3

Gender Equality Bake Sale: Whose voices are missing?

CAlgytEUgAAVzFu President Obama once stated as following when remarking on equal pay for equal work, “Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns…in 2014, that’s an embarrassment. It is wrong” (qtd. in Kessler). Recently, a group of high school students held a bake sale on campus, using this statement as the support for their struggle with gender inequality. According to the interview done by Randall Carlisel, I found the voices in his interview about the opinions towards this event are incomplete. We are easy to find that most people in his interview praised these students’ action except for only one student suspecting the statistics they are using. Therefore, people should realize that the voices of adults who can think comprehensively and realistically (e.g. teachers and sociologists) are missing. Since there exist many causes for gender pay gap that cannot be attributed to gender inequality, however, have great influences on widening the wage gap, it would be biased discussing the inequality based merely on this statement. In the following article are some examples of these inevitable factors.

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Firstly, the organization of jobs is one of the most important factors of wage gap, which should not be attributed to gender inequality. According to the descriptions of gender socialization, “ individuals are taught how to socially behave in accordance with their assigned gender, which is assigned at birth based on their biological sex”(Tolmie). For example, the toys and games parents select for children are often unconsciously intended to socialize them into the appropriate gender roles. Girls receive dolls in an attempt to socialize them into future roles as mothers. Since women are expected to be more nurturing than men, giving a girl a doll teaches her to care for it and fosters the value of caring for others. When boys receive dolls, they are likely to be action figures designed to bring out the alleged aggressive tendencies in boys. Consequently, as it is explained by the principles of hegemonic masculinity, women are more likely to be nurses, secretaries and teachers who are usually in subordinate social position while men, in the contrary, are usually in the dominant social position – being doctors, CEOs and principals. The different characteristics and talents between men and women will results in gender segregation of jobs, which becomes one main explanations for the gender wage gap because men-dominated occupations tend to pay better than women-dominated occupations (Aulette & Wittner, 193).Still people have to be aware that even when women are in female occupations they are still paid less then male counter-parts because anything tie to the feminine is undervalued.

Secondly, the statistics the promoters are using fail to take race and classes into consideration. As it is shown in Table 1, when compared with non-Hispanic white men (a benchmark used because they make up the largest demographic group in the labor force), the pay gap is much worse for many women of color when compared to non-Hispanic white women. Thus, it can be seen that the low

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wages for women in color is an indispensable factor for the overall large gender pay gap in America. While the generally lower graduation rates being a factor for lower wage paying for women in color, the statistics show that many of them tend to be paid less than their white peers even when they have the same educational background (Wallace). A possible explanation is discrimination, which is attributed largely to the history of colonialism and capitalism. During the colonial era, “colonialism exists in the form of white supremacy, which posits that white skin is somehow superior/better to darker skin” (Tolmie). As it is more directly pointed out in one article of R.G. Price, “With very few exceptions, all slaves were African and brought to America for the sole purpose of free labor and thereby all people with dark or black skin were labeled something less than human in comparison to the white population” (Price). These ideas still exist today in the form of racial stereotypes and prejudices and racist violence, which can be clearly reflected in the wage gap between female peers in America. Thus, it can be seen that how important it is to to mention the races and class elements as well when analyzing the gender wage gap.

Despite the fact that there are lots of factors attributed to inevitable gender wage gap, we can never deny that there do exist pay inequality between genders and these students are popularizing the right thing. However, it can be seen that their efforts are actually helping only white, able-bodied people, people who are at the disadvantaged position or minor position in society, for example, LGBTQ people, disabled people and people of colour,  are not benefiting from the statement of equal pay for equal work.  It can be seen clearly, most people in the video being interviewed are all white, even including the promoters of this event. Therefore, there is lack of representations of diversified groups of people speaking of their voices. And it is probably these people, are experiencing the most unequal treat in wages. I am not saying that there is no wage gap between genders by this article.

I really appreciate those students’ awareness of the inequalities in society and make actions to prevent it at such a young age. Nevertheless, they need to explain the problems more clearly and analyze it in different standing points rather than just copy what a legitimate source said, because that’s the only way to convince the public. Also, the public should never merely rely on the words of people being interviewed in the news to make a judgment, even though it appears to be a justice event, however, should keep a critical mind to figure out whose voices is missing.

Works Cited

Aulette, Judy Root, and Judith G. Wittner. “Gender and the Global Economy.” In Gendered Worlds. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Wallace, Rachel. “By the Numbers: A Look at the Gender Pay Gap.” AAUW

Empowering Women Since 1881 By the Numbers A Look at the Gender Pay Gap Comments. September 18, 2014. Accessed April 3, 2015. http://www.aauw.org/2014/09/18/gender-pay-gap/.

