Media

New App Splits Meal Bills So White Males Pay Extra for Their Privilege

Each diner's share is based on privilege, and those with the least privilege have to chip in less.

Photo Credit: Twitter

For too long, brunch has been yet another site of oppression, a weekly event that further bolsters our histories of gender and racial inequality. Now progressive comedians have devised a way to turn mimosas and eggs Benedict into a means of chipping away at the wage gap. (Warning: the racist and humorless should probably stop reading here.)

EquiTable, which took home first prize at this year’s Comedy Hack Day competition, is a new app that divides up the cost of group meals based on gender and race wage gaps. More privileged diners have to pay more, with white men being charged more than women of all races and people of color. As explained on the app’s website, the app “doesn't split the bill equally—it splits it equitably. You pay what you should to balance out the wage gap.”

At the end of a meal when the bill arrives, users open the app and enter their race and gender—which the program recognizes exists on a spectrum. They input the cost of the meal and scroll through their contacts to check off the friends they just ate with. Using “Bureau of Labor Statistics data and maths,” the program tabulates what each person should pay. Each diner's share is based on privilege, and those with the least privilege have to chip in less. The makers call this method of division "affirmative fractions." 

In a brilliant bit of foresight, the app also includes a feature that allows more privileged brunchers either to accept their bill portion or to “protest” the charges by choosing a hilarious prefab list of justifications. These include “I pulled myself up from my bootstraps,” “Started from the bottom” and the perenially popular, “This isn’t an issue anymore.” If you choose the latter, be prepared for a lesson on racial and gender inequality realities, introduced with the onscreen command, “First of all, let me explain a few things, boo.” 

Also, in case you don’t dine with any people of lesser privilege (recall that study finding 75 percent of white people have no non-white friends?), don’t worry, the creators of the app have thought of everything. “When dining out with a high privilege group, EquiTable automatically adds a Pay It Forward Surcharge. This fee subsidizes meals for others and funds EquiTable's charitable arm.”

The brainchild of comedian Luna Malbroux, EquiTable will be available for download in the coming weeks. Those filled with rage by the app should make note of the name so they can lodge complaints at the proper place.

"I have seen a lot of outrage," Malbroux told the Huffington Post. "We [changed] our name because there is actually another Equipay that helps people shop online, and their great team has unfortunately gotten a lot of the hate-mail meant for us. But the EquiTable team is prepared for it. I suggest they download the app and protest us using our built-in protest feature!"

Watch the video below for a full demonstration of how you can put EquiTable to work for you. And note that if you can’t see the upside of using it, there’s a share feature, so you can boast to your entire social media network about the (very small) part you’re doing to close the wage gap.

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

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