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.
Location: Albany Park, Chicago, Illinois
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[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.]