“Are You Willing to Give Up Your Privilege?” Asks Darren Walker ’86 in the New York Times Opinion

Ford Foundation President Darren Walker ’86—a double Longhorn, a two-time Law Alumni Award winner, and a Texas Exes Distinguished Alumnus Awardee—has a new New York Times op-ed arguing that, to preserve the American dream of upward mobility, the beneficiaries of an existentially flawed system must be willing to give up some of the benefits it affords them. As a thought-leader in American philanthropy and the non-profit social justice movement, Walker has been highly visible in national conversations on the pandemic and social unrest following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. We recently shared his appearance in TIME Magazine’s “TIME 100 Talks” (TIME named Walker to its “100 Most Influential People in the World” list in 2016) and are pleased to direct readers to today’s op-ed.

You can read the full article at this link, and learn more about Darren Walker here.

Are You Willing to Give Up Your Privilege?
Philanthrophy alone won’t save the American dream.
JUNE 25, 2020

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.

No chief executive, investor or rich person wakes up in the morning, looks in the mirror, and says, “Today, I want to go out and create more inequality in America.” And yet, all too often, that is exactly what happens.

Even before the coronavirus, before the lockdowns, and before the murder of George Floyd — during the longest sustained economic expansion in American history — income inequality in America had reached staggering levels. Social mobility, the ability for a person to climb from poverty to security as I did, had all but disappeared.…

“If we, the beneficiaries of a system that perpetuates inequality, are trying reform this system that favors us, we will have to give up something," Darren Walker writes. 
Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times

Read the full essay on the New York Times website at this link.