Credit: Screenshot

Credit: Screenshot

By now we have learned that the street harassment video showing a woman being catcalled over 100 times edited out white men who did in fact say inappropriate things to this woman. Some lame excuse was given, but the fact remains that the video was skewed as if to show only Black and Latino men as harassers. This is problematic for so many reasons. The main one being that it makes street harassment seem to be solely a minority and class problem – when we know that’s not true.

Just now on Twitter, author Joyce Carol Oates had this to say about street harassment:

Ummmm…no and no Joyce Carol Oates.

Needless to say Oates’s mention are in shambles right now. Utter shambles! Women of all ages and races are telling Oates about herself and detailing the street harassment they experienced in these “affluent” neighborhoods.

What wealthy white men aren’t rude and inappropriate? They don’t have issues  with thinking they’re entitled to a woman’s hello and her body? Try again.

This kind of thinking is obviously not limited to Joyce Carol Oates, she just was foolish enough to tweet about it. Her tweets and thinking just reinforce the narrative that’s continually looped in America’s psyche – that Black and Latino men are “bad”, “dangerous,” and always the primary suspect.

Which brings us back to the video, of this poor white woman being offended and harassed only by men of color. It has shades of Antebellum South, protect the virginal white woman from these big, black bucks elements to it. This video seems to shout, this woman needs to be saved and protected from them.

When the truth is women of all races, all classes, all walks of life get harassed by men of all races, all classes, all walks of life. All of our stories matter. We all need protection. We all need to feel safe and secure enough to walk freely down the street, no matter the neighborhood, without feeling harassed or uncomfortable. It’s our right. Right?

Diana Veiga is a Spelman woman, a DC resident, and a freelance writer. Of course, she’s also on Twitter.

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  • This has been coming up more and more and it seems like the sister are not going to let it go although it’s not as wide spread as they are making it out to be in other words women are making a mountain out of a mold hill a lot to do about nothing, however to put this one to rest why don’t they pass a bill making it against the law for any black or Hispanic males regardless of age to speak to any female regardless of age in public and put this issue to rest. Then what’s the next problem with males?

    • Ada Niemand

      “Then what’s the next problem with males?”

      I can’t speak about other men but your problem appears to be run on sentences (did none of your teachers tell you not to do this?) malapropisms (but they did make me laugh, so thanks for that)

      That said, why should the sisters let it go? Many of us (myself included) have been getting harassed like this since we were young girls (it started when I was 10). Ten years old. It gets a little old and very irritating after a while.

    • “Ada” what a beautiful name my favorite grandmother was name Ada and she kept all of her grandchildren while our parents worked and she loved every one of us and we still honor her to this day and if I had any daughters the first one would be name Ada, now thank you for correcting me for I was too hardheaded and didn’t pay attention to my English teacher to learn how to write and speak the kings English as well as you I admit “my bad”.

    • Kai19XX

      What do you know, you’re not a woman!

    • The universal god didn’t make me a female and I make no apology
      for being a man and is completely comfortable in my own skin and never wanted to be a women although it is in my nature to love, adore, respect and admire black women.

    • Kai19XX

      The f**k are you talking about?

    • KamJos

      Next time some cop is harassing a Black male I’ll just tell him he’s making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    • Beautifulmind727

      Or better yet, tell him that he should not have left the house in anything less than a suit and tie because he was looking for the attention, and now that he has it he should not complain.

    • CCM

      And that Trayvon was “asking for it” by wearing a hoodie.

    • see you want a gender war instead of seeking understanding you want to fight

    • KamJos

      Gender war is already here and I surely didn’t start it. But I don’t know how much more Black women can say “This bothers us” and Black men not understand. My patience for them is as thin as for White people who claim there is no police harassment.

