Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I Wish I Had the Courage to Stare Back

I was watching the Tyra show about racial stereotypes and how it feels to be followed in stores based on how you look. An older woman of color said no one understands what it is like to be followed and under suspicion in an affluent area in a store when you are completely innocent and trying to shop like everyone else. Funny -its exactly how I feel when security leers at me and no one else. Then people stare at me and I think they think I must be a thief. I feel humiliated and don't automatically think they'll see he's attracted to me.

At Barnes and Noble in Evanston my bf and I were sitting downstairs in the cafe. I lifted my head up to stretch for the first time in 2 hours of sitting. A man in a baseball cap was awkwardly perched on the balcony. He had his head cocked awkwardly and was leering at me and only me in that perverted way. It was unclear whether he was undercover security... my bf's view was that he was not.

I looked up 20 minutes later and yes still leering. My bf looked again since I was frozen with fear and yes he was still leering. A cop came over to him at that time and it seemed to stop after that. It is possible the cop was wondering what he was up to.

I'll never know if he was working with the cop, but it brought up a range of emotions. It is the most scary thing when someone in authority finds you sexually attractive. I feared had I reported this individual, I would have been told , and I'm speaking from experience, "oh he's just doing his job and surveying the area."

Even though we had our heads down for 2 hours straight in our Macbooks. Security guards because of their authority have caused me the worst type of pain stemming from harassment and the ensuing resentment and I hated revisiting this last night. The leer not only makes me feel unsafe and scared (he could take it out on me if I react) but what does that say about his ethics and the job he's suppose to be doing? I wish I had the courage to stare back at him. At least I snapped this picture. Again, not clear whether he was with the cop but that's both of them in the picture, and you can see baseball cap is leering - I am not facing him but held my camera phone to the side.

As usual while everyone else gets to study for their finals its yet another time I have to be wrapped up in this and repressed even further.

~Submitted Anonymously