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What do black women think about the catcalling video?

If you’ll recall, there was the extremely popular catcalling video that showed a woman walking around New York City being solicited by countless men.  Most of these men were black and brown, and that wasn’t because white guys weren’t around.  Instead, it was because the producers of the video edited them out.

There are also critics who charge that some of the men in the video were relatively harmless and were even hurt or offended by the woman’s lack of response. She didn’t acknowledge them or even say hello, she just kept going.  So, some people might wonder if a man saying hello on the street makes him a sexual predator.

The third thing missing was the sneaky way that white men go about chasing women down and harassing them.  It may not be a catcall on the street, because most white men aren’t out in the streets. Most white guys have easy access to jobs.  So, what about the white boss who harasses the black woman at the office or sends the text message to the secretary when his wife isn’t looking?  Men are going to be men, no matter what race they happen to be.

Here’s a bit about what women of color think about the video.  In fact, Collier Meyerson for Jezebel does a response video.  Maybe all of this is worth a bit of discussion.  It also speaks to whether or not we are pathologizing cultural norms of black and brown men and the way they let women know they are interested in dating them.  Does a black man have to behave like a white guy in order to be acceptable?  That’s another question that needs to be asked.

In her follow-up video, Meyerson makes her aim clear — “The point here isn’t to devalue or minimize the experience of women who strongly identified with this video… it’s to open the conversation.”

In the piece, women explain their issues with the original catcalling video, and share the narratives they wish had been included.

“When I watched the [original catcalling]video I felt so uncomfortable, because it was such a specific dynamic,” says Jenna, a participant in Meyerson’s video. “It reinforces so many specific stereotypes about men — and black men in particular. And I feel like that’s kind of missing from the discussions.”

Participants voiced their frustration that white men had apparently been edited out of the original catcalling video (a move Hollaback later apologized for), explaining that the edited video stereotypes men of color and suggests that harassment by white males is rare.

“This is a video that’s being shown broadly, and it gives the impression that the only predators in New York are men of color,” a participant named Thanu said. “And that is false.

 

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