Gender- and race-based ticket pricing in Canada

According to yesterday’s Toronto Sun, some Canadian filmmakers are charging people different amounts of money for tickets to see their productions, with the charges based on both race (a social construct?) and sex.

Organizers for the Victoria [British Columbia] premier of “Building the Room” used “justice pricing” when tickets went on sale last week, with white males being charged $20, while others paid $10.

Sid Mohammed, a spokesman for the production, says organizers wanted to address the fact that white males tend to have more purchasing power than other demographics.

But he says they received a “huge amount” of backlash on the pricing, including emailed death threats and accusations that the practice was racist and constituted discrimination.

Organizers have responded by lowering the admission price for white males to $15 and announcing that any profits from the door will be donated to the Native Friendship Centre of Victoria and the Victoria Pride Society.

First, this issue is no reason for death threats. But there’s case to be made that it involves race and gender discrimination.

As the article notes, this isn’t the first time men have been charged more than women, though apparently race didn’t figure in an earlier case in which a feminist vegan cafe in Melbourne, Australia charged men 18% more than women, on these grounds:

The 18% figure comes from a 2016 Australian government Workplace Gender Equality Agency report which found the average difference between a man and woman’s full-time weekly wage is about 18%.

I’m not really down with this because it punishes or rewards entire classes based on averages rather than individual incomes. If a cafe wants to give a poor person a free meal, or charge less for somebody who earns less, I have no problem with that—unless your penuriousness is due to a disinclination to work. Differential charges should be based on differential incomes. But to assume that all men make 18% more than all women (or, in the case of the Victoria theater, twice as much) is to fall into the fallacy that an individual should be treated not on his or her qualifications or salary, but on group differentials.  And really—$20 as opposed to $10?

I’m wondering what readers think of this.  It shouldn’t be dismissed offhand simply because you’re using group averages to deal with individuals because, after all, that’s how affirmative action policies work Regardless of how “privileged” an upper-middle-class black family is, their child will get preferential admission at many American colleges. I still favor this policy as it increases diversity, which is an inherent good, though I recognize the problems with it as well.  But differential ticket and meal pricing does nothing to increase diversity. In fact, I’m not sure exactly what it does, except serve as a demonstration of virtue. If you really wanted to create a level playing field, charge people according to their income. Of course, that wouldn’t work in practice!

And, at least in the U.S., I think it’s illegal. I remember when women brought lawsuits against dry cleaners for charging women more than men to clean essentially the same garment, a practice which is deeply unfair. (I can’t recall the outcomes of those lawsuits.) Women also seem to pay a lot more than men for getting the same haircut, which is also unfair.  At least in America, I don’t think you’d be able to get away with charging people more or less for such things based on either their race or sex. Why isn’t this illegal in Canada?

h/t: Michael

92 Comments

  1. Randy schenck
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I have to go with the idea that different pricing is not a good idea. Now, maybe if it were a one price, all you can eat, you could charge males more because they generally eat more. I do not like senior discounts either. For many of us “seniors” we can afford it now more than when we were young. I do not need that and it’s embarrassing. That lame old excuse – I am on a fixed income, sure you are with increases nearly every year. If you work for a pay for performance company and you are not that good, you may be getting very few raises.

    • jay
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      hmmm

      Consider charging buffet customers by their weight…

      .. that would be fun to watch.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted September 20, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        I was going to mention that but did not want to go there. Example: I go to rehab therapy for a procedure I had. You see all kinds of people in there and they seem to get specific work on machines based on size and also age. It is likely appropriate in this case.

  2. jay
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Sometimes there is a legitiamate difference in cost, but in the in the US at least it’s only allowed to go one way.

    Young males are more likely to be aggressive drivers (despite the ideology that the genders are exactly the same) so insurance companies are allowed to charge more. But young women statistally incur higher medical insurance costs (even outside of pregnancy) and insurance companies are NOT allowed to charge them more.

    I’m not certain about the legitimacy of haircuts/ dry cleaning, certainly women’s clothing and hair styles do tend to be more complex than men’s (and interestingly ‘unisex’ hair establishments, predominantly run by women, still charge them more).