    • Believe me I am with you I agree any form of harassment is offensive but as a male I/we good men don’t know what y’all consider to be harassment now days so let’s use this as a teachable moment you are the teacher bare in mind I am from the south where we speak to almost every one unless we don’t like them, is saying hello how are you doing harassment? Is saying good morning harassment? Is saying to the bank teller her new hairdo looks good harassment? [matter of fact I have had sister say to me “nice cut” referring to my fresh hair cut after just leaving the barber and I say thank you and smile she smile and I keep it moving to me it was simply a nice compliment not harassment], is asking a women can I help you with that heavy box harassment? is stopping what I am doing and looking at a women harassment? etc. you get the picture help us understand what y’all consider harassment because at the end of the day if we the black man and black women is ever going to pull our people out of this hole we must have “understanding” and respect each other and stop look to be offended, stop sniping at each other for the least transgression [when one mean no harm]. Help us.

    • KamJos

      That’s great. It would have been best if you said that we were not making a “mountain out of a mole hill” and take our comments seriously. Do you say good morning and hello to random men? I’ve lived in places and cultures where it was customary to greet strangers, regardless of gender. That’s true politeness. This is not the case in NYC.

      A random comment by a male on the street is stressful for me because I do not know if the man is friend or foe. We do not know if it was done with a harmful or malicious intent. Because in some of these cases a “Good morning.” can turn into a “F*** you!” if we don’t respond a certain way. I do not know if a man is just going to accept my good morning and keep it moving or if he is going to get belligerent and abusive because I turn down his advances. It would be nice if I knew that when I pass a group of men on the street, that the encounter is going to be polite and pleasant instead of wondering if this group is going to call me a name, oggle me, or throw something at me (all of which have happened to me). This is not looking to be offended, this is a real FEAR, and it is stressful to have to deal with that when you go out of the house.

      At the heart of this problem is the fact that by and large Black women live in areas where they are unprotected and where men are the primary perpetrators of violence and other threats against their safety. And no one seems to really care. I grew up in a fairly mild Black neighborhood in the Bronx, with Blacks who were primarily middle-class and homeowners, and I still would not raise a daughter there. I can’t imagine what a Black woman has to deal with in a neighborhood that was worse.

      Look, at the end of the day, I really don’t mind saying good morning/afternoon. I think a healthy community is one in which people do these sorts of things. But until women feel safe in the places they live we’re still going to fear you and it’s going to be annoying/stressful for many of us. Encourage the men in your circle to create a safe atmosphere for women.

    • check it out
      dreamandhustle[dot]com/2014/11/why-we-need-black-media-to-deal-with-the-emergence-of-propaganda-videos-attacking-brothas-and-sistas/#comment-8154

    • We need and should seek UNDERSTANDING “Do you say good morning and hello to random men” now it’s what’s up, how are you doing or a slite nod of head yes I do sometimes that’s a custom a southern tradition where I was raised, y’all got to realize not every black person was born and raised in a big city so my sisters and I may not know your reality I was born and raised in a small city in North Carolina, went to the military live in Indiana, Florida and now reside in the suburbs in Virginia, where I was raised if you didn’t speak to your neighbors or be polite [nod you head when making eye contact with others] they would think something is wrong with you and I don’t think I should have to change my character and values just because someone else was raised different than me, if you don’t like me speaking to you in public or in the morning just don’t acknowledge me then the next time I won’t, that’s all, it’s that simple that’s how it’s done, but I am not going to give you the power to change my character, who I am just because you don’t understand or was raised different or come from a place with different customs that would be unfair to me you know I have rights too. You feel me It sounds might silly to me someone have a problem with someone greeting them in the morning with a “good morning” or in the afternoon with a “good afternoon” or in the evening with a “good evening” or “have a nice day” if the world you sisters live in is so bad that you can’t appreciate a honest greeting from the opposite gender if it’s that bad I don’t want to live in you world and will not live in that world. Peace out but still above all we must have understanding

    • KamJos

      “…if the world you sisters live in is so bad that you can’t appreciate a honest greeting from the opposite gender if it’s that bad I don’t want to live in you world and will not live in that world.”

      You want understanding but this entire thing was a complete failure at understanding where I’m coming from. You managed to make it all about yourself. Great job. Not even acknowledging the problem. No “I’ll try it make it better”, no “Wow that sounds awful to go through that”, no “Wow I had no idea, thanks for letting me know.” Not a shred of sympathy, but you want understanding.

      I don’t even know why I tried. I was done a long time ago.

