as Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority, and Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America. His forthcoming book, White LIES Matter: Race, Crime and the Politics of Fear in America, will be released in 2018. His essays have appeared on Alternet, Salon, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, Black Commentator, BK Nation, Z Magazine and The Root, which recently named Wise one of the “8 Wokest White People We Know.”
Wise has been featured in several documentaries, including “The Great White Hoax: Donald Trump and the Politics of Race and Class in America,” and “White Like Me: Race, Racism and White Privilege in America,” both from the Media Education Foundation. He also appeared alongside legendary scholar and activist, Angela Davis, in the 2011 documentary, “Vocabulary of Change.” In this public dialogue between the two activists, Davis and Wise discussed the connections between issues of race, class, gender, sexuality and militarism, as well as inter-generational movement building and the prospects for social change. Wise is also one of five persons—including President Barack Obama—interviewed for a video exhibition on race relations in America, featured at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. Additionally, his media presence includes dozens of appearances on CNN, MSNBC and NPR, feature interviews on ABC’s 20/20 and CBS’s 48 Hours, as well as videos posted on YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms that have received over 20 million views. His podcast, “Speak Out with Tim Wise,” launched this fall and features weekly interviews with activists, scholars and artists about movement building and strategies for social change.
Wise graduated from Tulane University in 1990 and received antiracism training from the People’s Institute for Survival and
Beyond, in New Orleans.
Ryan Busse is a former firearms executive who helped build one of the world’s most iconic gun companies, and was nominated multiple times by industry colleagues for the prestigious Shooting Industry Person of The Year Award. Busse is an environmental advocate who served in many leadership roles for conservation organizations, including as an advisor for the United States Senate Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Biden Presidential Campaign. He remains a proud outdoorsman, gun owner, father, and resident of Montana.
About the book….
A long-time former executive at one of the country’s top gun manufacturers reveals how his industry radicalized a large swathe of America, and explains how it must change before we can reduce gun violence and heal as a nation.
Ryan Busse has traveled a long, circuitous path along the American gun journey. As an avid hunter, outdoorsman, and conservationist–all things that the firearms industry was built on–he rose to the highest ranks of the rapidly growing, multibillion-dollar firearms industry.
But replacing self-imposed decency with rampant fear-mongering, racism, hardline conservative politics, massive profits from semi-automatic weapons sales, and McCarthyesque policing have driven Busse to do something few other gun executives have done: he’s ending his 30-year career in the industry to tell its secrets. He watched the industry change from its smaller, less corporate and far-less-powerful form to the partisan, power-hungry entity it is today. He thought he could go up against the power of the industry from within, and over the years had made small inroads toward sensible gun ownership and use. But that’s simply not possible anymore.
This book is an insider’s call-out, a voice-driven tale of personal transformation, and a fast ride through wild times and colorful characters that populate a much-speculated-about, but little-known industry. It’s also a story of how authoritarianism spreads in the guise of freedom, how voicing one’s conscience becomes an act of treason in a culture that demands sameness and loyalty.
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