Topics like these frustrate me. Because the implications are bigger than the entertainment industry. Bigger than an actress, a film, a pay dispute. Bigger than the recent controversies in an industry that since its inception has been mired in controversy. Some of the sentiments coming from our people, confirm to me that too many view the challenges we face through a milky lens of denial; a view, that is not going to do anything to change the reality most of us are living in. Which is why we keep having the same conversation on repeat. We’re stuck in a self-defeating loop.
Shut them up and shut them down.
In the end, their challenges are dismissed, and all is set right with the world. But is it really? For them or for us? The answer is no. These situations are not isolated events carried out by disgruntled shit-stirrers. They are indicative of an overall reality facing working Black women across a spectrum of careers. This is not Hollywood Divas Gone Wild. This is a hard-pill truth. To support the expansive reach of the race and gender pay gap argument, take this piece of nifty information from a 2017 report by the Economic Policy Institute. It states that:
“Black women are uniquely positioned to be subjected to both a racial pay gap and a gender pay gap. In fact, on average, black women workers are paid only 67 cents on the dollar relative to white non-Hispanic men, even after controlling for education, years of experience, and location.”
“Black women work more hours than white women. They have increased work hours 18.4 percent since 1979, yet the wage gap relative to white men has grown” (Wilson, Jones, Blado, Gould, 2017).
“two-thirds have some post-secondary education. 29.4 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Black women are paid less than white men at every level of education” (Wilson, Jones, Blado, Gould, 2017).
“In almost every occupation—both female-dominated and male-dominated—black women earn less than white men.”
- Economic Policy Institute “Black Women Have to Work 7 Months into 2017 to be Paid the Same as White Men”
- National Women’s Law Center – “Equal Pay for Black Women”
- Taraji P. Hensen’s Memoir Exposes Hollywood Pay Gap
- Tracee Ellis-Ross Speaks Out About Black-ish Salary Negotiations