Professor Says White Privilege Helped Her Escape Poverty

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Robin DiAngelo said she grew up “poor and white.” She’s not poor anymore — and she argues white privilege is the key reason why.

“Being white definitely helped me navigate that poverty, move out of it and now be seen as fitting in,” DiAngelo said. “It’s only internal that I have that class difference.”

Now, she studies white privilege and whiteness studies as a professor at the University of Washington and a consultant and trainer on issues of racial and social justice.

She explains the concept of white privilege like this: a large building with an escalator, filled with people. You’re in a wheelchair. You’re stuck, with no way of going up or down. The people riding the escalator aren’t bad, she explained. They didn’t intend to exclude you. They’re just advantaged by the structure of the building.

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