Price, R.G. “Understanding Capitalism Part III: Wages and Labor Markets.”

Understanding Capitalism Part III: Wages and Labor Markets. January 11, 2005. Accessed April 3, 2015. http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/capitalism_wages.htm.

Tolmie, Jane. “GNDS 125.” Classs Lecture, “Gender Socialization”, January 8, 2015.

Tolmie, Jane. “GNDS 125.” Class Lecture, Globalization, Colonialism, and Orientalism in Visual Culture, January 29, 2015.

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3

How The Cookie Crumbles

http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/gender-equality-bake-sale-causes-stir-at-utah-high/10246/0gE6cCkPA0mvNkLZEjyO4Q

To begin with, I found this article to be quite interesting. It’s certainly an interesting way to demonstrate gender inequality and the wage gap. To sum it up, a group of high school students held a bake sale in which guys had to pay $1.00 for a cookie, as opposed to girls who had to pay $0.77. The purpose was to showcase the differences in pay faced by men and women within America, where on average women only make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes. This sparked controversy, and most importantly, conversation.

(Found at http://video-static.clipsyndicate.com/zStorage/clipsyndicate/271/2015/03/18/02/51/swlmmwmgwsrdmpvdysco.jpg)

I believe that it was an excellent way to demonstrate the wage gap – an issue that is hard to portray simply by discussing it, as comparing a dollar to 77 cents may not seem like that big of a deal. However, when it’s actually embodied in front of a person who is forced to pay more, the severity and unfairness of it becomes much clearer.

Before really diving into the issue, I would like to point out that these statistics are more relevant to white, able-bodied men and women than to men and women of ethnic groups, who on average are paid much less than their white counterparts. Likewise, people who are able-bodied are often also paid less (Aboriginal).

That being said, ethnic voices were excluded entirely. Even within the comments, based on the profile pictures it seems that it is predominantly white men arguing that these statistics are untrue and white women arguing the opposite. Many of the men arguing against these statistics have used derogatory terms, insults, and unbacked statistics to try and support their arguments. Some examples from the comments are “…men pay for more than half of the cost of having and raising children.”, referring to these statistics as an “anti-scientific lie”, and my personal favourite  “I do think though that in many jobs a man is more productive… so in some jobs men are on average superior…” (Carlisle, in the comments)

(Retrieved from http://amysrobot.com/files/pay.jpg)

Many people argue that the inequality does not actually exist, and that if it does it is merely a 5% wage differences as opposed to a 23% difference. The underlying issue relates directly back to entrenched sexism within society, reaching back to the time of colonialism. Before European settlers came to Canada, equality was not just an idea but was a practice among Aboriginal citizens, and jobs were shared among both sexes, though a gender split was still apparent (Colonialism And Slavery Handouts). However, following the arrival of colonial settlers in which Aboriginals were colonized, suppressed, and ultimately dominated over, it became a very male-dominated society, in which white men held more power than anyone else (Tolmie, Jane, week 9). These power systems have become heavily integrated into our society, meaning that straight, able-bodied white men are generally viewed as those with the most power (Aulette & Wittner).

I find it interesting that the comments themselves exhibit these power systems – there are a much greater amount of comments from white males than there are from any other group of people. This, paired with the fact that the majority of people in positions of power (i.e. the government) are white, able-bodied males, contributes to the inequality and oppression of other groups – when there is a majority group in power, their interests are often looked after and met far before the interests of others.

Further, when a crime is committed by a young white man, for instance, news stations often focus on the potential that this person had or basically lessen the severity of the crime by making what could be considered excuses for the criminal. Meanwhile, there is a tendency to focus on what the victim did or did not do beforehand. On the flip side, if the offender is a person of colour, the severity of the crime is often stressed and very rarely are excuses made. This speaks of the racism present within society, and is portrayed through the reactions of different news stations regarding the rape case discussed in week 11 (Tolmie, Jane, Week 11).

Focusing solely on the career aspect of this issue, a great example is the glass ceiling effect, in which women of all ethnicities and men belonging to ethnic groups are unable to reach high-paying jobs, despite there seemingly being no reason. It is as if there is an invisible barrier there, preventing people from moving up into better jobs.

