Published in The New York Times | JUNE 25, 2020
Are You Willing to Give Up Your Privilege?
By Darren Walker
I have lived on both sides of American inequality. I began life in the bottom 1 percent but found my way to the top. And I know, all too personally, that the distance between the two never has been greater.
Last winter, at a black-tie gala — the kind of event where guests pay $100,000 for a table — I joined some of New York’s wealthiest philanthropists in an opulently decorated ballroom. I had the ominous sense that we were eating lobster on the Titanic.
That evening, a billionaire who made his money in private equity delivered a soliloquy to me about America’s dazzling economic growth and record low unemployment among African-Americans in particular. I reminded him that many of these jobs are low-wage and dead-end, and that the proliferation of these very jobs is one reason that inequality is growing worse. He simply looked past me, over my shoulder.
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