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.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

DBS Shorts 12/22/07

2007 is coming to an end and I really don't have much to say lately because street harassment hasn't been happening to me much - and it's much appreciated. I could attribute it to the fact that I've been taking the bus home lately as opposed to walking home from the train station. While a lot of the passengers of said bus are loud, tacky, obnoxious, drunk and crazy, it's easier to deal with than walking past the "Loitering Losers" on a dark night.


I only had a half day of work Tuesday, so I used the remainder of the day to run errands. I carted bags of old clothes to the yellow donation box not too far from my house, and proceeded to dump them in it. I kept hearing "Excuse me, ma'am!" It was an appropriate gesture and it was still daylight out, but...

This fool was yelling this at me from the liquor store across the street! These men never want anything important enough for me to respond to, so I acted like he didn't exist as I continued to throw the bags into the donation bin. He never stopped screaming "Ma'am...MA'AM!!!!!" at me. I don't know where I got the resolve from to ignore him the whole time. One would think if I hadn't responded the first or second time he'd get the hint and leave me alone, but he kept at it. No common sense. I'm surprised I didn't get called "stuck-up bitch!" like I normally do when dealing with that.

It reminds me of when I was back in my hometown. I went to see a movie with my mother, and saw a woman in the lobby with the prettiest earrings on and I wanted to let her know that. "Excuse me, ma'am," I said as she came near us. She didn't respond or look in our direction.

"Maybe she didn't hear you," my mother said.
I said "Excuse me" again and was once again ignored. Yes, I was justifiably hurt, but I didn't start yelling "Fuck you, bitch!" like the men on the street do. When I ignore those men I wonder if I'm no better than that woman in the movie theater lobby from years back. But then I realize that these men most of the time are a physical threat and I need to keep cautious. Maybe the woman in the lobby was afraid of me and my mother because we're Black and she had unnecessary prejudices. . .I don't know. I just can't worry about the past and compare my actions to others, and must worry about myself.


I was out late Wednesday in Georgetown, and the punks were out in full force. This group of college students (I assume) was making fun of people on the streets, bouncing around, and acting like idiots. They started laughing at me because (drumroll please!) I was wearing red shoes and had a matching red bag. You can't take fools who spout out "n***a!" "fuck!" and "p***y!" seriously. They blocked the streets and I couldn't get around them to get to the bus stop because they thought they were so damned important. Remembering what happened to me when I tried to get around a bunch of sidewalk-blocking fools before, I decided to not respond. Let them act like assholes. The ringleader of the group, a funky-looking girl with a cheap curly weave, stood right in the middle of the sidewalk and copped attitude when people bumped into her. Maybe if she didn't stand right in the middle of the sidewalk no one would bump into her. I made it home in one piece thank god, but next time I'm out late in Georgetown, I'll spend that extra dough and take a cab home (though it'll cost me an arm and a leg).


Speaking of riding the aforementioned crazy bus home, yesterday was a trip. The chick in front of me was talking loudly into her phone about wiring someone money, the women across the aisle were laughing obnoxiously about stuff that wasn't funny, and one fool boarded the bus and squashed his too tall butt next to me. He kept leaning over me to look out the window (especially when we passed police cars and sirens), and while I was listening to old school stuff on my headphones (loud as possible to tune out the crazies) he started singing the "Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby" part to me from this K-Ci and JoJo song, "All My Life."

"Aw, hell no!" I said, and he left me alone. Unfortunately, he found another target, a teenage girl. Call me a coward, but I get tired of putting myself on the line for people who don't appreciate it. I'm tired of being insulted for being a good Samaritan. This fool was in his early 30s, and this girl didn't seem to mind his attention.

"You in high school?" he asked her.
"Yee-eh," she said, in that drawl the kids here have.
She then goes on to talk about her school's football team. Too much information and this fool didn't need to be talking to her. But the scenario with me is that:

1. I'll say "Leave that girl alone!"
2. I get called a "bitch" by the offender
3. Person I'm trying to help says "I'm grown...I don't care! Mind your business!"

And I just didn't need that. He found someone else to talk with (thank god!) and I continued to listen to my headphones. Had it escalated (him saying inappropriate stuff, her saying "Leave me alone!") then I would've gladly jumped in and intervened. I can never sit idly by when someone's in true danger.


Today I got up and got dressed to pick up my boots from shoe repair and grab a spicy hot cocoa from the local café. I wore my headphones to tune out the fools on the street. The boots (albeit promised today) were not ready and the café was closed early. The "Liquoring Losers" (ones who hang out in front of liquor stores) were out in full force and yelling.

"Say that to me again, motherfucker!" one of them yelled. It was complete with chest thumps and everything.

I was so certain they were going to say something to me, but all that yelling was at each other. Much better them than me...thank god, hallelujah! So I was sans boots and hot cocoa, but made it back harassment-free. Man I love those days.


As I said, not much street harassment's happened to me lately, and I don't think I'm that same person who'd curse someone out in a heartbeat who tried to bother me on the streets. Is it because I want to take different tacts to handling idiots on the streets, or simply because I'm tired and don't have the energy to deal with it anymore? I honestly don't know.

What I do know is that Christmas and New Year's are coming up, so please stay safe and strong during this holiday season. See you all in 2008.

No comments: