“It’s time for women. Equal means equal. The truth is the older women get, the less money they make. The highest percentage of children living in poverty are in female-headed households. It’s inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we don’t…..It’s time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.” – Patricia Arquette
If you haven’t heard, there’s a big fuss over Miss Arquette’s speech at the Oscars last night. So much fuss that the above referenced article from Time.com is asking everyone to stop giving her a hard time because of it. That said, I won’t give her a hard time. I won’t even address her. I will simply explain why what she said upset so many people(other than the implicit tone that the fight gays and people of color has ended). And don’t worry, this will be short sweet and to the point.
There is a huge disparity in earned wages. It is a shame that on average, women earn approximately 20% less then their male counterparts. And that is something that should be addressed. However, you cannot address the wage gap issue without addressing race. Why? Well, take a look at the table I created based on data from The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and The American Association of University Women.
You can clearly see that all men out-earn women of their own race. However, Black, Latino, Islander and Native men still earn less than white and Asian women. So, to have a discussion about the wage gap, it cannot be just about gender. To exclude race from the conversation means that you do not truly care about the wage gap, only that it negatively affects you.
We have got to stop this trend of competing in the oppression Olympics. Talking about racism does not take away from talking about sexism. Talking about homophobia doesn’t take away from talking about Islamaphobia. Working towards ending the oppression of one should be a step in ending the oppression of all others. We truly are all in this together. The vast majority of us have our own oppression we face, but instead of fighting oppression globally, we get defensive about our own and tend to ignore everyone else’s.
If we really want to end oppression, lets all work together to end it for all. But you can’t fight for one while ignoring others, less you add to their oppression. I’m here for all of you. I fight for all of you. Let’s not lose sight of the ultimate goal regardless of what your own oppression is. We all just want to be treated fairly and have the same freedoms and opportunities as the most privileged among us.