The video showing Shoshana Roberts, a young Jewish woman, walking the streets of NYC in broad daylight and being pestered by mostly Black and Latino men has so far been viewed by up to 30 million people. Those impressive numbers also revealed the general consensus, which the distributors were not expecting.
It is clear that what was documented was supposed to purposely perpetuate the notion that white women are always at risk of being aggressively harassed by men of color, so therefore they need to be extra careful and measures have to be taken to protect them.
But women of color supposedly don’t have these issues – we are never seen as victims or worth saving. The other component of the video is how white men are mysteriously missing from the lineup of guys giving this poor woman grief. How is it that she walks the streets of The Big Apple and not one single white guy dares to approach her?
The answer lies in the magic of editing. Rob Bliss, the producer of the video admitted on Reddit that they did in fact capture white guys while filming but apparently they were more civil in their method of catcalling and somehow got excluded from the pack of wolves that were ready to devour their subject.
Jezebel recently produced another video in response to the Hollaback version and this time women of color were given the opportunity to express their thoughts and concerns. The overwhelming sentiment was that every woman regardless of race is subjected to some form of catcalling – but whether or not it can be classified as “harassment” is based solely on personal experiences.
Another point that all the women raised was how misleading it is to see only Black and Latino men depicted as vultures while white men are conveniently missing, especially since as one woman notes white guys are usually the culprits when it comes to her experience.
Jezebel’s well-choreographed version of the Hollaback video does a good job of presenting the other side of things and giving black and brown women the forum they deserve to express their personal testimonies. The video is also drawing some criticism from some viewers who feel that even though it was well-intentioned, it seems to be trying too hard to find ways to give white males the same treatment their counterparts suffered.
That might be true, but it also successfully allowed women of color to voice their unprejudiced opinion about the dangers of harassment and how color coding it leads to stereotypical assessments that are more damaging than progressive.