‘Cat-call’ viral video distorts the image of our black men

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VIRAL: An actress gets cat-calls on the streets of New York in a video which went viral

EVERYONE’S TALKING about a video which purports to show a woman walking the streets of New York for ten hours during which time she is ‘harassed’ more than 100 times.

On closer inspection, the video is of a white woman walking the black and Latino neighbourhoods of New York and being ‘cat-called’ by men.

Whilst there is no excuse for this whatsoever let us examine what this video is trying to say. Is it saying that white men don’t harass women?

According to the film makers there were plenty of white men harassing the woman but their harassments were either off-camera or there was a police siren passing just at the same moment that the white men made their comments.

Is that even believable? Or should the filmmakers have gone and taken another ten hour walk around the white neighbourhoods until they got the harassment of white guys without the interference of the emergency services?

Is this video saying that white women cannot walk through black and Latino neighbourhoods without being harassed?

Yes. And that’s a lie and a slur on black men.

One of the black men in this dubious video shouts out “Hey beautiful” at the white woman as she walks steadfastly on, ignoring the comment. And he shouts back “Hey, it was only a compliment….you should say ‘thank you.’”

Of course, it’s harassment. I don’t doubt that it makes women feel uncomfortable. But is it unwitting harassment from the perpetrators point of view?

The bloke who shouted the ‘compliment’ needs a re-education in street etiquette and perhaps the law needs to be tougher.

The Rob Bliss Creative Agency who made the film and the anti-street harassment organisation Hollaback! don’t give a tuppence about the racial reverberation of their video. It will have unforetold consequences for generations to come. That’s why I wouldn’t trust them with anything ever again. They are unfit for purpose as organisations because they don’t see colour when they should see it.

Dotun Adebayo is Britain’s most listened-to black radio talk show host. He presents ‘Up All Night’ on BBC Radio 5 live Thursdays through Sundays on 909/693 MW. ‘The Sunday Night Special’ on BBC 94.9FM and ‘Reggae Time’ on BBC London 94.9FM on Saturday evenings. Tune in if you’re ranking!

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