Comedian Creates New App That Splits Bill Based on Gender and Race – Guess Who Pays More?

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Comedian Luna Malbroux
Comedian Luna Malbroux

Yes, you read that right. EquiTable is a recently developed app that splits the bill based on gender and racial wage disparities. So the next time you’re out to Saturday brunch with your non-Black friends, you’ll save on that extra side item you added to your order. It sounds like it’s not fair, but hey, neither is living day to day under a white-male dominated society.

The app uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the bill at the end of the meal. Those with less financial privilege pay less for their food.

It’s not personal, though. We all deserve financial equality with our French toast.

According to the app’s website, “EquiTable helps you avoid the entrenched discrimination that exists in our society. It doesn’t split the bill equally — it splits it equitably. You pay what you should to balance out the wage gap.”

Luna Malbroux is a comedian and the chief equality officer of EquiTable. Malbroux, who is a talk-show host and artist in residence at the historic African American Arts and Culture Complex, created the ingenious app with the concept of, “Reparations one meal at a time.” In January, EquiTable was the Grand Prize winner at the 2016 Comedy Hack Day in San Francisco.

What started as a satirical way to address the dark realities of wage inequality gained a lot of supporters, but of course Equitable wasn’t without its critics.

“I have seen a lot of outrage,” Malbroux said. “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.”

Malbroux further broke down the app explaining, “You individually put in someone’s race and someone’s gender. We only use those two things because those are the things that the Bureau of Labor Statistics are measuring.

“We use an algorithm we like to call ‘affirmative fractions,’ ” she said. “What it does, basically, is calculate what people should owe based on the percentage of the U.S. dollar they earn.”

In all of its comical backings, the app does give back. It automatically adds a surcharge for “high-privilege groups,” picking up the check for others and financing EquiTable’s charitable mission.

EquiTable is gearing for its iOS launch in the coming weeks as Malbroux and her team shoot a commercial for the app. And she isn’t worried about the negative reactions to Equitable.

“The EquiTable team is prepared for it,” defended Malbroux. “I suggest they download the app and protest us using our built-in protest feature.”

The protest feature allows users to challenge the calculation with a variety of excuses. The app then provides statistics to counter the protest.

 “We used a lot of actual excuses that we heard and saw in the news, such as ‘I’m aware of my privilege’ or ‘This isn’t an issue anymore,’ ” Malbroux said. “For all those people who are naysayers and are really angry about it, we comically address them within the app.”

 

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