    I agree, if you give a low income discount, for instance it should be based on the actual fact that the person has less money, not their gender or race. If one wishes to provide help to disadvantage individuals, it would be best served by going strictly by income and previous access to education, ignoring race and gender entirely.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Regarding what insurance companies can charge, other than some things in the ACA, they can do whatever they want and they do it to everyone. They always charge males under 25 more because they have more accidents. They charge more for medical insurance if you are older, sicker, have a history, smoke, drink. Hell, when it comes to auto insurance you pay much more just based on where you live. And always, if they don’t want to insure you, they just charge more than anyone would pay for the insurance.

      • Bob Barber
        Posted September 21, 2017 at 6:35 am | Permalink

        When I was 63 years old, my wife died. My auto insurance company increased my auto insurance premium because I was no longer married and single males have more accidents.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

          This is obviously because, without the steadying influence of your wife, you started to drive like a lunatic. 😉

          Actually this points up the anomalies in calculating insurance risks – they have to do some stereotyping to calculate the probability of any particular person making a claim. And to do this they have to fit you into some category or other.

          It’s just too bad if you’re the only Porsche-owning eighteen-year-old male rap artist who is a careful sober driver…

          cr

  3. Draken
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I don’t live in the USA and I am (perhaps naively) not aware of any visible effects of ‘affirmative action’ in Denmark, but it seems like a tactic with disastrous consequences to me, as it is likely to shoehorn incompetent people in all the wrong places. I think the pejorative I’ve heard for such persons is ‘the diversity hire’.

    If you give preferential university acceptance to a minority, say Smurfs, based on their ethnical status rather than their accomplishments, you must be prepared that that they’ll have a lower success rate. That means you can do either of two things:

    * You can work the books a bit so they’ll pass anyway; or
    * You can maintain your standards and accept lower graduation rates.

    The former option makes your minority graduates unemployable, while with the second you can try and explain to the fanatical Blue Lives Matter movement that there’s a larger number of Smurf dropouts, upon which they’ll burn your campus.

    Diversity sounds nice, but should it become an end in itself?

    • Randy schenck
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      In some circles it would be affirmative action. Just a joke.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      The basic idea is okay, but executing it in real life does have issues. The general idea is not to hire minorities regardless of qualifications over other qualified candidates. Though of course when you implement it by quotas as is often the case that is something that inevitably happens.

      The basic idea is to give qualified minorities a place in line for opportunities to which historically they had no access due to long term systemic discrimination of many kinds.

    • Posted September 20, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      What I understand about affirmative action for college admissions is that it is done through a matrix of factors, and race is not at all the only factor. Race, income, standardized testing scores, first generation college, and legacy (are the parents alumni of the college) are various things that can be considered. This does mean, however, that a minority student who applies may be admitted over a white student who is otherwise very similar.

  4. eric
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m wondering what readers think of this.

    Well I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be legal in the US; not letting people of different races use the same public facilities is what kick-started our whole civil rights movement. So I doubt it’s an issue I’ll have to personally deal with. If I did, I expect my response would be just to not go there to see movies. They aren’t worth my protest time.

    Regardless of my personal response, I can’t see it as a good business decision. Given the massive swan dive towards oblivion many retail and movie venues are taking due to online services like Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, etc., it would seem to me not a smart move to punish and anger whole subgroups of potential customers.

  5. mikeyc
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Bars have ladies nights. Elderly people get a break on metro. Some restaurants charge less for children. Students often don’t have to pay what regular people do. Businesses and governments offer discounts to all sorts of people, individuals and classes. It can be slippery and I understand the problem.

    Personally, I don’t care if some theater wants to charge me more than a woman. I also wouldn’t pay. These are things we want, not things we need. If I felt compelled to spend the money I’d do it elsewhere.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      One thing I did not like and you don’t see it much today. Charging you to go to the bathroom. Airports use to do this allot.

    • sang1ee
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Some of those practices are definitely discriminatory and should be done away with, like the reduced pricing for the elderly and students. I think it depends on the assumptions being made in each case. Ladies night pricing is simply to draw more female patrons and doesn’t make general underlying assumptions about their purchasing power as a group nor is it intended to discourage male patrons.

      • eric
        Posted September 20, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        I disagree about the elderly. I have little problem with benefits for elderly or children because (a) we all go through those stages, so in principle everyone has access to the benefit…just not at the same time, and (b) I think it behooves society to recognize that the elderly often can’t or shouldn’t be required to work (as much) to stay alive. I mean geez, even hunter-gatherers take care of their elderly. Surely we can do so without yelling ‘discrimination!’

