Machismo

There is a problem in the Hispanic Male community. I don’t want this to sound racist, and I apologize if it does. I moved recently from Lincoln Square (North side of Chicago) to Albany Park (2 miles west) and am now in a neighborhood that is a large percentage Hispanic. I want to point out that most of the people are very friendly and I like them. However, since it has gotten warm outside, I have been catcalled, harassed, and followed by men in cars at least once a week.

This has never happened to me before in my life and I am 32 years old and have lived on the North Side of Chicago for over 10 years. The men are always Latino. There is no other explanation other than culture for why this has started happening all of the sudden to me.

To those in the Hispanic/Latino community who care about this issue – PLEASE, teach your boys that it is NOT ok to harass women like they’re meat on the street? There is something wrong with a culture that teaches men that is acceptable.

-Laura

Location: Albany Park, Chicago, Illinois

(Submit your stories here)

[Editor’s note: While I have a policy against racism, I chose to post her submission as she sent it  because I did not feel her experiences or opinions were voiced in a malicious or hateful way. Race does play a role in much of gender-based public harassment, especially in the U.S. where race means many things to different people, and so I think it’s important to have dialogue on the issue if it’s done with the purpose of learning and addressing the problem and not being racist. Please see my related post on “piropos” for more about street harassment in Hispanic culture.

But I will note, men of all races harass women of all races and really, American culture teaches men this is acceptable just as much as any other. Just read comments from American men and some women when mainstream news or blogs cover catcalling or more benign forms of street harassment. Inevitably some of the commenters declare the behavior is flattering and men’s right and women ask for it by the way they dress and women overreact and blah blah blah.]

3 Responses to Machismo

  1. Laura says:

    Thank you for posting this – I was very, very angry at the time I wrote it – having just returned home after an incident. I realize after re-reading it that it could be misinterpreted.

    I do want to point out that absolutely, you’re right that this does happen to all kinds of women by all kinds of men and that I do not harbor any hateful feelings to Hispanic men in general. In fact the majority of people in my new neighborhood are very friendly – so I don’t want this to sound as if I’m generalizing to all Hispanic men. But to not say it like it is – that all of my experiences have all involved Hispanic men and that nothing like this has ever happened to me with this degree of intensity ever in my life – would be to mis-represent my experience.

  2. Sure, thanks for sharing your story and experiences, Laura!

    Addressing race is tricky but I think completely ignoring race can be unproductive, especially in our race-complex society. What I don’t want to do is seem to support people who call behavior by one race flirting or acceptable and the same behavior by another race harassment. There’s no indication that’s what you did and so I posted your story. But whenever there is a post that could be interpreted as being skewed against a race, I feel I must make a caveat and say how there are men in every race who harass. I did the same thing a few weeks ago for a post about same-race harassment among african americans.

    Feel free to submit more stories if you want! Sharing our stories and views helps raise awareness of the problem and can help us figure out ways to combat it.

  3. Sam says:

    Ignoring the facts simply not to sound racist is stupid. If she is always being harrassed by hispanic people then that is what you should post. It isn’t racist. It’s the truth. To go overboard on being politically correct is to ignore the truth for the sake of not hurting someone’s feelings. Don’t embrace ignorance as a means of escaping ignorance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: