Please note. . .

Don't Be Silent DC has been inactive since March 2008 and has not been accepting entries since. If you are in the DC area and have a harassment story to share, please go to HollaBack DC. If you are outside the DC area and want to submit your story, go to Stop Street Harassment. Thank you.

As of 3/1/08, I will no longer be working on this blog. Please read this post for more details.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Racial Slurs On The Road

Reader Jenn sent this story:

Just wanted to say I love your blog, I think it's a much-needed outlet...

While I am harassed frequently, this was one of the more outrageous (and upsetting) incidents that has happened to me...

Last week, I was on my way to lunch and stopped at a red light at the intersection of Connecticut Ave and East-West Highway. As you may know, this is a REALLY long light - there are multiple turning lanes, as well as traffic from four directions.

It was a gorgeous day, and I had my car windows down and was listening to music. I noticed a red truck with two black blue-collar workers in it to my left, and a white truck with one Hispanic blue-collar worker to my right.

The men closest to me in both trucks lean out of their windows and close to my car to "say hello," as they do. The following is what ensued with the black man to my left:

"Hey - hey! HEY! [I glance over, give a half-smile, then look away]. Haayyyyyy! Girl whatchu up to? Where you headed? You wanna get some lunch with us?! [Other such random questions... I ignore, looking straight ahead, somewhat pretending to be deaf]. Hey! I don't want to talk to you... could you help me with some directions? Bitch, I just need directions! I don't want to talk to you anyway - I don't want no white girl! You know why?! Because I don't want no white babies! It's too hard to keep their asses clean, them white babies! Fuck white babies! [Laughter between dude and the other guy driving the truck, talk about "white bitches" and more "fuck white babies" talk.] Ahhh. Yeah. White babies and their dirty asses. Hell no!"

The light was red for what felt like an eternity. Driving with your windows down seems to open the door for ridiculous stoplight "conversation." Harassment of this nature has happened to me at least a few times a week since the weather has been nicer. The guy in the truck to my right was also talking to me, but stopped when he saw the verbal rod-e-o goin' down on the left side. How considerate of him.

Sorry for the length!

Normally I try not to include race in stories (because the race of the harasser shouldn't matter), but unfortunately race came into play here. Not only was this man using "male dominance" as a form of oppression, he stooped to making racist comments as well. Their mindset is "if I can't get that woman's attention in a positive way then I'll get it in a negative way."

The next time something like that happens roll up your windows. I've done that many a time when I used to drive and some man would try to "holla" at me. In nice weather like this it would be nice to have the windows down to let the breeze in, but your safety is more important.

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