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 20, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          I agree with eric. I was going to point out (before I got to mikeyc’s post) that preferential pricing is well established with discounts for elderly, families etc.

          I think it’s fair enough in the case of elderly, or students/young people to recognise their limited purchasing power and give them discounts. Families I’m a bit more equivocal over since the parents chose to have a family. Okay for Disneyland I suppose… 😉

          cr

    • James Walker
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      On the other side, women are usually charged (substantially) more than men for a haircut. The argument my hairstylist friends give for that is that women usually have longer hair and/or want elaborate things done, but that’s not true of all women.

      • eric
        Posted September 20, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        The same excuse is used for dry cleaning; women’s shirts have more frills and they tend to be more critical/particular about the service.

        I’m not really down with that, because IMO the billing doesn’t live up to the promise. Women get charged more for cleaning t-shirts and for things like sneakers/tennis shoes, things where there is clearly and obviously no significant difference in the service/product.

        So look, if dry cleaners actually charged everyone for pirate shirts more than plain shirts, and everyone the same lesser fee for more plain shirts, I’d be okay with the “if you wear more frilly shirts, it costs more” thing. But since that’s not what actually happens, it’s bullflop.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 20, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        If you’re going to have set prices for haircuts, then the fact (I assume it’s a fact) that women on average have more elaborate styles that take longer to do, than men, is certainly a justification for a higher price. Also, ‘fashion’ comes into it, and when fashion comes in, prices go through the roof.

        The alternative is, I suppose, to charge by the time taken, but most people (I think) would rather see a fixed price up-front.

        cr

      • Diane G.
        Posted September 20, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        Haircuts, dry cleaning, clothes…

        I buy men’s clothes (as opposed to women’s) whenever I can find something I like.

      • Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

        My wife chooses to go to a stylist that charges more than the (generic chain) one I go to. She expects a certain outcome and is willing to pay for it. She would get a perfectly fine haircut at my place for less than 1/2 the price. She also gets some talk therapy with her stylist (seems to me).

        And there is a legitimate reason to charge more for her cut than mine. Mine is: #1 clipper, all over. Takes the cutter about 2 minutes to do it.

        (And: I always tip well, assuming the provider deserves a tip (some don’t, rarely, usually in restaurants).)

  6. busterggi
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    If I have to bring five years back tax returns to buy a movie ticket…

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      lol!

  7. Draken
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I also challenge the organisers of this event to up the ante a bit.

    Make a lane for the white males and one for the rest, at reduced price.

    Now put up the sign “SLEGS VIR BLANKES” at the male-white lane. Please report back how that went down, Sid Mohammed.

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      That’s already been done, albeit as a political statement:

    • rom
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      SLEGS VIR BLANKES
      I’d pay extra to goin that lane 😉

  8. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    ‘Gender Gaps’ in pay are fraught with statistical difficulties – because most of the difference in pay for jobs is due to the nature of the job, not the gender of the job holder. Adjusting for type of work, part-time working, overtime, etc. figures in the UK showed a slight gender pay bias towards younger women and older men. Mostly driven by peoples’ job choices.

    • Alex
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      That’s not entirely correct. There was one study that looked at female lawyers that have no children and found that they were still being underpaid. Once again, these female lawyers have NO children so the gap can’t be blamed on maternity leave.

      The extent of the pay gap in the first world tends to be exaggerated by feminists, but it’s not reasonable to say that it’s gone entirely. There are definitely some parts (such as Republican-leaning populations) of the country where female employees are underpaid. A more blatant wage gap does exist in places like Pakistan.

      • mikeyc
        Posted September 20, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Another study showed that male nurses are paid less than females. Should this injustice be remedied too?

    • Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      I am a professional on a salary (engineer).

      I am rewarded based on performance. I do damned well. I kick ass. There are very few people in my organization who can meet or beat my set of skills and performance. But those who do are both male and female (far fewer females — there are still far fewer females in engineering than males).

      We have one female Technical Fellow in my organization. I’d be very annoyed if she made less than I do. That would be wrong. (I’m sure she makes more than I do.)

