An examination of catcalling or street harassment at Scott H. Greenfield’s indispensible criminal defense blog:
The New York Times Room for Debate series has, of late, ranged from the irrelevant to the presumptive, which is unfortunate given the size of its soapbox and its ability to offer meaningful insight into issues confronting society….
Today’s Room for Debate. . . is one of both great interest and concern to those of use who address the intersection of criminal law, First Amendment law and, dare I say it, feminist concerns. The question posed: Do We Need a Law Against Catcalling?
The issue arose following the release of a donation-solicitation video that’s been embraced by many women as demonstrating the pervasiveness of “street harassment.”
The comments range from sexual to “hello,” “smile” and “god bless.” Notably, it appears that almost every male in the video is of color, and the neighborhoods are predominantly ethnic, reflecting a disturbing racial and cultural bias. Whether an undesired “hello” is harassment is never discussed. This, as is presumed by all involved, including the New York Times, constitutes the new “crime” of “street harassment.”