In Harlem, Sexual Harassment Sometimes Just a Silly Misunderstanding

The New York Times‘ Timothy Williams tackled a timely subject over the weekend: the continued emigration of whites into Harlem. It comes during a time of record rents in Manhattan; the final push by Columbia and the state to expand the Ivy League school in West Harlem; and a major rezoning of East 125th Street.

The article covers the debate not just among blacks and whites, but among newcomer African-Americans and old-timers who still call the neighborhood the “Village of Harlem.” It also chronicles the simple assimilation feats of recent townhouse and condo buyers.

And, toward the end of the article, we learn that sexual harassment on the streets of Harlem may, in fact, be all in the heads of the women it’s directed toward.

… Amelia Cason, a 25-year-old teacher, lived in Harlem for about three years until she switched jobs a few months ago and moved to the Upper West Side.

Ms. Cason said that while she enjoyed much about Harlem, she was made uncomfortable by a barrage of sexual comments when she wore a skirt and heels. She took to wearing coats, even in summer.

“It was impossible for me to walk two blocks without someone saying something,” she said.

Ms. Cason said that now she wonders whether she may have overreacted at times.

“It’s hard to divide what is nervousness about being white in the neighborhood from standard sexual harassment,” she said. “It’s entirely possible that if a well-dressed white guy on the Upper West Side said something, I would take it in an entirely different way than I would with a black guy in Harlem, so it could be my perception.” …

Interesting theory.

In Harlem, Sexual Harassment Sometimes Just a Silly Misunderstanding