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Watch: In new Issa Rae-produced PSA, little kids try to understand the gender pay gap

Issa Rae of Awkward Black Girl teamed up with the Make It Work campaign to produce this PSA on the gender pay gap. The video stars Anika Noni Rose and Gabriel Mann and four lemonade-selling kids, who are not buying the justifications for unequal pay offered by reps from corporate America. 

As Rae explains in an editorial at The Root, the campaign is aiming the pay gap a major issue in the 2016 election: “Start asking the people running for office tough questions about the wage gap and what they’ll do to ensure that we all have more equal workplaces.” Because, despite how tempting it can be to blame ourselves, the burden for ensuring equal pay shouldn’t be on us. “Something needs to change. And smarter negotiating isn’t enough, because the pay gap isn’t my fault or any woman’s fault. And it can’t just be on women to fix this problem. There is a role for employers and elected officials here, too.”


White man: I would like to buy a lemonade.

Boy: One dollar please!

Black woman: And I would love some of your lemonade.

White girl: Here you go!

White man: I’m going to give you this and take that. Thank you.

Black girl: Hey, this isn’t enough money.

Black woman: Ah, ah, ah. We are still buying lemonade. One glass of of lemonade please.

Black girl: Excuse me, my lemonade is for a dollar and you gave me 65 cents.

Latina girl: I only got 54 cents. 

White girl: And you only gave me 78 cents.

White man: You know what, this is so great. You guys are awesome at math. Amazing. 

White girl to white boy: How much did you get?

White boy: I got a dollar. 

Black woman: Ah, it is not polite to talk about money. 

Black girl: But why does he get one dollar and I only get 65 cents. 

Black woman: Oh, it’s simple. Because we value him more than we value you.

White boy: But…why?

White man: Well, because…that’s the way it’s always been. 

White girl: But we should all earn the same amount for the same work. 

White man: Technically. But you didn’t ask for a dollar for your lemonade. You just gave it away, so actually, it’s your fault.

White boy: This isn’t fair. 

Black woman: You got a dollar. Why are you upset?

White man to white boy: This really isn’t your problem. They just need to sell a little bit more lemonade so they can “have it all.”

White boy: Well, because we all made the same cups of lemonade, with the same ingrediants. That would be like if you guys got paid differently for doing the exact same job. 

Black woman: Oh, we have the same job. 

White man: Yeah, we do…let’s not talk about that right now.

Black woman to white man: Are you making more than me? Are you making more than me? 

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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