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Sexually Objectified or Racially Criminalised #YouToo?

Updated: Oct 8, 2018


A male stranger is showing sexual interest, “Oh God why he’s looking at me, I’ve got to get out of here, who knows what he’s up to.”


You see a cop, “Oh Jesus, what am I doing wrong, stay composed, stay composed.”


Sound familiar? You’re not alone. My partner and I think these thoughts a lot.


If you’re a woman or a black man these thoughts might sound very familiar. I know because that’s what I think when I see a cop and that’s what my partner thinks when she spots a guy — who’s displaying sexual interest — is staring at her. We instinctively know that somethings off, somethings wrong even when there’s apparently no evidence.


Why is that? Well, I think it’s to do with the widespread prevalence of police brutality and sexual assault and harassment being reported in the news causing moral panics.


Don’t get us wrong, before all this reportage, as a black man driving through town and a young woman at work we still got cold feelings of fear in our stomachs when we saw cops and creeps.


Yet, the high publicised current climate surrounding police officers and cops and sexual predators and women in the workplace has led us to a heightened state of hyper insecurity!


Of course, not all cops are racist, and not all men are creeps. Just most of them and I can say that as a man.


I can speak of this fear from the first-hand experience when I was blatantly profiled on two occasions, which to be honest made my police-anxiety worse. One time, I was just walking down a residential street. Looked at a cop car drive by and saw the cop looking at me. 30 seconds later he’d done a U-turn and was pulling over in beside me. Claiming I fit the profile of a suspect.


Clearly, I’d done nothing wrong (I was walking back from a therapy appointment) nor did I have any reason to act suspiciously.


The other time I got stopped and this time searched was by armed Transport Police at St Pancras International after sitting in Chop’d, a restaurant, taking notes on marketing techniques and coaching techniques. I’d eaten and paid for my bill. The two officers stood outside the restaurant, hands on their semi-automatic rifles, glancing at me every now and then. Eventually, it dawned on me that they were watching me, I had an inner sh!t, paid the bill and left. I got questioned by them, and they took a look at my notes, called it in and did a background check then let me go.


Would I have stopped if I’d been white? Less likely as research in 2015 revealed parts of the country where black people were 12 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people.¹


The deeper reality here is men of colour are more likely to be stopped and searched and shot in London, and sometimes they’re shot by police. According to a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, ‘You are more than twice as likely to be murdered if you are Black in England and Wales.


Police have also historically misused ‘sus laws’ against minorities, a term taken from a section in the 1824 Vagrancy Act. The section in question gave the police the power to stop, search and arrest anyone they suspected might commit a crime. ‘Sus’ taken from the wording of the Act that described a suspected person. They were scrapped in 1981 and ‘stop and search’ was introduced, barely different it meant the police now had to have reasonable belief that an offence had already been committed before stopping and searching a suspect.


In both situations, I apparently looked like someone who had committed a crime of not looking respectable.


Today I wanna hear from you. All my female and black male readers. How do feel about the cops? What’s your vibe around flirty men? And everyone else, do you think these experiences something you expect? Of is just in our heads?


Here’s another self-esteem builder (the same as last time but with a feminine twist), that I say aloud, which might help keep you lifted during your day:

I am worthy: the colour of my skin/my femininity is not definitive of where I belong in this world I won’t allow anyone to disregard or take advantage of my presence, or silence your voice.


¹ ‘Black people, still far more likely to be stopped by the police than other ethnic groups.’ Independent. 6th August 2015. According to a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, ‘You are more than twice as likely to be murdered if you are Black in England and Wales.


Police have also historically misused 'sus laws' against minorities, a term taken from a section in the 1824 Vagrancy Act. The section in question gave the police the power to stop, search and arrest anyone they suspected might commit a crime. 'Sus' taken from wording of the Act that described a suspected person. They were scrapped in 1981 and 'stop and search' was introduce, barely different it meant the police now had to have reasonable belief that an offence had already been committed before stopping and searching a suspect.


In both situations, I obviously looked like someone who had committed a crime of not looking respectable.

Today I wanna hear from you. All my female and black male readers. How do feel about the cops? What's your vibe around flirty men? And everyone else, do you think these experiences something you expect? Of is just in our heads?

Here's another self-esteem builder (the same as last time but with a feminine twist), that I say aloud, which might help keep you lifted during your day:


I am worthy: the colour of my skin/my femininity is not definitive of where I belong in this world so I won't allow anyone to disregard or take advantage of my presence, or silence your voice.


¹ 'Black people, still far more likely to be stopped by the police than other ethnic groups.' Independent. 6th August 2015.

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