I'm a black woman with a white husband. People assume I'm a prostitute all the time. Here are some responses: I worked on K St. AmandaMichelle September 14, The online conversation about women of color being profiled as sex workers made me think about my own stories.
A man approached me, asking if he could buy me a drink. I was speechless, angry and embarrassed. I hastily walked away while flashing the ring on my left hand, hoping to indicate that I was married. To this day, I wonder if he thought I was laying out my price. I relived the incident in my head over and over again, almost excusing his behavior.
Here I was, a tall, dark-skinned, thin, twenty-something woman on the arm of a white man in his mid-thirties. How mismatched and odd, I thought, we may have looked to some. Our relationship now spans a decade. Just last month, at another event, several male acquaintances propositioned me.
I am not alone. This has happened to dozens of my friends and colleagues. While there is not research specifically on black women being solicited for sex, a national study on street harassment conducted by GfK, a top research agency, found that more African American respondents experienced street harassment than other racial groups — for example, 48 percent experienced verbal harassment, compared with 45 percent of Hispanic respondents and 36 percent of white respondents.
For centuries people have stereotyped women of color as overly sexual, promiscuous and sexually available, as well as in need of policing. But this is about more than just being seen as sex objects.
But the fact of the matter is, it happens everywhere. Howard County blogger Candace Y. Montague recently wrote about African American women failing to be included in conversations about profiling and race in our own community. We need to have our voices heard. With that national attention centered on Ferguson, Mo. Holly Kearl, founder of Stop Street Harassment, contributed to this article.