Skip to Content

Equal Pay On The Way?


No column today, as I’m traveling to Washington, D.C. to check out some of the Equal Pay Day activities and check-in with some pretty exciting advocates and allies. As no doubt you’ve heard, tomorrow, April 4 is Equal Pay Day, which represents how far into 2017 the average woman must work to earn what the average man did in the regular 2016 calendar year.

But while we’re crunching wage gaps, I’d invite you to put a couple of other dates on your calendar. According to data compiled by The American Association of University Women (AAUW) the equal pay date for African American women, who were paid roughly 63% of their white male counterparts, falls in August. For Native American women, the date is in September. The average Latina worker won’t catch up until October. Worse, those gaps appear to be widening. One positive trend seems to be for Asian American and Pacific Islander women, whose equal pay day would fall in March. But that number obscures the complexity of the AAPI experience in the workforce. Some are finding success in high-paying positions, while many, like Bhutanese, Marshallese, and Burmese women, experience the worst wage gaps compared to other ethnicities.

So, it’s complicated.

More on my adventures in the next couple of days.


On Point

Five decades since fair pay became the law of the land, the struggle continuesIt’s been 54 years since the Equal Pay Act became law, but American women are still working to make as much money as men. The Wharton School’s Olivia Mitchell breaks down the reasons why the gap exists: the motherhood penalty, the failure of women to negotiate, and bias from employers.Fortune

H-1B visa applications begin today, unchanged by the Trump administration
Contrary to promises of swift reform, the H-1B visa program for foreign workers opens today, Monday, April 3rd, with quotas and allocations for the controversial program essentially unchanged. Though a reform bill did make it to the House Judiciary Committee in January, there has been no action on it since. Big tech firms opposed the restrictions, but H-1B reform was one of the few ideas that were embraced by immigration and other workplace advocates. Detractors say the cheap foreign labor enabled by the program depresses the wages of American IT workers. This year, some 85,000 visas will be awarded from an applicant pool that could exceed last year’s 230,000.

The Chechen government is reportedly kidnapping and murdering gay men
The privately held Russian newspaper  Novaya Gazeta reported on Saturday that the Chechen government has taken over 100 gay men into custody, including two well-known television personalities. The paper claimed that at least three have been killed. Anti-gay sentiment is currently high in the country, since a gay rights group based in Moscow applied for permits last month to conduct gay rights marches across Russia. Instead of denying the claims of unlawful arrest, the Chechen government denies that gay men exist in the country. “If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning,” said a spokesman for the Chechen president.

Does Ghost In The Shell’s dismal opening weekend send a message about diversity?
Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson thinks so. In its first weekend, Ghost in the Shell made approximately $20 million domestically on a $110 million budget— a dismal figure indeed. “It’s become increasingly impossible to ignore general social pushback when it comes to Asian representation in film and television,” she writes. The film, an adaptation of a popular Japanese manga, stars Scarlett Johansson, a popular non-Japanese actor. “I would never attempt to play a person of a different race, obviously,” said Johansson last week, looking to stem the growing controversy. “Hopefully, any question that comes up of my casting will be answered by audiences when they see the film.” Hard pass, audiences said.
Vanity Fair

Two high school students created a textbook to teach racial literacy
Oh yes they did. Seventeen-year-olds Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo are the co-founders and co-presidents of the textbook Princeton Choose: The Classroom Index. Working with Princeton University’s Department of African American Studies, they leveraged the work they did on an earlier project, an online platform which compiled personal stories of race and racism called, into a resource designed to help students better understand and discuss race in America. “We like to call it a racial literacy toolkit and a textbook,” Guo told Teen Vogue. “[W]hat our book strives to do is just to equip these students with the proper toolkit to talk about race in America.”
Teen Vogue

The Woke Leader

On the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada, indigenous peoples find little to celebrate
Now that the country’s anniversary year is in full swing, The Star’s Jim Coyle highlights the long-standing issues facing indigenous people in Canada. “To indigenous Canadians, Confederation was the beginning of an ongoing betrayal and exclusion, with gusts up to atrocity and attempted genocide,” he writes. He ticks through a list of conditions that continue unabated to this day: residential schools, murdered and missing women, unfair policing, unequal health care, education and child-welfare systems and exploitation of resources. “Not to mention, of course, the virtual absence of aboriginal history from school history curricula.”
The Star

The other first black duck: How Mel Streeter changed the University of Oregon
Kurt Streeter has written an emotional tribute to his father, Mel, the first black out-of-state player for the legendary University of Oregon Ducks basketball team. It was the early 1950s, before Selma, and before the country had a dream. He wonders about the isolation his father must have felt, a stand-out in a mostly white state, in a mostly white town, living in the dim times of Truman and Eisenhower. It was old school, back then. “His way was the old way: Hold inside the anger and the self-doubt caused by prejudice,” writes Streeter. His father went on to become an architect in Seattle, but his son wonders. “I came to see that his upbeat exterior masked deep pain. The existential pain of not being seen for his full humanity, of having had to fight for his dignity daily, in small moments and in large.” 
The Undefeated

Atie: The new video from the Kenyan producer Blinky Bill will help you be more proactive today
For the next two minutes and twenty-two seconds, bounce your head to the latest track and accompanying video from Kenyan musician, producer and DJ “Blinky Bill” Sellanga, created along with  Dmitry “Mitya” Burmistrov, a Russian beatboxer and producer, and Jackline Kasiva Mutua, an internationally known percussionist. It’s an irresistible mix of traditional African drums and electronic beats, and stars the “League of Extraordinary Supergrans,” three Kenyan grandmothers who bless the stunning desert landscape they walk upon. Blinky Bill’s compelling vocal asks you to “wacha ku lala, changamuka,” or stop sleeping, be pro-active. Trust me, it works.


I feel sometimes when outsiders look to African music, there’s an expectation of a certain sound. I’d like it to be just music. I think my solo work can be confusing to people, in the sense that it veers off in many directions. I like people like Björk or Thom Yorke — people who have taken the liberty to just be themselves, do whatever it is they want to do because they really enjoy it, rather than being pigeonholed to geography. When my EP came out, I was surprised and happy when someone messaged from Japan to say that they liked it.
—Blinky Bill