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2012 Election

Binders Full of Black People(?)

Not sure why I just thought about this, but amidst all the funnytimes related to Mitt Romney’s “Binder Full of Women” response to a question related to equal pay for women, a couple of things jumped to mind…

  • That it was great that the woman, Katherine Fenton, drew attention to the issue and asked it in the first place, despite the backlash that she received later and the somewhat non-committal answers that each of the candidates gave.
  • That it was not so great that it was a question that a Black person still could not (would not?) ask, even with a Black president on the stage.

Just to jog the memory, here’s the question that Fenton asked:

“In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?”

Now imagine if you switched females to Black and male to White?  Blank stares?

Because that’s the reality:  “As of 2010, black men in America earned 74.5 percent of a typical white man’s wage; black women earned 69.6 percent.”

But that’s not a question that will see the light of day.  Neither will similarly related questions like the discrepancies between unemployment rates or incarceration rates for the different races.  And the reason why one question would be more acceptable than the other seems rather obvious…and even accepting the unacceptable backlash against Fenton, I have my biases that the reaction to a Black person asking a similar question would have been even worse.

But wouldn’t it be nice to have the ability to ask and get an answer to the question: In what new ways do you [Obama or Romney] intend to rectify the inequalities that still exist for Black and Latino people?

Of course that would likely result in…

Binders full of Black people!



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