Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gimme My Money- The Passing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

As a practitioner of employment discrimination law this act, signed today by President Obama, is a huge thing so I had to blog about it.

In the simplest of terms, the Lilly Ledbetter Act (aka Fair Pay Act) is like an amendment of the Equal Pay Act which stated that one gender, particularly women, cannot be paid less for the same job as the other gender. The Fair Pay Act turns over the Supreme Court case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber which stated that th
e time limit for pursuing a claim of pay discrimination begins on the date the allegedly discriminatory pay decision is made (time of hiring) and does not begin anew with each paycheck. Ms. Ledbetter had been working with Goodyear for 19 years before she received an anonymous letter explaining that she was making less than her male counterparts. Therefore, it was too late to bring a lawsuit, with there only being time limitation of 180 days from time of the pay decision to make a complaint.

In reality, who knows within 6 months of a new job what other coworkers are making? If we knew, there would be a lot more lawsuits/complaints. The Act changes the 180 day limitation from each new discriminatory pay check not from the first. It also covers race as well as sex.

I was listening to Barbra Miculski on the radio this morning discussing this act (she was one of the drafters of the act) and I am really hopeful that Acts like these will really start bridging the gap in pay. Miculski stated that black women make 67 cents to every white male dollar for the same job, black men make 72 cents, white women make 77 cents. With statistics like these one can only imagine that with the passing of this bill, lawsuits will be increasing.

And with that threat of lawsuit, employers will be very careful of how they make pay decisions and probably reevaluate some of the decisons they have already made (I smell raises for some people). If you're paying Billy 60,000 dollars to to practice law as a starting salary, you better give the same pay to Jessica or be able to document why.
Hurray for change!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Confessions of a not so Skinny girl

I’ve never been a skinny girl. Never been fat or chubby either but I’m curvy enough to wonder what it would be like if I was a skinny girl.

As I’ve gotten older I have found that more and more of the friends I hang around (of all races) are thinner than the girls I hung out with when I was younger. And thinner than me. In high school I was either a smaller sized girl or pretty average to most of the other girls. When I got in college I noticed the girls, again of all races, were much, much thinner than I could have imagined.

My size 8 was looked at as a full figure. Which is easy to do when ones roomate was actually somewhere between a size 0 and size 2 on a bad day. Other girls swam around size 4s and 6s. On a good day, I am a size 6. A really good day. In college it was easier to stay thinner when you had thin girls all around you and the food at the college was pretty healthy and tasty.

Enter law school. A nightmare of three years and a time where, somehow, my usual thirty minutes of working out three times a week didn’t do crap for me. By the time I graduated the horrendus affair I was a size 10. I didn’t even see it happening.

And that’s where I stayed until I started hanging around skinny girls again and then we had the audacity to plan a trip to Rio de Janiero Brazil . Home of the string bikini and many a Victoria ’s Secret model. This girl started working out and cutting out bad food like no tomorrow. I got back to a good size 7/8 and on a good day, a really good day, a size 6. And am still there.

But still among the thinner of my friends, by comparison I still look like the full figured gal. Again, when you have friends who wear size 2s and 4s, there is no competing. And I don’t plan to. They don’t look bad that skinny. Their bone structure allows for it. I on the other hand would be pushing the limit of what is attractive if I sunk below a size 6. Skeletor comes to mind. I am big boned. It is what it is.

But I must say, sometimes going out with the skinny girl is a blow to the ego of a fuller girl because the skinny girl always gets the looks, at least first. Thin is in, if it wasn't why do we continue to aspire to be thin? Not simply just fit. A skinny girl with an okay face seems to have an easier time than a plus sized gal with a really cute face. I’ve seen it plenty of times.

I’m not saying that the fuller or even average girl gets no love however, if she’s out with the skinny girl (and by skinny I’m not lumping in here dangerously sickly frail people, I’m talking hollywood thin) my observations have shown time and time again that the skinny girl will usually get the attention first. Oh, and if she’s blond AND skinny well she’s got it made. Polls still show that a thin blond blue eyed woman is the most attractive to the majority of men (we can talk racial preferences another time).

And although most guys I encounter say they like a little “cushion”, just how much cushion are they talking about?

Beyonce or Queen Latifah? Because, in reality, not many of us are even Beyonce’s size. Heck Beyonce is hardly her size. I thought she had a cute figure before she stepped out on her own. Yet she lost weight anyway. And even Rihanna, who was thin already, lost a lot of weight which aided in her cross over appeal for her later albums (well, that and a fly hair cut). And there are countless others who have lost “unnecessary weight” in order to be more appealing.

