White Like Me
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White Like Me

2013, Society  -   52 Comments
Ratings: 6.63/10 from 259 users.

The continued prominence of racism is explored through the prism of white privilege in the engrossing documentary White Like Me. Based upon a book of the same name by anti-racist advocate Tim Wise, the film explores the many advantages afforded to whites throughout the history of the United States, and the extent to which they have defined a culture of racial discrimination that continues to this day.

The shameful days of blatant segregation thankfully exist in the rear-view mirror of the country's history. But although great strides have been made in the arena of racial equality, the residue of discrimination still reverberates in nearly every corner of society. The film argues that the promise of a post-racial society has not yet been realized, and that the deeply embedded traditions of white privilege are largely to blame.

"For more than twenty years now, I've been trying to better understand for myself and to raise awareness among others how dangerous and damaging it is when white people like me are blind to racial inequality and our own privileges," says Wise in the film. That search for understanding begins in a study of the laws, policies and institutions that have long informed America's identity, including the Naturalization Act of 1790, and the initial enactments of programs that ensured social security and veteran benefits.

Whether obvious or insidious in their approach, the documentary contends that each of these instances catered to some level of racial discrimination in their formation, and set a foundation from which individual attitudes and governmental policies continue to operate.

White Like Me goes on to explore avenues like education, housing, the prison system, the government-waged War on Drugs, and additional aspects of American society in which racial discrimination still plays an informing role. Along the way, the film also tackles the notion of reverse racism in the age of affirmative action, and the belief that America has moved beyond matters of race in the wake of electing its first president of color. White Like Me handles these potentially inflammatory subjects with great sensitivity and frankness, and supports its assertions with a wealth of enlightening facts and data.

Directed by: Scott Morris

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52 Comments / User Reviews

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  1. Ad

    It's okay to be white

  2. the truth

    There is no such thing as white privilege.

    1. Urban dweller

      Only a person of white privilege would say that. You can't even open your eyes to see because you think that black people are in the predicament they're in because they "lack" something. And there you'd be right - OPPORTUNITY for over 200 years. Suffered through acts of hate and violence and started at nearly every opportunity to succeed. Worse, then couldn't "blend in" like the Italians and Irish who came to this country and were treated with contempt have been able to do. They were terrorized I they tried to speak their language bringing no culture and community with them...OMG I can go on and on but ignorance prevails - until the country destroys itself from the inside out all because of the color of somebody's skin. While the 1% is robbing you blind as you fight over crumbs. How stupidly silly is that?

    2. Lestet

      Urban dweller, you have it all wrong. The 1% is primarily rich Jews, not actual European whites. Quit being a salty snowflake and you’ll realize that Tim Dumbfuck is nothing more than a race-baiting propagandist. Anti-racist doesn’t necessarily mean “good person”.

    3. Kim

      Lmao what a dumb thing to say. Why would this lady want to pass for white then if there was no white privilege?

  3. DocHollwood

    Mr Wise only has a B.A., in Political Science, so the title "educator" is misleading and if so then so would David Duke who also speaks, published and is an activist. Also President Obama isn't "African American" like his wife, but a Mulato; or a person of mixed white and Black ancestry, especially a person with one White and one Black parent. Also, David Duke can only be a Neo-Nazi since he was too young to be an actual Nazi or even a member of the Hitler Youth. Facts matter and either support or discount the hypothesis. Mr. Wise also focuses on racism as it pertains to only to Blacks and not Chinese, Irish, Italians and Japanese; not to mention Mexicans

    1. Urban dweller

      You are wrong on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin. No! Obama is the truest definition of African American because one of his parents actually came from Africa and the other from America. His wife is no doubt Euro African American because no doubt both her parents came from America with African and European lineage!

    2. Urban dweller

      I'm sure the Pope didn't have a degree! Neither did George Washington! Neither does Gates (honorary) not did Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford or Thomas Edison. Get an education yourself before assuming "educated" means a college degree!

    3. Gregory V Peterson

      his education came from going to a predominantly all-black College not just based on his degree.

    4. Uche

      Education is not only impacted through the four walls of a classroom. You may have to research on the broader meaning of education.

  4. Austin Stuart

    It's human nature to like your own kind, however, that depends on what you determine to be "your own kind".
    A low information electorate, allows political groups to gain power by exploiting the body politic for its own end.
    Lack of education for all, white or black will kill the US republic.
    Divide et impera (Latin: divide and conquer)

  5. Robert

    Tim Wise is a know agent provocateur. It's very likely he works for the Anti-Defamation League terrorists. He's too far gone in his race-baiting rhetoric to take seriously.

