Feminists complain about street harassment all the time. I’ve never actually seen someone harass a woman on the street, I’ve never done it, and none of my friends have done it. So, I’ve always been a bit skeptical, because if something is so common, why haven’t I ever even seen it occur before. A few women have told me a story or two of a random crazy person on the bus doing something harassing (ie. one man on a bus just sat himself in the lap of a girl I dated), so I knew harassment did occur, but were usually isolated events done by crazy people. I never believed it happened as omnipresently as feminists claim.
Slate has tried to prove that harassment exists omnipresently by a woman filming herself walking for 10 hours. Here’s a two-minute highlight video of the harassment. Watch it.
First, that’s 2 minutes from 10 hours, so unless a lot of harassment was cut out, that’s not as much as feminists complain about. The video claims 100+ incidents, so that’s about one incident per every six minutes, that’s more, but still not much.
Second, if we assume the video included the worst of the harassment, a safe assumption give the point of the video, the “harassment” seem rather insignificant. this “harassment” included people doing nothing but saying “Have a nice evening”, “God bless”, and “how are you this morning?”. So in other words, to acknowledge a woman’s existence is harassment. What did the 80 incidences not bad enough to appear in the video include, people saying ‘hello’?
If this is the best evidence of harassment feminists can dredge up, I still do not buy the feminist argument. In fact, this video is a strike against it.
The more interesting part of this video though is race. I counted the incidences in the video, and by my count there were 21 harassers (two incidences had two perpetrators). Of those, 10 of the harassers looked black, 5 looked white, 2 looked Hispanic, and in 4 incidences I could not identify the race (although, two sounded stereotypically black to me).
So, of the incidences where the race was known, black committed 10 of the 17 of the cases of harassment, about 60%. Also, the the most egregious harassments (she was followed twice and some yelled passed a first comment) were by blacks.
From this, it seems the major problem is not harassment from men in general, but harassment from urban black men in particular. This would explain why I’ve never witnessed it; there are very few urban blacks where I live. That the harassers are largely black is reinforced by the stereotypical ebonics name of the campaign the video is in support of, “Hollaback!”.
Also of interest is that only a couple harassers looked even remotely middle-class, the rest looked either working-class or welfare-class.
The target audience of Slate is middle-class white liberals with humanities degrees. These are not the type of people harassing the woman in the video. There is no point lecturing Slate readers on stopping harassment because Slate readers are not the ones harassing.
So, there seems to be no point to this article. Slate readers aren’t the ones doing the harassing and it’s not likely lower-class blacks will care about the moral protestations of middle-class white feminists.
The only reason I can think of to write this is to encourage white males to forcibly stop black men from harassing them. something which reminds me of the days when looking wrongly at a white woman was a lynching offence. It seems to me that Amanda Hess and Slate just inadvertently argued for society to resume lynching uppity blacks, or at least segregation to keep them off the streets white women might use. I think everybody involved needs to check their privilege.
Anyway, if you wish to donate to a campaign to stop uppity blacks from talking to white women, you can donate to Hollaback here.