      I would be annoyed if someone were paid the same as me, based on anything other than their actual performance.

      That said, we need to be on guard against women’s performance being unfairly rated relative to their male colleagues.

  9. TJR
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    If you’re going to have “justice pricing” then surely Jews should get in free?

    Not just because of the holocaust, but because they have made a massively disproportionate contribution in nearly all of the arts and sciences.

  10. Posted September 20, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Can’t you just tell them that (despite all appearances of being a white male) you identify as a black female, and get the reduced rate?

    • Rick
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      They would probably accept that you identify as a woman, but not as black. 🙂

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      LOL!

  11. Posted September 20, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    “Regardless of how “privileged” an upper-middle-class black family is, their child will get preferential admission at many American colleges. I still favor this policy as it increases diversity”

    Actually… the numbers are in, and it *hinders* diversity, rather than increasing it: https://www.skepticink.com/avant-garde/2016/05/11/racism-2/

    Cheers!

  12. Posted September 20, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I posted something on a different site about the white privilege, and felt that one of the problems is that people focus on the advantages being born white has, usually giving specific examples, but are less specific in the “we should work to make that system more equal and just.” side.

    In my case, I’m a white 6’1″ male, so I rarely feel worried walking down the street at night, and the idea of my being raped while doing so never enters my mind. On the other hand, I’m a teacher, so my salary is the same as any other teacher with the same qualifications and years of experience.

    In the case of my night-walking privilege, aside from the fact that I wouldn’t attack someone, and like to think I would help someone in that situation if I came across them, what else am I expected to do? I mean I joined SafeWalk when I was at university, but that was decades ago. In terms of salary, in my field that is a non-issue.

    My point is that if you are specific about one side of the issue, you also have to be specific about the other side. Otherwise you are simply saying that someone should recognize their advantages, and….? Leaving an open ending like that leaves the person wondering:
    – do they mean I should feel guilty for something I have no control over?
    – are they expecting me to use my privilege to change things? if so, how?
    – are they expecting me to give up my privilege? If I agree to do so, then how?
    – okay, I’ve acknowledged it. Now what?
    – I don’t have any power to affect the glass ceiling, hire the best candidate, make the streets safer, etc. So what does my acknowledgement accomplish?
    – does this mean I’m supposed to vote for _ in the next election?

    So for the less imaginative, provide some answers. In the case of tickets, this seems discriminatory. I am reminded of a cartoon I saw comparing a 200+ lb male with hand luggage to a 120 lb female with one small checked bag, and asking to explain why she has to pay more. I don’t think that cartoon applies in this situation though.

  13. Posted September 20, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Companies try to charge what a market will bear, so there is a lot of different forms of price discrimination out there. The person sitting next to you on a plane may have paid half as much as you, or twice as much. Price discriminating by gender is a bit more sensitive, but not illegal as far as I know. Probably depends on state law. Explicit attempts to charge protected classes more for exactly the same good or service could violate civil rights laws, I suppose.

    Price discriminating by age is common enough, and no one gets litigious about it. So why not charge white men more?

    • Adam M.
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Race and sex have long been protected characetristics in almost all anti-discrimination law, but age isn’t. Also, sexism and racism and discrimination based on them are hot-button issues, whereas age-based discrimination isn’t.

      Everyone who doesn’t die young eventually goes through all the age brackets, but you can’t change your race or sex.

    • Posted September 20, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      The person sitting next to you on a flight may well have paid less than you but generally that is not based on their personal characteristics. They will have either bought well ahead to been prepared to travel more flexibly. If you wanted to definitely fly at a certain time on a particular day then you are paying for the certainty of flying at short notice. Companies often have discounts but put barriers in the way of obtaining them; the more price-conscious will take the time to overcome the barriers while the more affluent will choose place priority on speed and ease.

      • Posted September 20, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Well, airlines want to charge higher prices to business travellers or those with less flexible travel plans because on average they are more affluent, although not all may be. The theater wants to charge white men higher prices because on average they are more affluent, although not all may be.

        • Stanislaw Pak
          Posted September 20, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          This analogy does not work.
          Buying an airfare you still can pick economy class if you want or cannot afford to but business class ticket. In other words – the choice is in your hands. In the case of the theater you are ‘required’ to pay (no choice here) base on the criterion you were born into by accident (cannot change). The only choice is to skip the theater entirely. Whether on some biological characteristics you belong to group that is more affluent is irrelevant.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 20, 2017 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

          Airlines charge what the market will bear, but they also cut prices for all sorts of marketing reasons.

