Anti-Racism Policy

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CASS Comment Moderation Policy
All comments posted on CASS are moderated. We strongly encourage comments from everyone, especially those that push us to think outside the box and challenge our thoughts around public sexual harassment and assault. We will not allow racist, sexist, and/or victim blaming comments to appear on this site.

Replacing sexism with racism is not a proper response to street harassment.
Due in part to prevalent stereotypes of men of color as sexual predators or predisposed to violence, Collective Action for Safe Spaces asks that contributors do not discuss the race of harassers or include other racialized commentary.

If you feel that race is important to your story, please make sure its relevance is explained clearly and constructively in your post.
Initiatives combating various forms of sexual harassment and assault have continually struggled against the perpetuation of racist stereotypes, in particular the construction of men of color as sexual predators. There exist widespread fictions regarding who perpetrators are: the myth of racial minorities, particularly Latino and Black men, as prototypical rapists as well as more prone to violence is quite common.  This stems in part from a tragic and violent history, where black men in the U.S. were commonly and unjustly accused of assaulting white women as well as lynched by mobs and “tried” in biased courts.

Because of the complexity of institutional and socially ingrained prejudices, CASS prioritizes resisting direct as well as unconscious and unintentional reinforcement of social hierarchies.  Simultaneously, CASS aims to highlight the interrelations between sexism, racism and other forms of bias and violence.

Further Reading
“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” Peggy McIntosh
“I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.”   This is a short, accessible piece on white privilege and male privilege. The article is a ‘classic’ by anti-racist educators

“A Black Feminist Critique of Same-Race Street Harassment,” Hawley Fogg-Davis
This article focuses on the experiences of black lesbians and the need for black women to hold black men accountable for upholding black patriarchy.

“Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color,” Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw
Crenshaw considers the intersections of racism and patriarchy, and how the experiences of women of color remain unrepresented within the discourses of both feminism and anti-racism.

De-Centering Whiteness is Essential to Thinking About Street Harassment, Aura Bogago

Blinders & the Tyranny of Good Intentions: Street Harassment, Stop & Frisk, and Criminalization, Prison Culture

The Uncomfortable Privilege Of Being Catcalled, Chelsea Fagan

16 thoughts on “Anti-Racism Policy

  1. Pingback: Our Anti-Racism Stance « Holla Back DC!

  2. Call it what it is–CENSORSHIP POLICY, that replaces constitutionally protected rights with trite political correctness. And, as reasoning for this are links to 3 pithy pop-sociology articles, and no opposing views. I’m sure it’s comforting to a rape victim to ponder the “invisible systems” of racism while being assaulted.

  3. Hal, could you please stop flooding this forum with your censorship rants and let this forum be a place for us to share harassment stories and give support on how to deal with street harassment? Take your rants elsewhere, please.

    • You people have to stop getting offended at everything in life. People say mean things sometimes, that is life – deal with it and move on (or ‘forward’ LOL)

  4. While I appreciate your efforts to eliminate racism, I am not sure I completely understand the reasoning behind your policy. If indeed the stereotype of black males as sexual predators is a “myth,” then shouldn’t we encourage harassment posters to identify the race of their attackers in the hopes of dispelling this fallacy?
    Anonymous male

  5. When we talk about gender issues, often the result turns into talking about racism. Although we believe that racism is a topic that needs to be discussed, we don’t believe that it should occur in a vacuum. If we do talk about race, it should be in the context of the incident of gender based public sexual harassment. The question here is about patriarchy and that all races believe in this notion that men need to be head of society, with women constantly being put in check.

    So, there is no myth that we will be dispelling by discussing race. The one truth that we hold on at this blog is that patriarchy is everywhere, in every strata of society, and without disabling patriarchy we can’t stop gender based violence, including gender based public sexual harassment.

  6. Way to go Holla Back DC! Your PC policy inhibits police investigations and also prevents readers on your site from being able to identify a perpetrator who may have committed similar crimes. Is your PC policy going to extend to overweight people? If a three hundred pound man gropes me on the metro, should I not mention that he was overweight for fear of being accused of “lookism”? Or if the guy was 90 years old, should I not mention his age for fear of “ageism”? Come on, start acting like adults!

    • this policy doesn’t inhibit police from doing investigations (assuming MPD, transit police, MD/VA police) are even reading this blog). in cases where there was a crime of assault/battery/stalking and the victim shares pertinent information about the perp, we do include it in the experience as we have noted in this policy.

  7. This isn’t a race thing at all – it’s a class thing. Look at Hollaback UK and you’ll see the same thing in all-white areas of England.

  8. I’m sorry to see people giving you guys flak for this policy, and thank you for sticking to your guns! I really appreciate this blog.

  9. Pingback: Holla. « PostBourgie

  10. i know y’all want props for even having an anti-racism policy but the policy is wrong because the frame is wrong. i know all those unpacking racism articles very well; i’ve been teaching them for 20 years. maybe you should read something new. like the amnesty international report, “stonewalled” that talks about the street harassment lgbt kids get from the cops. or better yet, andrea ritchie’s new book, _queer (in)justice_ which details the ways that police, prisons and courts treat people of color who are queer/trans or otherwise non-HRC members. if you can find it, get the different avenues report “move along” about the power of dc cops to declare any area, without notice, a no prostitution zone, so they can arrest any person on the street who happens to be out that night.

    i know a lot of white feminists have a problem with men, and that messes up (y)our understanding of “race.” there’s also that hetero female-lesbian thing that constructs “men” as the problem. but try being on the street when most everyone else is home, because they can afford to have homes. people who are on the street are harassed by the cops. it’s the cops who are killing them. it’s not the hate crimes, and it’s not harassment from other civilians. it’s the routine abuse from cops who enforce the already biased laws to arrest and punish people who don’t belong.

    maybe instead of worrying about your own privileged lives, you should go “undercover” on that side, and get rousted and arrested for looking too female in a male body, or too black in a white neighborhood, or because you’re trying to get some money because your minimum wage job doesn’t pay enough and dc rents are too high.

  11. I agree with Anonymous Male’s post. To tease that argument out further, shaming people into masking the race of the perpetrator (especially when that perpetrator is black) only serves to inhibit your argument. “Methinks she doth protest too much.” If it is such a fallacy, why should we be told not to discuss the race of the perpetrator?

    It couldn’t possibly be because the result will show overwhelming proportions of black-on-white sexual violence, could it? Why are we not allowed to understand and discuss that basic fact of life and therefore learn about it in order to better protect ourselves from sexual violence? Does the concern for the collective black ego really trump concern for women’s physical safety? I guess you have made that call.

    You give racism a reason to exist.

  12. This is a joke, right? And those three nonsensical articles about guilt and self-hate are suppose to invalidate legitimate crime data?

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