  6. LatinaSwede

    @Alex M...you realize that Hispanic is not, and never has been, a race, right? Hispanics come in all shades and races. Black, white, yellow, brown. You appear white, not because of Cuban ancestry, but likely because you have a large admixture of European genes. (Cubans have a large Spanish descendant population. People from Spain = Hispanic and white.) In other words, because you probably ARE white.

  7. realist

    Hey Jim, I hope this documentary makes you feel better, kinda like a crusader or some sort of hero. Let me give you a truth. With all of the footage of the white men and woman sitting alongside the black men and woman during their times of protest or crisis...In the end we are two different cultures and all of those people went their separate ways to their white and black families and friends. Here is an experiment for you, round up 5 blacks and 5 whites , that are as non-racist as you in a room for an hour and see if after an hour who is talking to who. The only smart thing in this documentary I saw was when you got on the airplane in St. Louis and your first reaction to the black men flying the plane. That is truth. Your not going to change hundreds and even thousands of years of human nature. In my opinion the only way things will change as if everyone's skin color suddenly became the same........Well maybe not, as humans we will figure out some imperfection that will separate us. All you did was piss off white men and woman and give more reason for black men and woman to hate us. But deep down you sort of knew that, so go on and get paid man.

  8. Patrick Ladfree

    You will always find what you want to find. Is there racism, absolutely, is it embedded in white people? Absolutely not. If you look for racism wanting to find it, you will find it everywhere. Stop blaming everyone for your problems and take your life in your own hands and if as a person you are not capable of breaking free, that says more about you than the person you THINK is holding you hostage.

    1. Urban dweller

      Interesting thing about racism - if you're not habitually subjected to it you never see the little daily cuts it makes on your soul. You'll even begin to wonder, "what's the big deal?" You'll even say to yourself, "I'm not racist" - when in fact you are. Most white people don't even realize they're prejudice, which is why it continues!

    2. Pattie

      I think that would probably be fair, so let me know when you're ready for the list of all the things that "whites only" got that minorities were excluded from, because that's llike welfare- getting things handed to you while people of color had to work for what they got. Oh, they had to work for what WHITES got too, didnt they? Thats why they were called 'slaves'... well, they didnt have much choice about what they were called, or why these disgusting white people had the audacity to treat people like property.
      Yeah, those white people were never willing to do an honest days work. They were greedy, they had no moral character, they raped, pillaged, cheated everyone else so they could have more than their fair share! Why even a child knows that's not right..

  9. Stephanie

    Just noticed something. This documentary is about the systematic oppression of people of color here in the USA and it received a rating of 6.69. Another documentary about the systematic oppression of the farming class (which is also an oppression of people of color because the oppressors are historically white business owners) in Columbia received a 9.39. Would it be rash to say that because this documentary focuses specifically on our domestic racial problems it has received a lower score? Perhaps by people who watch it and think "this is a lie, blacks don't have it that bad anymore."

    1. Urban dweller

      Yep! You are exactly right!

    2. Epicurus

      I highly doubt the people who are speaking negatively about Tim Wise or who gave it a low rating ever actually watched it. I would bet everything on that.

  10. Ignacio Trelles

    But for some time he ignored the advantages he himself had as a white person until a black audience member at a rally where he was speaking asked him what he had done to address racism here in the U.S. I ve been trying to better understand for myself and to raise awareness among others about the centrality of race and racism to the history of this country, Wise says in the film, and how dangerous and damaging it is when white people, like me, are blind to racial inequality and our own privileges.

  11. Vitt

    So Tim Wise is a racist, anti-racist? Interesting...

    1. Urban dweller

      Go and muddy up the waters by trying to be so clever with your little quip. The topic is racism! Are you racist?

  12. free-thinker

    Like it or not, big picture - after long oppression on black tide is turning to a smaller amplitude wave of oppression on white. This oscillation might come to peace all until we come to, not equality, but to what equality actually means as equal laws, individual rights, treatment,.. Even then, there will be some, hopefully smaller percentage on all sides, will will not like the complex reality of truth.
    My sample might mean something or not, but bor the record, I have not seen yet any racism against black yet in US, other than on TV and in Ferguson, but I have seen multiple times 1st hand black pulling accusation to non black and attacking very aggressively for actual no reason with this "racism labeling".

  13. Tom Wonsetler

    I havent watched this documentary yet and might never since im so sick and tired of hearing some people bitching about this. Of course theres some idiots who are rascist, but like a quote (not sure who he was quoting) that Bill Maher read on his show Real Time said, its usually not rascism but a matter of people getting used to each other, to slightly paraphrase ! As always the golden rule ! People, just grow up and be nice to each other !

  14. Alex M

    This was SO GOOD! I am Hispanic who looks white because of my Cuban heritage and I have seen firsthand how I was treated differently when people found out I was not white. We all have to change and especially treat everyone with respect regardless of their race.

    1. Urban dweller


    2. Kim

      Well you are white is why. But you're talking about bigotry not racism. And there is a lot of bigotry against Latinos.

  15. P. Cochrane

    I have hope...I do, but until we eradicate poverty and afford everyone equal access to education, good quality healthcare ...lift the walls of gated communities and live along side one another. Tolerate...letting no fear have the upper hand... respecting every single living thing that surrounds us, only then, will we have grown. We have a long way to go...but I have hope. Ignorance and poverty is the absolute root of all evil. Bernie Sanders gets it, and although I live in Canada, I pray 'that' man becomes elected. Here, we have social programs a plenty, but until no man, woman or child is impoverished, until no man woman or child is left behind, it will never be enough. Opportunity without equality is absurd, so blatantly wrong! Great doc, Tim Wise! I read, Black Like Me, as a teen, four decades ago. I remember being so confused as to why people would treat one another so poorly. This ignorance was quashed as I grew older, but back then, had never understood how embedded racism was. I carry the hard belief that racism will be forced to die when equality becomes carte blanche. The thing is, so many don't fully understand absolute equality! There is hope, Tim Wise, and change may very well be eminent. Cheers!

  16. Scott

    Let me start out by saying, I am white. With that said, only the morons of my race don't understand there is a HUGE, OVERBEARING societal advantage of being white in America. There are plenty of dumbass people in this country, and whites are no exception, but don't think that there aren't tons of them that do understand, and just don't care.

    Take a look at the greediest and most power hungry individuals in America. They don't care about the lives of animals, the lives of the citizens, the lives of the soldiers, or even the lives of the people who may work for them. So, why would they give a second thought to a race issue? They don't, other than to exacerbate it to differ the spotlight from their own corruption.

    TBH, I am only eight minutes in, but I am going to finish it. I can just tell you already, although valiant, this documentary will do nothing in the long run, because plenty of close-minded individuals will just brush it off and hate you for trying to enlighten them, or show them how immoral their beliefs are.

    With that said, I commend you.

    1. Urban dweller

      So eloquently said!

  17. bluetortilla

    What touched me most perhaps in this wonderful documentary was the portrayal of anti-racist whites at the end, fighting alongside blacks for human rights. The media and the textbooks never say anything about these heroes. I guess they want to keep the myth that all whites are racists alive.

    1. Urban dweller

      This is very true. Thank you for saying so!

  18. dmxi

    as an irish-man (the once called 'niggers' of europe) i can understand
    that even 'we' do not grasp the full reality of segregation due to color
    in-blending but i have more hope in europe
    than the US on this
    topic(which is just under testing by the flood of fleeing
    war/crisis-sufferers).if you just search 'racism' &
    'police-brutality' on 'youtube', you will be confronted with a reality
    beyond your justifiable imagination(check san diego PD as a beginner)....a reality so offending to human comprehension that you tend to lose hope in man-kind but still, the
    hatred/fear will search for a hostile outlet & it's up to all concerned to decide which route that energy will take.
    over the last decade the pressure is mounting & we all know simple 'physics',don't
    we(?).....rendering any prophet useless.
    my personal view is that this is an in-built mechanism of 'caucasian' system/society/democracy/capitalism/life-style/freedom rule of hegemony on which we have the 'keys to the world's dominance!

  19. Jim Freedom

    Something that is missing from this film is a discussion of how cultures that have never been exposed to other races still have similar attitudes about the lightness or darkness of the color of a person's skin. Lighter skinned people have always been preferred in all these cultures.

    1. Danny

      China: Gweilo, gwailo, or kwai lo = A White man. Gwei means "ghost." The color white is associated with ghosts in China.

      Bak Guiy = Whites Cantonese for "white ghost."

      Muzungu = "someone with white skin" comes from Kiswahili, where ‘zungu’ or 'zunguka' is the word for spinning around on the same spot. ... Kiswahili for a dizzy person. [ That dizzy lost look was perfected by the first white people arriving in the African Great Lakes.

      Native American:
      Belegana = Navajo term which roughly translates to "silly white person"

      And just one more thing ... what about all those light skinned people trying to darken their skin with sunbathing untill their skin peels of or using self tanning cream, tanning beds and what not ... Observing this I might just say "white" people (actually pink people) prefer darker skin.