          So if you book well ahead or benefit from some other promotional deal you could well be paying half or even less of what the pax in the next seat has paid.

          (Same goes for rail travel in Europe – book well ahead and shop around is my advice).

          (On one full flight back from Rarotonga four decades ago, I got bumped up into First Class (business didn’t then exist) and found I was sitting next to an acquaintance of mine. He was highly indignant because he’d had to pay full First Class fare, Cattle Class being fully booked. I thought his indignation was rather absurd, since (a) he hadn’t paid for his fare, his company had and (b) they would have claimed it as a tax deductible business expense anyway).

          cr

    • eric
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Because we all start out young and (barring accident) grow old. We all get those benefits, just at different times. But we don’t all become white or male (or black or female) over time.

      • Posted September 20, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        Pricing policy is determined year to year and varies over time. It is not an entrenched right, so you have no guarantee that a price that benefits a certain age group now will benefit you as well.

        • eric
          Posted September 21, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

          All costs change over time in somewhat unpredictable ways; that doesn’t mean giving a 10% discount to both Alice and Bob is unfair because Alice bought the product at yesterday’s lower price while Bob buys it at tomorrow’s higher price. People’s retirement savings will go up and down with the stock market (often, famously, down in a crash). But that doesn’t mean ‘fairness’ is accomplished by saying “oh, you retired just before the dot com bubble crash in 2000. 20% discount for you!”

  14. J.Baldwin
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    This seems counter productive. Wouldn’t charging minorities less based solely on their race/ethnicity simply reinforce negative stereotypes? How does that promote “justice”?

  15. David Duncan
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    As far as I am concerned they can charge whatever they like, even if it is discriminatory. I can also do something else with my time and money.

    Except if this outfit have their snouts in the taxation trough (and I’ll bet London to a brick they do). Then they shouldn’t discriminate.

    I agree with the other comentators who said that angering your customers is unwise.

  16. Randy Sherwood
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I agree that price changes based on demographics are silly. Oprah can better afford the $20 ticket than I can.

    California is trying pass a law to base moving violation fines on income (as I understand it, specifically reducing a fine for lower income people, as opposed to raising it for wealthy people).

    Of course, allowing the court to know your income is drastically different than allowing a theater to know your income. But if someone was comfortable revealing that they were lower income to receive a discount, I wouldn’t be opposed to that. You’re not going to force me to reveal my income just to charge me more, though.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I support discounting things where possible for people who struggle to afford it, but not necessarily raising the price of things for certain others just because they can. But I’d also look at the doubled ticket price and say “screw that, I’ll find something else to do tonight.”

    http://www.abc10.com/news/local/california/california-bill-would-base-traffic-fines-on-income/440305160

    • Posted September 20, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Oprah can better afford the $20 ticket than I can.

      Ah yes, didn’t Oprah suggest that presuming she was less able to afford luxuries was racist?

      http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/09/world/oprah-winfrey-racism-switzerland/index.html

      • loren russell
        Posted September 20, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        If I’m not mistaken one or more of the Scandinavian countries DOES have a sliding scale [scaled to a miscreants annual income] in fines for some motor vehicle violations.

        The idea is that such fines are meant to be deterrents to unsafe driving. So a 200 euro fine might deter middle-income people from speeding, but be derisory for a magnate. The headline takeaway was that a software executive, clocked at 200kmh in his sports car, received a fine in the mid six figures — about as much as he paid for his car..

        • Derek Freyberg
          Posted September 20, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

          I think several of the Scandinavian countries have income-based traffic fines. I rather like the idea, though I haven’t given it a lot of thought. The situation here in California is that the fixed fines (and towing and storage charges – and bail bonds, slightly separate issue) disproportionately hurt low income people, many of whom are forced by lack of cheap housing to commute long distances to their jobs in places like the Bay Area. I don’t want to make it easier for commuters to speed, or drive solo in the carpool lane, but the cost to the offender shouldn’t be a week’s take home pay for one person and a couple of hours’ pay for another.