    • I am sorry as I was typing my reply to you I got piss at the thought and the ideal that someone think I should change my character, value and customs I grew up with just because where they are from it’s “suspect”, most southern and mid west women don’t have this problem with us, again, I am sorry! See it was worth your time, much respect for you and more power to you my sister.

    • CourtneyrrR

      YOU SAID:

      I think a healthy community is one in which people do these sorts of things. But until women feel safe in the places they live we’re still going to fear you and it’s going to be annoying/stressful for many of us. Encourage the men in your circle to create a safe atmosphere for women.

      And their you have it. Until they understand this in their head, get it through their heads that it starts with them on that front, nothing sadly is going to change so, be smart as a woman, treat each person on an individual level, black or otherwise and learn to protect yourselves. Whatever that means to each woman. The excuse of some males saying that they are confused by what women find offensive is hogwash. The problem is, they want to their cake and eat it too. They want the prostitute but at the same time, they want women to respect themselves. Which one is it.?Instead of listening to women, they go about it their own way thinking they know what ALL women want.

      The days of collective thought and my behavior can affect others for good or bad, are sadly gone. We are each individually responsible for ourselves. And if we something that is out of place and we can help in someway,shape or form, call attention to it by doing what is right .

      Love your post.

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      That’s being willfully obtuse and you know it. This could all go away in a minute if the men who do this thought, ‘Maybe it isn’t so urgent to tell a stranger what I think of her breasts.’

    • cquake

      Dude, do you have any issues with punctuation in general, and commas in particular?

      Aside of that, what surprises me no less is the common male blindness about street harassment. This woman did not allow anyone to tell anything to her whatsoever: she made no eye contact, she didn’t answer to no one, her body language was completely neutral regarding any remarks that were made to her – and yet they insisted and insisted, as if they were regarding her of who know what God-given’s privilege.

      Women are not made for fulfilling your desires and wishes, dear male-gendered creatures.

      (And yeah, the excuse that only blacks and latinos are harassers is beyond lame. I’ve been harassed a thousand times, and most of times were by white guys, who might have thought that their manhood was coated in a thick layer of gold.)

    • Dude do you have an issue with telling the truth or did you just learn the untruth and how to lie in particular? “

      Women are not made for fulfilling your desires and wishes” brace yourself hold on to something “THEY ARE” “WOMEN WERE MADE TO FULFILL A MAN DESIRES AND NEEDS” “MEN WAS MADE TO FULFILL WOMEN DESIRES AND NEEDS” are you still with the living. “I’ve been harassed a thousand times” you make me do what I don’t want to do as James Brown said “you are making me get out of myself” usually I don’t but now the truth is no man operating in the nature god created him will ever hit on you in public or harass you and you are just jealous that you don’t get hit on by men unless you are operating outside of the nature god created you. Let stop playing this is a serious issue for some of us we want it to go away.

    • cquake

      I don’t care if I am making you getting out of yourself – whatever it might mean. What I say is that no one is anyone’s toy, no one is anyone’s property.

      If you can understand what I mean, fine.

      Whatever.

    • “no
      one is anyone’s toy, no one is anyone’s property” don’t tell my wife that cause she will set you straight.

    • cquake

      Well.. I’m curious, now. Why would she do that to me?

      Besides – are we sure we’re on the same page, here? :-D

    • cause she will quickly tell you I am his wife meaning she is my property, my toy and I am her husband her property her toy plain and simple and not ashamed. yep I am sure we are on the same page, here.

    • cquake

      (I got what you meant *after* posting my first answer – please, bear with me)

      I get her point, of course I do, since I have a boyfriend :-)

      But that’s not exactly what I meant.

      I talk about this topic on a broader sense. When I say “no one’s property”, I mean that no one – in this case, men – are entitled to impose their presence on women just because they are men, as if they owned us.

      Then, of course, when two people are in a couple, it’s logical that they will do their best to fulfill each other’s desires – I guess we got lost at this point, my friend. :-)

      Hopefully I could clarify this issue.

    • thanks, you did! See we found a way to come to some kind of understanding and it wasn’t that hard was it “my friend”.

  • Mary Burrell

    And the sisters shouldn’t let it go. It’s disgusting and unacceptable behavior. The women should make noise about this.

