A Few More Thoughts on Ledbetter

The Supreme Court’s ruling applies to claims of racial discrimination in pay, as well as sex discrimination claims. What would have happened if Lily Ledbetter were Leon Ledbetter, a black man who learned after 20 years that he had been paid less than his white co-workers? Would the Supreme Court still have overruled the majority of Courts of Appeal on the statute of limitations issue? Would the Senate Republicans have filibustered the Leon Ledbetter bill?

Why do we have an ideological label — feminist — for women who insist that they not be subject to workplace discrimination on the basis of sex, but no similar label for racial or religious minorities who insist on similar freedom from discrimination? There certainly are pejoratives that Leon Ledbetter might be subject to for insisting on equal treatment (“uppity” is an old-fashioned one; I’m sure there are others), but we don’t see insistence on equal treatment of racial or religious minorities as reflective of any particular ideology, unless it’s the general “liberalism” that also encompasses equal treatment for women.

None of these reflections make me like Hillary Clinton any better than I did before, by the way. And as I told LB the day I met her, I am helping to perpetuate the illegitimate patriarchy. But I do understand why so many women, especially those of a certain age, are ticked off (not, God forbid, bitter), and like Hillary more than I do.


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