The word “average size” has a new definition as the years go by because our society is getting larger. So while in my mind average means not too skinny and not chubby. The average woman in America is size 14. By that notion, I am not averaged size. But I’m hardly thin.

Yet size is a social and cultural construct. In one country my size 7 might be a size 12. And among certain communities I am considered skinny (my coworkers roll their eyes and have literaly thrown things at me when I say I need to lose weight) but among my skinner friends I am average sized and a 14 is overweight/above avearage.

My reality has shown that a skinny girl gets a better reaction superficially than larger or even average sized girls. However, sometimes I wonder whether women lose weight for each other, themselves or men. Is there a size men prefer as opposed to a size women wish they were? For example, would men want us all to have a J Lo body but are women actually aspiring to an Angelina Jolie body?

Sigh, sometimes I think the media is the worst thing ever invented. Did women in the 1700s have this issue?

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Did I make this term up? If so, no copying, I’m TM ing it.

Obama bracelets

Obama dolls.

Obama Tshirts

Obama earrings

Obama watches

Heck even Malia and Sasha now have Beanie Babies made after them (and I must say their cute).

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Michele be the next face of Carol’s Daughter.

But with all this commercialism for a political figure and family are we getting too involved in the hype?

Are we making the man a legend before he can sign a piece of legislation.

Although at the time of this writing he did sign to close down Guantanamo bay (I’m a yea for that).

I worry.

Obama is but a man but if we get caught up in the idea that he is going to make water into wine everyone’s going to get hurt.

Obama’s win meant hope on many levels. And I’m sure all those watching were hopeful that our economy would get better, that our world relations would improve and that our own personal goals would no longer be blocked by racism.

I must say that Obama being inaugurated made me fully feel like I was in the “future”.

I always thought the 21st century would be more futuristic. Flying cars and robot helpers (yes blame the Jetsons) and while that stuff is in development even ipods, blue tooth and touch screens wasn’t enough for me.

Nope, a black president meant the future to me. Meant we are finally getting somewhere.

Racism is not dead.

Our economy is far from healed and other countries still raise a suspicious brow towards us but I can’t help but feel that the door is open now for us to get things right.

The key word being “us”.

I’m just hoping that all the tears people had on inauguration day, all the obama dolls and posters won’t cloud the truth that one man can’t do it alone.

And for all the bad that Obama has inherited from the previous administration, one historian had it right, that the presidents most remembered are the ones who did well in crisis.

Think Abe Lincoln and the Civil War. Roosevelt and the Great Depression. JFK and LBJ and the civil rights movement. Heck, even George Washington and the war for independence.

One day, one can only hope, Obama will be remembered more for what a great presidency he had during a tough time than just the fact that he was the first black president.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Lonely Single

So, still seeing guy I briefly mentioned a couple post back. I only see him about once a week (one time twice) because he lives an hour away. Although he’s in another state, not sure an hour travel really qualifies as a long distance relationship which I tend to not like, but I’ve been told if they are in another state then that makes it long distance.

Anywho, because of the time constraint, I only see him on weekends. I realize that weekends are prime times to hang with friends so I imagine this might cut into his guy time. He said he told his friends the deal so he’s cool. Plus my thought is, he has the other weekend night to hang with them (as do I with my friends). Further, one weekend together out of a month won’t kill anyone either. We both discussed in our earlier dates the importance of time apart. I’m a firm believer in that. I enjoy hanging with my girls and family and I see the importance in having separate activities.

However, I don’t think that’s true of many women. At least not too many I know. See, for most of my friends (not all) when they “get a man” they become ghost. Naturally, when one enters a relationship or consistent dating scenario with someone their friends see less of them. That's fine and understandable. However, I find for women, we just about lose a friend altogether. As the usual single one, I’ve seen friends come and go and have had to make all new friends because of that. The closer the friend gets to the man the less I see them until the day they get married when they become a distant memory. I understand seeing them less but not at all, not so much as a phone chit chat? As if by saying “I do” they also mean “I do vow to never see my single friends again”. As if they no longer have anything in common with us. What could they possibly do with single people? They don’t go to the clubs anymore. But therein lies the problem. I’m pushing 30 (scary! But still have almost a year left to get a grip), I rarely go to clubs anymore. But dragging my attached friends to shopping, movies, travel, happy hours or dinners is becoming a feat in itself. And it shouldn't be!

