“Once again I was being singled out for being of the same race”

Why is it that when I have a period when I don’t get harassed and don’t think about street harassment that it happens again?

I was walking home from work on the Key Bridge this evening, and was in my own zone, and I hear a voice yell “‘Scuse me…’scuse me!” and out of the corner of my eye I see it’s coming from a red SUV sitting in Key Bridge traffic that was at a standstill. Though I couldn’t see this guy’s face, I could tell by his voice he was a “brotha” and that once again I was being singled out for happening to be of the same race.

We were heading in opposite directions (I was walking towards Virginia and he was driving into DC) and I knew with my street harassment sixth sense he didn’t have anything important to say. I ignored him.

Then he starts asking, “Girl, are you cold? You cold, girl?” I continue towards my destination and continue to tune him out. I didn’t turn my head to look at him, and though I wasn’t afraid to confront him, I was not in the mood to say shit to him. I was tired, worn out and wanted to get home. I just kept walking. His response to my ignoring him was to laugh. What the hell did he think I was going to do, climb over the partition that separates the pedestrians from the drivers and talk to him?! Give me a break!

As I said, I was singled out by this guy because we’re both black. There were plenty of other people walking one way or another on that bridge. He said nothing to the two white women I’d passed in front of, one lugging rolling luggage and another cheerfully talking on her phone to her mother about her holiday plans. He didn’t say shit to a middle-aged couple walking in the opposite direction. He didn’t say anything to the men or the numerous cyclists. Nope, just me, all because we are the same race and I was solo and guys like him think single black women are prey. He’s bored while stuck in traffic and used me, a solo black woman, for a quick laugh.

From my many dealings with same-race harassment (some posted here, others not) it’s the same thing. If I say “I don’t know you!” or “Just because we’re the same race doesn’t mean you have permission to talk to me,” I get called “white-worshipper!”, “stuck up,” or told I think I’m “white.” If I tell them to go fuck themselves I get told “you’re ugly anyway.” I could’ve taken his photo like I normally do with harassers, but my phone takes useless photos at night. If I try to calmly educate them on why harassment’s not cool and specifically why they need to let single black women be, they act dense. “Why can’t I holla at a sista?” BECAUSE THIS SISTA DOESN’T WANT TO BE HOLLA’D AT!!!!! All said, I am tired of these men, not interested in standing out in the cold to dispatch yet another harasser, tired of the randomness of it all, and just wanted to get home.

Though this incident was minor compared to others, the reason why I’m so angry is because it’s yet another instance of me being harassed to add to my collection of harassment stories, and I’m sick of it.

– Tired of Being Harassed

Location: Key Bridge, Arlington, VA

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Find suggestions for what YOU can do about this human rights issue.

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