(Retrieved from http://www.kchronicles.com/comics/2012-07-22_glass_ceiling-2665b5af.gif)

Ultimately, I believe that this was a fantastic way to get conversation going, and was certainly a great thing for high school students to do. However, it is not enough to create significant change. This is exhibited through the comments, and the utter denial clearly seen. Issues like this need to be targeted by the government, and individuals who hold a fair amount of power. It must be taught to people, publicized, etc. Only then, once people are truly aware of what is going on, can a difference be made.

References

Aboriginal peoples in Canada: Repairing the relationship. (2010). Unequal Relations, 165-200.

Carlisle, R. (2015, March 17). Gender equality bake sale causes stir at Utah high school. Retrieved April 5, 2015, from http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/gender-equality-bake-sale-causes-stir-at-utah-high/10246/0gE6cCkPA0mvNkLZEjyO4Q

Colonialism and Slavery notes, as provided by Maria-Teresa.

Tolmie, Jane, Week 9

Tolmie, Jane, Week 11, Monday Class

Aulette, Judy Root, and Judith G. Wittner. Gendered Worlds. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2012. 18-120. Print.

3

Disproportional Representations of Minorities in the Criminal Justice System

BBC News’ story, “Virginia governor calls for inquiry into student arrest” covers the story about a violent arrest of a black US student, Martese Johnson. What was meant to be a fun night out turned into a mother’s worst nightmare. With the intent of having a good night on the town, Mr. Johnson got wrapped up with the partying environment and in turn, became too drunk. This alerted the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents, and as they stated, “uniformed ABC Agents observed and approached an unidentified individual after he was refused entry into a licensed establishment” (BBC News, 2015). A result of Mr. Johnson’s behavior, the ABC Agents charged Mr. Johnson with obstruction of justice without force, and public swearing or intoxication. It is not to say that the ABC agents did not have the right to investigate Mr. Johnson’s state as they reported Mr. Johnson “was very agitated and belligerent” (BBC News, 2015). As the law states, public intoxication charges can be given to a person who is visibly drunk or under the influence of drugs in public (FindLaw, 2015). The ABC agents did not leave Mr. Johnson with just these allegations, but they also felt the need to aggressively attack Mr. Johnson’s face, leaving him covered in blood. Bryan Beaubran, another University of Virginia (UVA) student who photographed the arrest stated that, “Police acted with unnecessary force,” and that, “[Martese] didn’t need to be tackled. He wasn’t being aggressive at all.” The ABC did have the right to arrest Mr. Johnson if they felt that he was publicly intoxicated but by unnecessarily attacking him for no reason, they abused their authority. This reoccurring theme of police officers, or people with authority taking advantage of their power can be seen throughout our society. They use their power to oppress and discriminate against minorities. This reoccurring theme can be stopped in our society if we acknowledge and bring to the forefront these injustices.

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The debate on race and crime in the United states have been a controversial subject and has hotly been focusing on the disproportional representations of minorities in the criminal justice system (Rehavi and Starr, 201). In fact, federal prosecutors are twice as likely to push for mandatory minimum sentences of black and Hispanic defendants. This leads to longer sentences for the defendants and inequalities in imprisonment rates for federal offenses (ibid). Furthermore, in 2008, the offending rate for blacks was seven times higher than for whites and the victimization rate was six times higher (Worall, 2014). In 2013, the FBI has black criminals carrying out 38 percent of murders, compared to 31.1 percent for whites, the offender’s race was “unknown” in 29.1 percent of cases (ibid). Additionally, over the last three years of data (211-2013), 38.5 percent of people arrested for murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault were black (ibid). All of these statistics raises the question of why black people are over represented in America’s crime statistic? The answer of high black arrest rates could possibly be that there is an element of racism in the police force.

On a wider spectrum, it can be blamed on historic white racism, or colonialism. As learned in tutorial, in Canada’s history when Europeans came to Canada and ruled over large Indigenous populations the idea of the “white heterosexual males” was seen to be the highest of power or in other words their society overruled by white supremacy (Matani, Week 20, 2015). This idea of a “perfect man” has lingered in our society today and has become a social construct. In turn, this can explain the stigma around how our patriarchal society believes other races are seen to have less power than those in authority (white males). This leads to discrimination and oppression of races other than white. With high amounts of oppression instilled into a minority group it may be hard for that particular group to thrive in society. Some criminologists believe people confuse race with poverty or inequality as black people tend to offend more because they are more disadvantaged, living in poorer urban areas, with less access to public services and so on (Worrall, 2014).

