Recently I saw this poster repurposing a bus kiosk in Berkeley. What did the author mean by "dirty ass system"? Maybe the fact that yesterday was Equal Pay Day for Black Women, 2017. It was yesterday because it took until July 31 for black women to earn the same amount as white men had earned the previous year.
Black women, on average, worked seven extra months to earn what white men earned in 2016.
How fair is that?
Tennis star Serena Williams, arguably the highest paid woman in the country despite facing racist obstacles throughout her career, serves on the board of SurveyMonkey. Yesterday she reported their research about the salary problem in Fortune:
Sixty-nine percent of black women perceive a pay gap, while just 44% of white men recognize the issue.
Nearly two-thirds of black women say that major obstacles remain for women in the workplace.
In addition to gender, black women see obstacles to racial equality: three-quarters of black women workers say there are still significant hurdles holding back minorities.
Still, some black women remain optimistic: more than 43% of black millennial women believe men and women have equal opportunities for promotion.
|Homeowner Aishon Jones in Syracuse, NY|
Salary equity is just one metric we can apply to measure racial inequality in this country. Another set of data that shocked me seven years ago was the disparity in net worth along racial lines found in a study by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. This is the best argument for reparations that I have encountered. Some key findings:
-Single Black women (across all ages, from age 18 to 64) have a median wealth of $100 and single Latinas have a median wealth of $120. Single white women clock in at $41,000.
-Almost half of all Black women and Latinas have zero wealth or negative wealth. That is, their debts exceed their assets.
-And even though white women (from 36 to 49 years old) have a median wealth of $42,600, women of color in the same age bracket have a median wealth valued at $5.
-Women of color 65 and older are least likely to receive retirement income from pensions or other assets.
The pay gap undermines the economic security of the more than 4 million families headed by Black women. #BlackWomensEqualPayDay— ACLU National (@ACLU) July 31, 2017
Help tear this dirty ass system down! Help by raising awareness of the real inequities it was built upon.
Love the people by standing up for what's fair so that another generation does not labor under the burden of structural, systemic racism. Defend affirmative action, practice diversity in hiring, and lobby for diversity in your own work place or school.
How many talents like Serena's get wasted every year? What brilliance do black and brown girls growing up today have to share with the world? Let's not miss out on it!