Saturday, September 27

Tolerated Violence



It doesn't matter who we are or even what we look like, we get harassed on the regular. Like one interviewee said, "It's like breakfast." Verbal or nonverbal, from one man or from a group of men, on Franklin or 5th Ave, don't matter if he calls me "shorty" "ma" or even "queen"... harassment is what I must consider/prepare for/shield myself against whenever I descend from the stoop onto the sidewalk. Why am I scoping out the corners from my apartment window? I cross the street how many times just on a quick errand? And why do I get it from fucking police officers?
Ladies, how many times has your arm been grabbed by a complete stranger who refuses to let go until you give him your name, your number? The first time it happened to me I was 15 and almost certain it would be the last time. But I've since lost count of how many times I've experienced that. And I always tell myself if it happens again, I'm going buckwild, screaming, kicking, spitting, leaving the offender silenced, terrified, unable to ever forget how I feel about his words. But it does happen again. And all I can think about is a fist to my face, a razor to my neck, a gun... even when I roll my eyes, suck my teeth, screw up my face, I feel like I'm taking a risk.
I keep my focus, pretend like I didn't even hear them in the first place.
I keep my focus, pretend like I didn't even hear them in the first place.
I keep my focus and pretend.

1 comment:

irondrum said...

unfortunately and fatalistically, there is a cruel silence amongst black men about the things you've touched upon....I am as astonished when I bear witness to such rapine behavior....no excuses.