I mean, who do attached women talk to about girl issues or love problems? Other attached women or no one? Maybe force the conversation onto their significant other? Do they believe that they can no longer relate to or communicate with their single friends?

For some of my attached friends I find they come out of hiding once in a blue moon and announce that we need to get together and go out. It may be my psychosis, but sometimes it feels as if they are saying it more as if they are doing me a favor rather than simply wanting to reconnect. I also find that it is hard to talk about my life to my attached friends unless it’s about a boy, and even then the interest is not that great as compared to when I talk to my single friends.
Is the life of a single person less interesting?

For me, it got to the point where I just enabled the distance by no longer inviting my attached friends places and not talking about my personal life unless they asked. I never understood this. When I am dating someone I never stopped hanging with my friends. Obviously I went out less but not so little I was missed. Plus I enjoy talking to my friends. My only other thought is that as you get attached, you start weeding out “non essential friends”. So perhaps my alleged friends are keeping contact with other people, just not the ones who weren’t as close because they don’t have time to keep in contact with everyone anymore. But then how many friends am I non essential to? Perhaps I just didn’t have enough good friends. I can count on one hand with a couple of fingers left over of how many friends in relationships now I still see. Perhaps those are my only good friends.

I wonder though, does this happen to guys? Do attached guys give up their single friends? Do they wait until marriage to do so? Or do they never?

I always wanted a Sex in the City/Golden Girls tight knit group of gal pals but I’m starting to realize that maybe that kind of female camaraderie just doesn’t exist in the real world. Maybe romance novels aren’t the only thing of make believe.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Interracial Dating and Black women and White men: Drama or No Big Thing?

Posted about this before but have more to say.

It's 2009 and we are seeing more and more interracial couples. Heck, a good number of my family and friends are in interracial couplings (black female/white male mix). I've never cared about such things (I fancy myself and Equal Opportunity Dater). Although there are way more black men/ white women couplings, I am beginning to have a sneaking suspicion that this will change. I am seeing more and more black women with white men.

Why? As I stated in my previous post, I do believe that money and education differences between black women and men play a large factor. However, despite the stereotypes, I find many educated black women are willing to date black men not on their pay or education scale. I have most of my life, with no problems as long as there wasn't a drastic difference. However, even that willingness doesn't help the fact that there are still so few eligible black men who also want to get married.

So then what?A lot of black women are starting to explore "something new". And for most it seems to be working. But what about society's view? My thought would be that black men would not care if more black women started dating white men because so many black men date white women? All's fair right?

Not so, I still am surprised by the amount of disapproving looks, comments and behaviors I get from black men for dating a white guy (I haven't noticed anything, yet, from other groups). I can't lump people all together. I know that those disapprovers aren't necessarily dating white women themselves but still, they know the deal. For every black woman/white male couple there are at least 5 black man/white woman couples.

And with the percentage of unwed black women being around 40% (dramatically higher than all other racial groups) can you blame a woman for saying, "the hell with this, let me see what else is out there"?. Black women, largely raise kids out of wedlock, in fact, I venture to say it's the norm (I believe well over 60% of black children are raised in single parent homes, not the same for other races). No one aspires to be a single mother and just because black women have dealt with it and found the strength to do so, doesn't mean that should be our lot in life.

We've come to accept seeing black men with white women but is this so for the other way around. Is the black woman/ white man still a rare line that few are willing to cross? There is history there after all. Black women being seen and used as sexual objects during slavery, it is still a present wonder. I have a friend who when she dates a white guy always wonders in the beginning if he is dating her for her or for the "experience of dating a black woman". Then there is the shared historic experience of being black (culturally, and socially) that a white man wouldn't know automatically (a small inconvenience that he wouldn't understand why I wrap my hair at night with a silk scarf but still something to note). And then family. I just watched This Christmas in which one of the sons secretly married a white woman and was afraid to tell his family. Sometimes I wonder if nowadays black people have an ever harder time bringing a white person home to their families than white people. Especially black men who know mama might be, let's say, taken a back. And I'm sure that isn't who Dad had thought he'd be walking you down the aile to when you got married.

I don't know, as much as I would like to, I'm not ready to believe that interracial dating is a union to go lightly into. I always bring up race and have frank discussions about it when I'm dating a man outside of my race. I'm a firm believer in the couple discussing race with no hold backs instead of ignoring it. Being color blind makes us blind to the real issues. I want the other to know our differences and decide on whether we can accept them even if others can't.