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.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Why me?

I am so sick of being singled out as a target for street harassment, catcalls, etc. Let me get about my day in peace, please!

Today I wore a shirt tunic, leggings/stretch pants, a sweater, leather boots and a leather jacket. I boarded the train at Fort Totten this morning and as I was walking towards the entrance some man looked me up and down and yelled "Girl, where da rest of your clothes?" in my ear. I don't think there's anything revealing about my outfit and I've worn it numerous occasions. (I'll post a photo of it later for proof.) I told him "Fool, please!" but that was not enough to get rid of the annoyance and invasion I felt.

When I arrived in Georgetown for work, there were Georgetown BID street cleaners hosing the street. I needed to walk past them and the one guy stopped his friend so I could get through without being hosed. That was nice, but then he had to go and ruin it:

"There you go, l'il mama," he said. Ugh.
"Excuse me," I said. "My name is not 'l'il mama.'"
"Oh, I'm sorry, ma'am," he said. Sorry, ma'am." Now he was acting like a petulant kid. Then he had to smirk at me.
"Do you see me smiling?" I said. "It's not funny."

The light changed and I could finally cross the street. His friend with the hose said something, but I couldn't hear it with the hose running, nor did I care to. I'm offended because it's just another intraracial "black man with no regard for black women" situation. I highly doubt he'd call a white woman or an older woman "l'il mama." It's tacky, disrespectful, and just flat-out rude and condescending. I know what he looks like, but that's not enough to call the Georgetown BID and file a report. If only I got his name or badge number (if he has one). ETA: I just called the BID anyway. I had the approximate time and the location, and that was enough.

It's hard to concentrate at work because I can't get this mess out of my head. These men just ruin my attitude and my day. Why me? Why do they have to single me out? I'm just trying to go about my day with no problems or trouble, but they have to say something. I don't walk around with a sign that says "Harass me! Condescend me! Devalue me!" I wish they'd learn keep their mouths shut by counting to three if they have nothing of substance to say. Leave me and other women alone. Keep your gratuitous thoughts to yourselves.

1 comment:

Aileen said...

I've been reading your blog off and on for over a year (or maybe it was your other blog first before you created this one.)

I used to be consumed with anger over this issue when I was living in Manhattan in my 20's. I remember feeling disrespected, powerless, and just plain disgusted. As I no longer live in the middle of a very large city, I rarely encounter street harrassment anymore. (That and I think it lessens as we women age.)

I have to admit, I've had thoughts of worry about you personally on more than one occasion. It appears you are consumed with this issue (I hope that's not the case). But it seems like you are filled with rage and frustration and I know you are trying to "gain control" over the issue with this blog and with the movement you've started, but is the price too high to you personally?