    • [email protected]

      Preach.

  • [email protected]

    The video shows that not only that street harassment against women is totally evil, but it shows the necessity of society to not let it go. We will not be silent on this issue. Any form of harassment is evil and unjustified. Many women have told stories of harassment and their stories should be respected. The woman (in the video) just wanted to move around in the city. She didn’t want to be bothered and she was disrespected by numerous people in the streets. That is wrong. Street harassment is vulgar, evil, and wicked. Men and Women should respect each other’s dignity, humanity, and autonomy. It is as simple as that.

    • CourtneyrrR

      I remember when Newsone did an article about STREET harassment against black women with a lot of males on their, acting as if this is not a problem.

      Its a huge problem. Its one thing to pay a woman a compliment that is respectful but, something totally different when males don’t know how to act and are being pigheaded.As Mary said below. Black women should definitely NOT let it go. Black women deserve respect just like any other woman walking this earth period.

    • [email protected]

      Exactly.

      Black women just like any other women have the right to demand respect and their rights totally respected without exception.

      This issue is a big deal and it is an important issue, because human beings should treat each other right. Society should always promote just treatment and human dignity among all genders. If a man and a woman have voluntary discussions about issues in a mature fashion, then that is fine. Street harassment is about the violation of the space of a person in an inappropriate, unjust fashion. You’re exactly right Sister on the Newsone article.

    • [email protected]

      Also, I will vote tomorrow. :)

    • CourtneyrrR

      People can choose to exercise their right to or not.It’s up to them but it’s important, given for what it is.

    • [email protected]

      People died for that right. Human beings have every right to vote or not to vote. People have the right to do that. For me personally, voting is not the panacea to solve all of our problems, but it is a right that I choose to exercise. I hope that you’re having a great day Sister.

      Today, I feel more spiritually humble. I feel great and I had a great day today.

    • CourtneyrrR

      Exactly how a person should feel about it when you said,it will not solve all our problems but its a right that I excercise for a reason. Glad your day went well.

    • [email protected]

      Thank You.

      Voting has been a family affair for so many people. Also, I met an old female classmate from high school. She is about my age. We were at work and we just gave greetings and we left. My day was great.

    • CourtneyrrR

      Amazing. Keep in touch with people who are good… Voting is a family affair and the importance of it passed down for no other reason for some than, the stories in that pbs documentary. :)

    • [email protected]

      Goodnight Sister Courtney

      Bless You.

    • CourtneyrrR

      When you get a chance , try to find the documentary online Finding Your Roots , H.L Gates that aired on pbs called We Come From People. This episode goes back to the roots of Angela Basset, Rapper Nas and Valerie Jarrett Obama Senior Advisor.

      Amazing .Its on right now on Pbs.

      Vote.

    • [email protected]

      Thanks for mentioning that information.

      I will look at the Finding Your Roots documentary from PBS. That episode is certainly great. It is valuable for black people to know about their ancestry. H. L. Gates is doing great work in this series. Also, Black in Latin America is in book form too. There has been a higher awareness about the need for us as black people to connect with Africa and our ancestry in general.

      I will vote. :)

      Have a Great and Blessed Day Sister Courtney.

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      I just read that thread: those assholes are brain-damaged.

    • CourtneyrrR

      Sorry I am late but , lmaoo at Brain Damaged. I mean seriously though. What is astonishing is that, so many men claim to want a woman who respects herself, and as soon as she stands up for herself, somehow,

      she is the BIG BAD feminist. Huh? That’s as backwards.

      I didn’t know, standing up for what is GOD given, automatically makes a woman a feminist. The problem is, they are confused about what real strength is. Its foreign to them so therefore, they fear it and feel inadequate of something they should possess but lack themselves. It actually makes it quite easy to spot them and point them out so when they approach with the dumbshii, and get the response, opposite of what they BELIEVE they are ENTITLED to

      automatically by way of those two little things ,dangling between their legs, their ill placed ego’s are hurt and confused. So, they know no other way but lash out at what they cannot control with their obvious and weak as game. They never were taught the art of COMMUNICATING respectfully with the opposite se# called WOMAN. They were NEVER taught that if a WOMAN DECIDES that she is NOT interested, that it shouldn’t be the end of the world like someone STOLE their heart or something. I mean, how BROKEN does a MALE have to be to take it any further than a OK?Say thank you for you time and move on?So as women ,we have to always have it in the back of our minds, what fools we are dealing with out here and avoid accordingly.

      Of course, we are not talking about MEN. MEN know better when seeking the attention of BLACK WOMEN PERIOD. And what these fools don’t understand is,

      It’s not up for negotiation. It’s either respect me or get on somewhere and with those that will allow their disrespectful nature.

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      ‘They were NEVER taught that if a WOMAN DECIDES that she is NOT
      interested, that it shouldn’t be the end of the world like someone STOLE
      their heart or something.’

      I KNOW!!! Do these types of guys think that the only reason women go outside is so they can go around rejecting men wholesale and doing it because they get some kind of high off of it? Do they think that women are never rejected by the men and women they seek romantically? Do they think women are all ice cold by nature and without feeling? Do they think that there’s always malicious intent, isn’t it possible maybe the woman didn’t smile to deliberately hurt, but maybe she just didn’t notice or was distracted, or is in hurry? If I’m exercising or playing the piano, humans don’t exist, but it’s because I’m concentrating, not castrating, for Pete’s sake! Maybe a woman isn’t comfortable engaging with strangers I’m also a very, very, VERY shy person, for example–there are so many reasons as to why women respond as they do, but if you decide why it is without proof, you’re playing a dangerous game.

      As for the respect issue, I think it’s more of a fantasy about respectability than anything. There are a few dudes who seem to envision it as a state in which she’s just intelligent and able enough to cede to her guy’s wishes without people thinking, ‘Well, of course she will, she was deprived of oxygen at birth, she’s incapable of doing anything else. Nice try, Curtis’. Just intelligent enough to agree and behave with a shred of credibility. Just intelligent enough to say ‘yes’, and not quite intelligent enough to say ‘no’. That’s not an attack on women who choose traditional relationship roles, not at all, it’s an attack on the mindset that some guys have. Some believe that men should be able to impose the role of his choice on her for strictly self-serving purposes. It’s no better to try and change a woman than it is to try to change a man, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a base level of decency that men should show women.

    • CourtneyrrR

      YOU SAID:
      Some believe that men should be able to impose the role of his choice on her for strictly self-serving purposes. It’s no better to try and change a woman than it is to try to change a man, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a base level of decency that men should show women.

      And this is what many women are talking about. Thank you ..

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      As we keep trying to communicate, it’s not about hating men. This is not about hating men. It’s about building respect for and from the opposite sex and that goes for both of the sexes. But since men have the overwhelming majority of harassment incidences on their hands, they have to extend one to us and in doing so, realise that the world is no more theirs than it is ours. If you don’t to want to make room, you don’t want to relinquish your power, you don’t want to lead by example, it’s cute because I don’t care. The mess that entitlement breeds isn’t my problem and I can’t/won’t clean it up for you. Only you have the power to keep your damn mouth shut when a woman walks by.

      How many times have you heard some iteration of, ‘Are you being disrespectful towards me?’ come from the mouths of men? Myriad. I don’t think that there’s even a number that goes that high, so guys, please take pause and think that over?

      Both sexes have to work towards the harmonious relationship that we’re lamenting–both of us. But guys have to see that when a woman disagrees with a man, it’s not a capital crime.

  • LS

    I like this video and what it stands for. I certainly wish it had been more inclusive in demonstrating that men of all kinds of races are guilty of street harassment. I do not find it to be an ego boost or a compliment when a man calls out to me, stares me down and tells me I am attractive. It makes me uncomfortable and I wish men (of all races) would not do it. Objectification can take many forms- this video shows one form. Perhaps street harassment is not as degrading or threatening as other forms of sexual harassment. It certainly should not be criminalized. However, leering, catcalling and whistling, touching and grabbing- they are all still belittling, offensive, intimidating and discriminatory actions. The video does a good job of starting conversations: addressing and shifting cultural and social dialogues and attitudes of patriarchy that purport street harassment.