          • Derek Freyberg
            Posted September 20, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

            I’ll add that California traffic fines are very high, not because the nominal fine itself is so high (say $100 for a carpool lane violation) but because there are so many add-ons based on the amount of the fine (court fee, crime victims compensation fee, whatever) that the amount to be paid is something over $300 for that nominal $100 fine – the state legislature has used traffic fines as an easy way to raise money.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted September 21, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

              That sounds like a rort. I hate these add-ons.

              On the subject of speeding fines, I got a French traffic ticket in the mail a few weeks ago. 45 euros (ouch!) if paid within 45 days, otherwise it goes to 90 euros. A very neat trick to persuade you to pay up promptly. (To their credit I guess, it does explain in detail the ways to pay, and any grounds you may have for challenging it and how to go about that).

              cr

        • Posted September 21, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          I remember reading about a (I believe) Swedish professional hockey player who got a 6 figure ticket for speeding years ago.

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      “…(as I understand it, specifically reducing a fine for lower income people, as opposed to raising it for wealthy people).”

      Where I’ve seen similar measures proposed there has been one price for everyone except the poor, who presumably would be the only ones who’d need to show any proof of income to receive the reduced rate. Seems fair to me. Studies show fines impact the poor far more than the middle class.

  17. Gnu Atheist
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I have one thought that differs from the majority expressed here. I don’t know what “Building the Room” is about, whether it addresses equal pay and/or whether this differential pricing applies only to this production. But if so, I can see this as a one-time “See How It Feels” to the white guys having to ante up. I’m an old white guy and I smiled when I read the headline, because I thought that was what this might be about. In general, I agree with most of the comments already made, but if this were specifically limited to a teaching point, I have no problem with it. In fact, I would think it right on the money.

    • Posted September 20, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      If that was the case, I’d also give it a pass.

      The cafe in Australia doesn’t seem to have been a one-time thing.

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Racism and sexism – totally OK. Got it.

  18. Posted September 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    “Justice pricing”

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. This is something one should be able to understand by the age of 6. There’s no violence involved with this example but it’s the same eye-for-an-eye impulse that leads immature antifa types to condone physically assaulting certain people.

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      What’s the first “wrong”?

      • Posted September 20, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        That blacks and women have in fact faced mistreatment because of racism and sexism.

  19. Jeff Rankin
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I see this as part publicity stunt and part opportunity to make a claim of oppression by citing reporting backlash. What do you know? You imply people are racist oppressors and they don’t like it. A small subset of this population allegedly makes death threats, so the claimants can claim oppression. Rinse and repeat.

  20. Posted September 20, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    So a male gay couple pay more than a heterosexual couple and twice as much as a lesbian couple?

  21. Lee
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Groups don’t have feelings and needs. Only individuals do. Unless you’re an academic for whom statistics are the reality and individuals are the shadow. Then, as C.S. Lewis said, you’re likely to believe as strongly as any mystic in the superior reality of that which cannot be seen.

  22. Jonathan Dore
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    “white males tend to have more purchasing power…” and “the average difference between a man and woman’s full-time weekly wage is about 18%.”

    “Tend to” and “average” encapsulate the problem with the idea, which is that it’s incapable of adjusting to the reality of an individual male whose purchasing power or salary is below that “average” that while males “tend to” have. When contrasted with the many women and racial “others” who will, individually, have *more* purchasing power and a higher salary, the paper-thin justification simply evaporates.

    The sanctimoniousness of the idea is simply insulting, to *everyone*.

    • Posted September 21, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      “Statistical prejudice” is a thing I have been investigating, as we can’t help but categorize “fallibly”. I have no easy answers.

  23. Posted September 20, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    So let’s say they bake wedding cakes too.

    It would be fine and dandy to charge gay couples more?

    • Lee
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      That’s precisely why such thought experiments are critical in moral reasoning. Any practice which falls apart when applied to other groups in analogous situations, can be safely discarded.

  24. Posted September 20, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    The customers in these kind of places are generally wealthy so charging the men more will just make them feel better about themselves.

    Basically, you are rewarding them for their wokeness. That smug feeling of self-satisfaction is worth more than the extra expense.

    Gobbing in their drink would send a clearer message of contempt.

