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Trade Group Accused of ‘White Male Privilege’ After Vowing To Work With Trump on Infrastructure

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By Jillian Kay Melchior | 2:42 pm, November 22, 2016

After accusations of “white male privilege,” the president of a prominent architectural trade group has apologized for a post-election statement welcoming President-elect Donald Trump and vowing to work with him on infrastructure development.

As a candidate, Donald Trump suggested between $1 trillion and $2 trillion in infrastructure investment, and the American Institute of Architects wanted a piece of that cash.

Just hours after Trump won the election, AIA’s CEO, Robert Ivy, released a statement saying his trade group and its 89,000 members “are committed to working with President-elect Trump to address the issues our country faces, particularly strengthening the nation’s aging infrastructure.”

The Equity Alliance, which focuses on diversity in architecture, responded to AIA’s statement with a scathing open letter.

“Please recognize that, in word and action, you perpetuated our profession’s white, male privilege when you offered the Institute’s support for a person known for promoting a worldview that threatens to pit us against one another on the basis of our race, gender, creed, or sexual orientation,” the Equity Alliance wrote.

It added that AIA “failed to speak truth to power, and [has] instead offered a willingness to capitulate to an unpardonable worldview because we are enticed by the pursuit of new commissions.”

A social-media campaign under the hashtag #NotMyAIA also targeted Ivy and his statement on cooperating with the incoming Trump administration. Some called outright for the trade group’s president to resign over the statement.

Ivy issued a statement on Friday apologizing for “the harm that our statement caused.” In it, he also says that “many of the president-elect’s statements and policies run counter to the values of AIA and its members.”

— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.

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