THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

SHORT SHOT - Black Women Walking

Speaking of over-sexualized black men...

I remember once, as I walked down a busy mid-town New York city sidewalk, about 10 feet behind a young black lady, who was soon accosted by a black man, as he put his arms around her, pulling her into his body, as if he knew who she was, and had that kind of intimate relationship with her. At least, from my POV, that's what it looked like.

However, I quickly realized that wasn't quite the case, when the woman immediately shoved the man, pushing him away from her, angrily, as she yelled various obscenities at him, all while he simply laughed.

By now, the mass of people around me, walking in my direction, had reached a red "Don't Walk" traffic light. The young lady and the man who harassed her were also at the light, still several feet ahead of me. It was then that her words became much clearer to me, when I heard her say something like, "who the fuck do you think you are, walking up on me like you know me. If my boyfriend was here he would kick your fucking ass. Fucking asshole!"

And still this poor excuse for a man continued to laugh, responding to her with words like, "oh come on baby... honey... sistah..." etc.

The light changed, and the young lady stormed ahead, while the dude went off in another direction, laughing it all off, obviously not realizing just how incredibly wrong what he did was - or maybe he was aware, but just didn't care... because he's a man, and she's a woman, and he believed that he had the upper hand.

I was dumbfounded at his boldness! I've seen and heard men call out to women as they pass by, sometimes incorporating insults, and other times not so much. But rarely have I seen a man actually put his hands on a woman the way the above idiot did.

Of course, neither scenario is appropriate.

Black Woman Walking, created by artist, Tracey Rose, presents a dialogue among women of color that explores the nuances of street harassment. Through personal stories and analysis, the women interviewed reveal how this accepted, socially tolerable form of violence affects the way they view themselves, the men in their communities, and the potential for violence that lives at the intersection of race and gender. Brooklyn Arts Festival


I appreciate and applaud the effort by the artist in the video below, but I don't necessarily like what feels like an obvious comparison of black men (the bad) and white men (the good). A few times in the film, black female interviewees make distinctions between the two - often implying that the above kind of behavior is common only amongst black men, which is misleading, and I think dangerous to continue to emphasize! I'd say that this is less about race and more about class (a word that always make me cringe whenever I hear/see/speak it). None of the black men I know personally would behave this way. And I've witnessed several instances in which white men are the culprits.

3 comments:

  1. Invisible Woman said...
     

    As a victim of this type of niggaratti shananigan for many years, I say it's about freaking time someone really put something out there about that sh*t. I have even had to cross the street to avoid being harrassed. I'm not 20, so you'd think it would stop, but it doesn't, so I have to put on "mean face" a lot. :-(

    Thanks for posting about this; I can't wait to see it.

  2. The Wendilicious Wonder said...
     

    Sad, sad, sad.

    As someone who has also experienced this from black men (in Nigeria and in the US, but not so much in the UK), I can relate to the girl in the film clip who once resorted to baggy clothes. I became aware that my breasts were disproportionately large for my body mainly thanks to black guys (of varying ages) shouting out to remind me I had them! Geez, guys, like um... thanks..? And it wasn't always limited to verbal assault.

    And um, given this post, maybe you might now be better able to understand why, in a previous post (and note I left no comment on your last movie poster post), black women weren't exactly falling over themselves to support your assertion that black male stars be more sexualised in movies.

    It's not my intention to speak for all black women, but we're generaly well aware of how sexualised black men are in reality (and how black male sexuality seems to have to go hand in hand with sexual aggression towards women - particularly black women), so maybe we appreciate a little escapism in our entertainment.

    :)

  3. SolShine7 said...
     

    Excellent subject! It's so annoying and ignorant when guys yell that crap on the street.

Post a Comment