  25. Evan Plommer
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Gender discrimination is SPECIFICALLY barred by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These guys may well be facing more than P.R. problems: what they’ve done is not legal.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted September 21, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      They can however try it on because some parts of Canada, notably Vancouver and the West Coast Lotusland and Ontario “south of seven” have been so completely taken over by alt-left types. Especially Hogtown.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if some of those beta-males didn’t willingly fork over the $20 as atonement for their white maleness.

    • Posted September 21, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      It is, but it is also allowed for pricing of certain items – or at least tolerated. Car insurance (I believe) and certainly the proverbial haircuts. Now, I have no idea what would happen to a woman who went to a barber and asked for a “man’s cut”, but …

  26. Posted September 20, 2017 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    The ‘white’ guy by this example (higher incomes) would be paying more taxes all things being equal. Perhaps this is a tax from the bottom up by the people sort of speak which says, you can by more ‘stuff’ so just look at this as more ‘stuff’… your prestige and status is confirmed.
    Individual white guys can construe that how they think that appropriate (you could say they have paid for the right) but really they have just paid to be equal.
    Anyway, you buy into it or you don’t, your non choice choice. If you think its racist don’t buy, very simple.

  27. Stanislaw Pak
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Me and my close family (wife and sons) were born in Poland and came to USA 10 years ago. I do not need to mention perhaps that we are not very rich and we had steep entry as immigrants and any US citizen already was much more privileged than us on non-immigrant visas initially.

    When my older son was about to go to college I have discovered to my dismay that many of the admissions are preferential according to the race. So much for equality. Gradually, we learned that just because we have white skin we are “privileged” because of the injustice of slavery that ended 150 years ago. For us who came from the country that lost 10% of population during WW2 which my parents still remember from their childhood it is strange thing to experience. Somehow we are supposed to pay here in USA for something that we (or our ancestors) never did (slavery).

    Answering your question Jerry: I feel the Affirmative Action is resting on dubious premises. If we wanted to have diversity, we should encourage minorities to engage in the education game but at the same take the responsibility for their lives instead of patronizing them as “incapable” of getting from their knees. Instead of looking at the color of the skin or ethnicity – look at their income instead. It is so simple criterion and works well in Europe as well. This was the way the poor students in my country can get money for college or housing.

    If the qualification for the benefit today is the ancestors were slaves 7 generations back in time, why not to extend it to Slaves who were slaves in middle ages in Europe as well. What is the warrant to look at the past so far to justify reimbursements today?

  28. Lee
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    A cafe in a rural Utah town had its own version of price discrimination: a price list divided up by “conservative” vs. “liberal”; e.g. for a steak, $15 for conservatives, $20 for liberals. I guess customers were on the honor system, unless the cafe had spies out checking bumper stickers. (“Stop right there- you have an animal rights bumper sticker- that steak’ll cost you @20”)

    If I ever stop at that cafe (unlikely) I will probably loudly announce “I think people who voted for Trump are idiots- I guess that means I owe $20 for the steak, right?” Although it irks me to have to pay $5 to subsidize idiocy…

    • eric
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      That’s probably illegal too. Public accommodation rules generally mean treating all customers equally.

  29. Posted September 20, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    It is pretty plain to me that the sense of justice or injustice comes out very differently when one charges some people extra versus giving other people a discount.

    • eric
      Posted September 20, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      But that makes sense, if we assume for sake of argument that the “original” price is set fairly. I.e., with some reasonable profit margin for the merchant. In that case, a discount is the merchant taking money that we all agree he/she has ‘fairly earned’ out of his own pocket to help someone. That’s okay. Increasing the price for someone, on the other hand, is the merchant bilking some people excessively, and profiting from his/her discrimination.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 20, 2017 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        Well actually, assuming the merchant has to make a certain total per day to cover his costs, giving one group a discount is exactly the same as charging another group a premium – either way, one lot pays more than another.

        (Though the relative size of the groups is obviously a factor).

        Though as a matter of practical psychology, a discount always sounds better than a premium.

        Our budget airline charges low fares, and everything is a modest extra – meals, baggage allowance, preferred seats. Some people see that as greedy or exorbitant. I see it as an excellent idea, I’m only paying for those things I want, I’d much rather do it that way than pay a higher ticket price for a baggage allowance I’m not going to use, or a meal I don’t need (in a one-hour flight? Just a hassle.)

        cr

  30. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    In the Bay Area, live theatre on stage has lots of differential pricing, but it’s based entirely on age, student status, or working as an educator.
    On this last front, if you can prove that you teach in private or public school, or are a bona fide private tutor, they give you a big discount. (They both regard teachers as underpaid and as possibly having their teaching enriched by theater.)