Furthermore, in our era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt (Alexander, 2010). However, society has found a way to discriminate against these minorities in a legal way. Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans e.g. slavery (ibid). Once you are labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination- employment, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service are suddenly legal (ibid). Therefore it is not legal to discriminate against black people in general, but once they are deemed a criminal, society has the right to discriminate against them, and in turn white people remain in power and receive white privilege.

In social media and all over the world there are many current events of how white male authorities used discrimination against black people to remain in authority and hold power over them. One story that was analyzed on the Moodle of GNDS-125 course was the death of Michael Brown. He was an unarmed 18-year-old black male who was killed by a white police officer named Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri (Jones, 2014). Another story analyzed in lecture GNDS- 125 was the story of a homeless man who was killed by US police during an altercation in central Los Angeles (Tolmie, March 2, 2015). There is a video that shows a violent struggle between a black man and several officers in the city’s Skid Row area. The struggle ultimately left the black homeless man dead (BBC News, 2015). There has been much controversy around these cases and has resulted in various protests with vigorous debates about the law enforcement’s relationships with minorities. These stories bring to mind the ongoing discrimination and stereotyping people have against minorities. For example a police officer would more likely monitor a black person walking along the street than a white person. This is just one story of how white privileged males are using their power to take advantage and discriminate against black males.

Reflecting on the Johnson article, it is seen that a reader can examine the voices of everyone accept the victim, Mr. Johnson. ABC agents voiced their opinion on the situation saying, “Mr. Johnson was very agitated and belligerent” giving them a right to arrest him and attack him violently (BBC News, 2015). The article also states, “ABCS agents focus on alcohol-related violations but are considered state-wide police officers with authority to arrest” (ibid). From this statement, it can be seen that the author is backing up the actions of the ABC agents, saying that they had a right to arrest Mr. Johnson, as it was they’re duty. Bryan Beaubrun a bystander, got his say in this article stating, “[Mr. Johnson} didn’t need to be tackled. He wasn’t being aggressive at all”(ibid). Furthermore even the Democratic governor’s office had a published opinion on this case stating, “Governor McAuliffe is concerned by the reports of this incident and has asked the secretary of public safety to initiate an independent Virginia State Police Investigation into the use of force” (ibid). One statement that the article shows Mr. Johnson saying is from a protest on the UVA campus to demand justice for him. He states, “I beg for you guys to please respect everyone here, we really are a community” (ibid). This statement is hours after the incident and has nothing to do with the incident itself. The reporter is trying to tell the story from different perspectives but we seem to hear more on the side of the white male ABC agents, not from Mr. Johnson himself, or what Mr. Johnson thought of the incident. Without the voice of Mr. Johnson the article seems to focus more on the justified actions of the white ABC officers, which again discriminates against this particular minority.

The government and society seem to be aware of how some white male officers abuse their power and authority in order to discriminate against other minorities. But it is time to fully acknowledged this injustice and take action. Our society should not be continuing to have debates about race and color of skin. We are all equal. There are laws where it is illegal to discriminate against minorities, but now is the time to disallow all citizens to discriminate. No more loopholes, no more injustices against minorities.

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Works cited

Worrall, Patrick. “FactCheck: Do Black Americans Commit More Crime?” The FactCheck Blog FactCheck Do Black Americans Commit More Crime Comments. 4 News, 27 Nov. 2014. Web. 03 Apr. 2015. http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-black-americans-commit-crime/19439

Alexander, Michelle. “.” The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York City: New, 2010. 2. Print.

Introduction 

Jones, Denisha. “Badass Teachers Association.” : The Death of Michael Brown, Teachers, and Racism: 10 Things Every Badass Teacher Needs To Understand. BTA Blog, 18 Aug. 2014. Web. 07 Apr. 2015. <http://badassteachers.blogspot.ca/2014/08/the-death-of-michael-brown-teachers-and.html?spref=fb>.

Matani, Maria-Teresa. “Colinialism” Week 20, GNDS 125 Lecture. March 2 2015

Rehavi, Marit M., and Sonja B. Starr. “Racial Disparity in Federal Criminal Charging and Its Sentencing Consequences.” Social Science Research Network. Social Science Electronic Publishing, 2 June 2012. Web. 07 Apr. 2015. <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1985377>.

Tolmie, Jamie. “BlackLivesMatter.” GNDS 125 Lecture. March 2 2015

“US Police Shoot Homeless Man Dead in Los Angeles.” BBC News. BBC News, 2 Mar. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2015. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31688942>.

“Virginia Governor Calls for Inquiry into Student Arrest.” BBC News. BBC News, 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 03 Apr. 2015. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31965856&gt;.