By Guest Contributor Renina Jarmon (M.Dot) cross-posted from New Model Minority
Last Saturday on the way home on the metro platform I was tired.
I had been dancing. Bier was consumed. I spent the afternoon reading, and the evening posted up with my friend All Spirit and then the night dancing.
All Spirit bounced early, and he was my ride so I darted home on the metro. Looking back I should have asked another homie for a ride home.
I am walking on the metro platform and these two young Black men, are eyeing, me, saying something and if you know me you know I always trust my intuition. Full stop.
My intuition told me that I wasn’t safe and that I needed to act.
So rather than go back and for with these cats because it is late, and I still needed to get home, and the platform was relatively empty, I say to him “Aye blood, I’m from East Oakland California, either kill me or leave me alone.”
Even as I type it, I still can’t believe that it came out my mouth.
One of the dudes was like she from Oakland. She from Oakland and kinda let me be.
The other one took it personal as a threat. He left me alone, but there were was definitely a threat of violence in his body language and his words.
Whatever my fate was that night, I was ready.
I am so sick and tired of being treated like shit because of what is between my legs.
I felt uncomfortable the next day about what I had done, so I called my brother.
I mean, I understand full and well that things could have escalated. However over the last 3 months I have had these public interactions with Black men challenging, with the explicit threat of violence, my right to be in public.
So I called my brother to help me get some context. He told me that you never know what you are going to need to do to stay alive in a situation. Sometimes it is being silent, sometimes it is setting someone straight from the gate. After he said this, and related a similar experience that he had around standing up for himself when someone threatened him, I felt better. Still uneasy but better.
This street harassment+gendered violence experience also has me thinking about Charlie Sheen.
One of the reasons why I take all of these Charlie Sheen tweets so serious is because he beat his ex wife, and because he is imploding right in front of us.
The whole time I have been trying to think about how to write this post I have been watching the discourse around Charlie Sheen.
Men, Black men and White men can joke and shit about how Charlie and what not is funny, but as a Black woman, trying to get from point A to point B, who demands to be treated like a human being, violence or the threat of violence is a real part of my day to day existence.
Nothing Charlie says is funny because that man speaking to me that way on the train platform was not funny.
It really is out of pocket that I have to damn near be ready to die just to assert my humanity after dancing to Prince all night long.
Street harassment as a public health issue?
Can you believe I said it?
Is it time for me to leave the city?