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, July 6, 2007

Continuation of "Does Race Play A Factor?"

I made this post a couple of months ago, and Devonna sent me this comment that correlates with it:

I wanted to thank you for your blog regarding street harassment. I deal with it so much. I am also a black female and am an attorney. I work at Judiciary Square but live on 16th Street so have to walk numerous blocks to get to the U Street/Cardozo Metro. It sucks that when I see black men on the street, I immediately try to move to the other side of the street to avoid them. I try not to make eye contact and sometimes will go as far as to put my phone to my ear and pretend I'm talking so that they will not say anything to me. In one embarassing incident, my phone actually rang when I was having one of my imaginary conversations with someone.

They don't realize how ignorant it makes them look and it really turns black women off towards their own. I do notice however, that it is mainly black American men though - not Africans or Carribeans. Have you also noticed a difference?

The HollaBack sites say not to bring up race unless something (for instance, racist comments) happens when being harassed. I feel it's impossible to ignore the intersection of race, class and harassment. Issues within the Black community are important to me, and for me to ignore that there is a problem with the way these specific Black men treat Black women would be a disservice.

Most of my harassers have been Black males, as to why, I honestly cannot say. I strongly feel that a lot of the Black males that partake in harassing women on the streets never had positive male role models in their lives, and they look up to the rappers to fill that void. They see their friends doing it, and it has a chain effect on them. In order to stop this cycle, I feel that intelligent Black men who are active in bettering their community need to step up and be the guiding light that these misguided men need.

These harassing males that happen to be Black need to realize that we Black women are NOT chickenheads, pigeons, loudmouth, sassy neckrollin' stereotypes. We are not ones to be treated so lowly. And I cannot respect these men as Black men until they respect me and others as Black women.

I open this forum for constructive discussion on this matter.


Trina said...

I could almost agree with you, except for the Black men that don’t have positive male role models who have still turned out to be decent men. Where are the Black women in this mix? There are women that have raised very decent and respectful men and those that have not. How can a woman be the head of her household and raise a son that does not respect women?

I would think that if women are so often the head of their household, then the sons they raise would be even more respectful of women, but it appears that instead the opposite happens and while I can understand it on some level, I can’t on another level.

Speaking from my own personal experiences, women allow themselves to be mistreated by men and their sons stand by with wide eyes and soak it all up. I have a girlfriend that has subjected her children to several different “uncles” in their lifetime. Knowing how innately protective sons are of their mothers, what does this do to a young man? Does it cause some kind of love/hate tug of war in his mind concerning women? He loves his mother, but hates the way she behaves, hates that there are so many different men in her life, hates the way these men treat her and that she allows it . . . how does that affect his relationship with women? My girlfriend’s son has little to no respect for women, but is still very loving, respectful and protective of his mother. He has random sex with random women, lying to them all and using them all for everything he can get out of them.

On the other hand, I have seen how some young women behave towards young men. They are overtly sexual, mercenary and uncaring. Does this cause what would otherwise have been a decent, respectful young man to become jaded and develop a negative attitude toward women?

A friend of mine, a male, once told me that women are the key to controlling men all the time. He said men do what women want. Always. In one way or another, it always comes back to what the woman expects and wants and the man will always try to meet those expectations because he always wants the woman’s approval. Of course, those are words coming from only one man, but I wonder if there is some truth to it.

Elie said...

In terms of how race plays a role, my friends and I have noticed that harassers and cat callers have been predominantly Mexican men (not Hispanic or Latino, specifically Mexican). One could argue that it's a "cultural" thing, but we've always found that to be a cop out along the same vein as "We stone women because it is our culture's tradition." So what gives? Is it some cycle in which father's pass on such behavior to their sons? If race has no role but rather socioeconomics does, why has experience and evidence pointed to such definitive racial factors to this kind of behavior?

"Hi...hi.. mamacita. *kiss kiss*" Ew. Um, how about you chinga tu madre, puta?

Jaytruth said...

As a balck male, you will normally find a little truth in each comment posted. I have worked in developments sponsored programs with hundreds of young & old black males. Concerning the oversexed image women have, it can be attributed to the life styles that the media has glamorized. Sex sells, but it sells even better in the African-American Community. Why? There are many reason, but the way our children are fashoined, shapped or built, you chose the language, it effects the thoughts of men. And when a parent(s) allow a young child that is already built like a full grown women, run around in tight fitting clothing, a man does not have to act upon his visualization, but he will comment(be-it-right-or-wrong). And given the proper situation, he will taste what he thirst.

No women deserves to be direspcted, even if her charactor urges it on, or even if TV mis-represents her, which is does and has. However, adding gasoline to a fire (tight cloths to a shapely body)will only by way of natural, ignite an already small flame (mens thoughts).

Can men be taught to not act on their desires, yes! But, if the men are trained who will train the women to not dress so disrespectful, damn sexy and wanting. This type of dress or look should be reserved for behind closed doors with husbands. It is a two way process, not only for the men to refrain, but for the women to not tempt. Telling a young men to stop looking, halla, or being agressive, but not limiting the action that excites him is simple ignorants (lack of understanding men). We are week, and if you tempt the average person, when they have a desire, need, and craving, then you will get bit.

There is nothing so demeaning, upsetting then seeing our women treated like trash, sex objects, and as if we have no mothers, but it has not stopped because the action (sexually dressed women)has not stopped dressing so provocatively.

Each time Television or the radio announces to a young men that they can have it in any color, and in any position and any way they want it, with the young girl responding to the male asking "whose your dady", then he will attempt to find out if he is the daddy. We have to talk frank and not hide the reality. it does not make it right, but it does exist.

Such beautiful women and young hadnsome males never find each other in order to correct this family problem of the males absence because the males are too busy being present at all "His" girls, chicken-heads, Ho's, or B's one-on-one pajama partys (open leg season). So the girls/ladies/and or women have an equal role to stop glamerizing their girlsfriends letting, young Johnny beat-it up. And by this day and age, we all should know what beat-it up mean.

Us males, who have young boys and girls, must have these frank discussions and express to the boys, to never, never, ever disrepsct someones mother or future mother. And to the girls to not allow for a men to make them anything other then the Queens they should become.

Are women are so beautiful and thing and sexy and smell and feel so good, all culturals have desired them for centuries. But only with respect should they be traeted. I challenge ever male to love our Queens and for every women to raise your sons and daughter to respect they future husbands and wives.

Golden Silence said...

Edited for spelling and grammar:

"And when parents allow a young child that is already built like a full grown woman run around in tight-fitting clothing, a man does not have to act upon his visualization, but he will comment(be it right or wrong). And given the proper situation, he will taste what he thirsts."

I log searches to this site and IPs, and think you had a different expectation before coming here. This is a site about street harassment, not about Black female sexuality. However, you made valid points.

I do agree that the young women need to stop dressing revealing as well, but many of the victims of harassment are nice, normal everyday women. The person who sent me a response to this is a lawyer---I'm certain she's wearing a suit, not daisy dukes and midriff tops. In the same token no one, regardless of how they're dressing, is asking to be harassed. So tailored suit or skimpy clothing, no woman should be harassed and the men who feel the urge to stand on corners yelling, making kissing noises and lewd comments at women should fight those urges.

The Black community needs a lot of work done to strengthen it and stopping intraracial harassment is a huge step in doing so.