Can I Get Credit for My Own Idea?

Luna Malbroux
Me presenting with the Winning Comedy Hack Day Team: Graham Starr, George Chen, Star Zargosfky, Rohan Dhaimade, Brian Carter, and Franklin Ho

Short answer- no.

Despite a ton of national and international articles about EquiTable, how it was created at Comedy Hack Day at SF Sketchfest, how I came up with an idea and developed it with a team of amazing and talented comics and engineers- stuff like this CONTINUES to happen. Which is ironic, because the idea behind EquiTable was a response to the fact that women of color are ignored when discussing topics like the wage gap, and issues that face women in general.

Our newest commercial for EquiTable

Even though there are videos of me explaining EquiTable, a website that discusses the creation and the full team, multiple articles in notable news outlets from the US to China, and recorded interviews from NPR, to New Zealand Radio, to Canada’s CBC, it is still very easy for someone to ignore that and give credit to the first white women they see.

Update: After sharing writing about this and contacting the author, Costanza Rizzacasa d’Orsogna via Twitter, it came to my attention that d’Orsogna got her information from a Slate article that mentioned the EquiTable App but mainly featured Vivienne Ming, a scientist who calculated what she refers to as a ‘tax’ — what women, people of color, and queer people must pay to get the same promotions jobs as white men. Which is all very ironic that it comes back around with this article. Can we add recognition to that too?

A few times in articles, I’ve been referred to as a host of the hackathon, someone who introduces the app and other stretches of the imagination a person will run to when they subconsciously cannot come to terms with the idea that a Black Woman could conceive of an app. Often when the app is mentioned it’s written as “someone in Silicon Valley did this brilliant thing” without any attribution of who the someones are. But somehow- people have no trouble finding me when they are offended by it. They know exactly what ‘uppity Negro’ ‘cunt’ or ‘Nigress’ (actual quotes in 2016) is to blame and target.

I share all of this because it’s important to demonstrate that despite seeming ‘success’, I still have to fight to get credit for my own idea. I still have to navigate a system that will quickly dub any response I have to this as ‘angry’ and ‘irrational’. I still have to somehow prove that bias exists, despite facts and statistics, and the news. I am by no means alone in this. This is something too many people have to experience on a regular basis. Whether it’s being assumed to be ‘the help’ in a business meeting when you’re the boss, or struggling to get credit for an idea you just shared in the board room- I can just imagine the internet hands being raised if I were to ask how many women of color have had similar experiences.

This is just one example of things that happen on a DAILY basis to people of color. We raise our voice and point out disparities, and get ignored when we cry out. And I’m so tired of it, I’m so tired of being tired of it. But all I can do is do me, which is work for us — all of us.

On the brighter side, I’ve learned that “Get in Formation” is “Ottenere informazioni” in Italian

Second Update: The writer, Costanza Rizzacasa d’Orsogna has apologized and updated the story. Here it is for anyone who wants to brush up on their Italian!

Luna Malbroux

Written by

Comic, writer, playwright. Mother of three: How to Be a White Man, EquiTable App, and @Live Sex Talk Show. Holla- @LunaisAmerica and www.LunaIsAmerica.com

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