I read this blog regularly and I often notice posts in which a black woman has experienced harassment by black males and that there is a power dynamic of some sort at work there which they can see very clearly. After walking home today, I wondered what white women’s experiences are of this and if/how/why they differ: I have a 5-minute walk home in London from my tube station, through generally quiet suburban streets. It’s very much a multicultural area but I find myself experiencing a disproportionate amount of harassment from young black men.
Today, walking home, I see a guy walking towards me on the same side of the street and I can tell, even before I get near him, that he’s going to say/do something. Right on cue, he moves right over to my side of the pavement [sidewalk], taking up all the space so I can’t get past. I’ve had a good day until this point and am so annoyed I shove into his arm with my bag to get past. He doesn’t do anything, just keep walking, not even that shocked – maybe it happens all the time. Then, turn onto the next street and there’s another guy walking towards me, giving me that same attitude with eyes up and down my body, leering, swaggering. I don’t need this on my 5 minute walk home.
Both these guys were black and I would guess in their late 20s to early 30s, and both had the same attitude towards me which I’ve encountered countless times in London. I don’t know – I’m willing to accept the suggestion that it’s a coincidence. Maybe I ‘project’ something that makes me a likelier target for harassment? And maybe this is exactly what they do to anyone, regardless of race, and it feels ‘racially-oriented’ whether you’re black/white etc. It just feels – call it feminine intuition or whatever you will – that this is a specific, somehow different, attitude to me as a white woman.
I don’t like saying that. It feels like I can’t say that I experience this because it’s me being ‘discriminatory’ in some way. It really feels like this is a taboo subject but it seems to happen so often to me that I am, in some awful way, starting to distrust young black men generally, which is horrible. Has anyone else felt this? Maybe it’s just an attitude that comes from a small group of young guys, influenced by whatever, who are more visible in their harassment because it is so aggressive? I don’t know – I just feel frustrated that I’m not enjoying living where I live because of these incidents….
Location: North London