    2. Jim Freedom

      My comment does not come from personal bias but from observations and conversations I have had with people as I have traveled around the world. I also remember reading that African tribes had a long history of considering lighter skinned people as superior, and this long before white people came to their culture. In India, which has had white people come in and dominate, there still is a preference for lighter skinned people, particularly in arranged marriages. I have always been curious as to why this was so since I am a olive colored 'white' person who gets very dark in the summer time. ;)

    3. Andley Dorgervil

      Not true. This happens solely in cultures who have been exposed to the world. But I might believe you if you present references to back that claim.

    4. bluetortilla

      I believe that Jim's assertion was worded curtly and came off sounding quite bigoted. But subsequent contributions lead me to think otherwise. However, all I have to offer on the topic is hearsay and my own observations as well, and I agree if we cannot substantiate these remarks we shouldn't make them.
      But I think that we have dug up the grave of disgusting racism enough to get nearly the whole picture now. Further, we will never really understand genocide, but at least we know the mechanisms. The topic that Jim brings up is trivial and dangerous, and I regret having commented on it. Moving beyond racism starts with a disinterest in race. On the other hand, battling ignorance requires a presentation of facts. There is a balance and a purpose, and the OP's question does not contribute to the discussion but only opens a hornet's nest- whatever his intentions may have been.

    5. Andley Dorgervil

      The grave? It wasn't dead to me. It is a part of my living experience. I've tried ignoring it but to no avail. Honestly, I did try. But it is rooted deep it every institution, here in Canada as well. It my parents country of Haiti, where fairer skinned people dominate financially and politically. What the film proposes is for the privileged to acknowledge the dynamics of the relationship between the contrasts, which they clearly benefit from, daily. I agree.

    6. Jim Freedom

      I do not have reference to back up this claim nor do I care enough about the topic to look them up. I notice that you also had not references to claim that it was not true.

    7. Andley Dorgervil

      Tim Wise is right after all.

  20. dmxi

    a great insight is given by comparing the approach of 'russian pluralism' against 'american
    pluralism'.the latter only incoperating similiar belief systems (with a latent fear towards others,esp. in color) & the first-mentioned embracing all creeds under the banner of humanity by fear.

  21. embee

    this is an excellent documentary and hopefully will be viewed (and understood) by all the bigoted hypocrites that I have come across during my life -- but, as one famous quote stated ' bigotry is like the pupil of the eye - the more light you shine on it the less can be seen' and so it is with the brain conditioned and stereotypical rascists of this world.
    how do you convince them of the errors of their ways - simply ignore them and 'send them to Coventry'.

  22. bluetortilla

    I gave it a ten.
    My two kids live in Japan as half-Japanese and have been subject to racism their whole lives. My son told me today, 'in the U.S. there is racism against blacks.' I replied, 'I hope it won't be long now before race doesn't matter much in the world anymore.'
    The documentary's overall message is pessimistic on that point, but I like to think we're gaining critical mass against idiotic racism. Racism is a disease of the mind and every day makes millions of lives miserable. We can move beyond it not by becoming more 'sensitive' to race but conversely just not caring what race someone is.
    I'm not sure that what the U.S. is doing is reinventing Jim Crow- it seems to be at the beginnings of building labor camps. African Americans are disproportionately targeted now, but if the U.S. continues in this way it won't be long before poverty grows and merely being poor will become a de facto crime and more and more vulnerable people are going to be incarcerated and put to work no matter what their race is. A good example is that a Jay Walking ticket could easily turn into a 'resisting arrest' felony with a three sentence. That's what the lower class of the U.S. may have to suffer in the future. Maybe I'm wrong...

    1. sleezterchef

      Japan is completely racist. Your children will never be accepted into Japanese culture and neither will their children. I lived in Japan for a year and behind all the smiling faces was "heh.. gijin...". Koreans who have lived there for generations aren't given the same rights as Japanese nationals. The place is a mess.

  23. DrMorq

    Brilliant Documentary!!

  24. Epicurus

    This is a great documentary that I hope everyone watches. Im sure there will be lots of white people who feel like this is attacking them, those people clearly didnt watch this in its entirety and they probably also identify with their race thus are able to feel attacked when people are pointing out historical facts about the race they belong in.

  25. Patrick Adrien Varencaus

    Color of skin isnt the reason that the u.s.coorp is destroying this country.. But an evil heart bent on destruction and worshipping the devil.

  26. Patrick Adrien Varencaus

    DRUGS ??? Really !!! Close big pharma hypocrtes

  27. Patrick Adrien Varencaus

    Only one race (THE HUMAN RACE)

    1. bluetortilla

      Check the U.N. charter. It declares the people of the world as the human family.