The Economic Ramifications of Minority Status
One of the clearest indicators of the effect of minority status appears in the proportion of senior level management employees by race.
|Classified Minority Group (By Race)||Percentage of Private Sector Employees||Percentage of Executive/Senior Level Staff|
|TWO OR MORE RACES||1.49%||0.67%|
This data is sourced from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's 2014 Job Patterns for Minorities and Women in Private Industry
According to the data from the EEOC, the only two groups of employees who are overrepresented in senior level management positions are White men and Asian men. However, we should take into account that Asians, as a group, are also underrepresented in senior level management positions despite being the racial category with the overall highest educational attainment and income. In fact, when only racial classifications are taken into account, every minority group is underrepresented in senior level management positions, with variations likely justified through diferent levels of educational opportunities and attainment.
The most startling information from this data is that women of every single racial category are underrepresented in senior level management positions. Despite making up about 47.75% of the workforce (in 2014), women only comprised of 28.81% of employees in management positions. This is one example of the need for intersectionalism. Because women, on average, are less likely than men to gain a promotion, this results in the wage gap between men and women which is an average of 21.4 cents according to the National Women's Law Center. Naturally, it can be extrapolated that women will be more likely to have minimum wage jobs than men due to both necessity and a lack of opportunity. In reality, according to findings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 62% of minimum wage workers are women despite being only 47.75% of the workforce. Thus, under the intersectionalist perspective, the minimum wage issue is a women's issue. Similar justifications can be made for other marginalized groups.
Discrimination faced by Minority Groups
Let's look at some data about the LGBTQ+ community according to the LA Times which show that:
- The average wage gap between gay/bi males and adult males overall is $0.10-$0.32
- 21% of LGBTQ+ employees report facing any workplace discrimination (e.g. hiring, promotion, etc.)
- For trans* workers, this number is 47%
- 1 out of 25 (roughly 4%) of workplace discrimination complaints come from LGBTQ+ employees
- About 4% of all employees identify as LGBTQ+
As it has been found that because of their sexual orientation, gay and bi men are more likely to receive less pay for equal work, it can be concluded that workplace discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals do exist due to societal views. From an intersectionalist perspective, progress towards equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community is imperative for a variety of reasons including income equality.
The Reality of Intersections and My Intersectional Experience
While data helps drive the point, the real intersections come in the experiences. For this reason, I will speak for myself. My name is Christopher Fornesa and I am gay, autistic, and Pinoy. I live with depression, anxiety, and OCD. My experience as a gay cis-male has not always been the best as it took years for my family to accept me and to accept myself enough to open up to others about being gay. My experience as an autistic individual is one that has been confusing as my diagnosis did not come until after high school when most people are diagnosed as young children. However, knowing that I'm autistic has allowed me to understand myself and to accept my experience, whether it's the difference or the disability. Being Pinoy but somewhat racially ambiguous (I do consider myself brown) has given me a differing experience from most Asian-Americans at the least. However, the conglomeration of these characteristics has made life difficult, yet one worth living as I know that while my experience is quite unique, that I do have a story to tell. Having OCD, depression, and anxiety also comes with its challenges. I would have to say that OCD dictates my life but seems to aid me in dealing with my anxiety as the ability to feel that I can control my actions through my OCD lessens my anxiety. However, depression affects me just as often as OCD and anxiety but, on most days, I feel that I can manage and master it. The truth of the matter is that the intersection of identities that I have give me a truly intersected experience. I deal with all the challenges that come with these characteristics but the triumphs and successes I have are truly mine, not in spite of these characteristics but because I am the way I am. While it would be nice to know how it feels to be different, the truth is that my experience motivates me to do more for myself and others.
Images are provided courtesy of Christopher Fornesa