    California Shakespeare festival (and others) gives discounts to BOTH under 30 and over 65, so the middle-aged pay more.
    Student ID is generally required to establish student status. How much that gets you varies enormously!!
    Carmel’s Pacific Repertory Theatre gives students two-thirds off (or at least did so since 10 years ago- I haven’t been since then). For other theatre companies, the student discount is much less.

    But no one does discounts based on race or sexual orientation.

    As with the case cited above, this is entirely based on statistics, and CalShakes hasn’t thought about the fact that in Silicon Valley a large section of the highly paid computer workforce is under 30.

  31. somer
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    I have no patience with differential ticket and meal pricing. And the clientele such establishments attract are likely largely resentful self righteous pains in the neck

  32. Jimbo
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Ludicrous. As you say, Jerry, nothing else matters beyond annual income which is no one’s business. Reverse discrimination is still discrimination. A theater seat filled by a white man is the same show for a brown woman so why bring race into theater attendance? It’s funny how convenient a target “white male” has become for everyone not a white male.

    “Justice pricing?” Please. How about “justice seating” – I’ll walk into the theater that’s screening Building the Room and take a free seat. If this movie is decent, I’ll pay what I think it’s worth but if it sucks, they won’t get a penny for wasting my precious white time. Brown or female time, pay according to your own self valuation and value assessment of the film.

  33. harrync
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    “… – unless your penuriousness is due to a disinclination to work.” Are you saying lazy people [like me] have the free will to become industrious?

  34. pck
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Seems like a good way to get people to talk about income inequality.

  35. Jonathan Dore
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    As a side note, it’s interesting to see from this story how utterly this strand of thinking on the left has abandoned *class* as a vector of analysis. By doing so, they’ve rendered themselves unable to imagine a white male who might be just as or more deserving of discount than an individual in the favoured groups. Nothing, it seems, can be allowed to interfere with, or threaten to complicate, the othering of the white male.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted September 21, 2017 at 2:34 am | Permalink

      +1

      One of my favourite jokes is that feminist monkeys look across to the male monkey tree and see only the top male monkeys in the crown. “All male monkeys are privileged!” they exclaim. Meanwhile the 95% of male monkeys who lack privilege and find perches on the lower branches look up and all they see is… arseholes.

    • Posted September 22, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Brian Leiter (legal scholar/philosopher of law/Nietzsche expert) has said that repeatedly. (He says it is a bad thing when people forget the *good* parts of Marx.)

      Susan Haack in her discussion of affirmative action points out that as a university professor and so on she is a lot more “privileged” by almost any understanding than a homeless man, etc.

  36. Thanny
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Quite beyond being ridiculous, it’s also based on a false premise.

    The median pay of all women working 35 hours or more per week is about 80% of the median pay of all men working 35 hours per week (no evidence that any of this is due to sexism, which has been illegal since 1963), but the purchasing power of women is equal to the purchasing power of men. Why? Because men and women marry, and wives spend money earned by their husbands much more than the reverse.

    And the notion that cleaning a woman’s blouse is the same as clean a man’s shirt is absurd. The former takes much more time and effort, as ample people working in the dry cleaning industry have state over and over.

    Every claim of a “pink tax” falls down under scrutiny.

  37. Posted September 21, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Higher prices for white men is a really bad idea. It’s not just unfair. It’s also counterproductive, as it will without doubt piss many poor white people off, leading to resentment, racism and misogyny.

  38. shelleywatsonburch
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Oh my word, I have so many problems with this. It is outrageous. So, let’s say, Beyonce and Jay-Z would pay $10, while a homeless white man would pay $15 or $20? The world has gone mad. They could take this further and charge Jewish patrons $30, since the joke is that Jewish people are good with money and dominate the entertainment industry. What about Saudis, who have lots of money from oil? How many creepy assumptions about people based on heritage, skin color or race can we drum up to alter pricing? This is the opposite of equal opportunity, equal protection. This is extortion based on the very things we are trying to equalize.


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