Gara LaMarche on inequality and privilege

According to Gara LaMarche, president of Democracy Alliance, reducing bigotry and inequality liberates the talent and energy of all Americans. In order to address the challenges our society faces, we need to celebrate everybody’s talents. 


GARA LAMARCHE: You know, I’ve thought about this question lately a lot about you know, the “Angry White Man”. And I woke up one morning and I realized: I’m an angry old white man. What am I angry about? I’m angry about different things.

[Inequality is logo. A graphic black equal sign with an orange slash through it. #InequalityIs. Gara LaMarche, president, Democracy Alliance. A white middle-aged man in a blue button down shirt.]

Inequality creates structures of power in which a relatively small number of people determine the future of great social questions. And we can’t afford that. I’ve enjoyed, by virtue of my gender and skin color, a degree of privilege in this society that has gotten me advantages that are ill-gained.

[Black and white archival images. A young Black boy carries a sign that reads “Don’t treat our children like prisoners.” An older Black woman sits on the steps of the Supreme Court with her arm around a school-aged girl, holding a newspaper with the headline, “High court bans segregation in public schools.” A group of women hold protest signs that read “Unite for women’s liberation”, “Equal pay now”, “Judge women as people, not as wives”, and “Our bodies, our choice”.]

I was born in 1954, which was the year of Brown vs. Board of Education which was the Supreme Court decision that finally began to undo the legacy of racism that this country was built on. Most women were not in the workplace, they didn’t have control over their reproductive destiny. I was in high school when Stonewall happened, the great Civil Rights Acts of ‘64, ‘65, the Voting Rights Act, the Immigration Act of 1965 that ended racist immigration quotas, Medicare and the Great Society programs. That’s what makes me angry right now; people of my kind of age and gender and skin color who want to go back to a world before the changes that I’m talking about. The liberation of talent and energy that comes from the reduction of inequality and the reduction of bigotry that enables women and people of color and immigrants to compete on the same footing as white men who have traditionally held power, has liberated in every zone of life you want to look at whether it’s finance, or the nonprofit world, or politics, or higher education, or arts and culture, has liberated enormous amounts of energies that were bottled up before. If we’re to solve all the problems of the world, we need to have everybody able and willing to step up to those challenges no matter what their background and no matter where they live.

[Inequality Is Logo. Join the conversation. #InequalityIs.]

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