Black wife, mother tells how men repeatedly assume she’s a sex worker when with her white husband

A black woman has told how she is repeatedly mistaken for a prostitute when she is seen on the arm of her white husband.

Maureen Evans Arthurs, from Columbia, Maryland, who has been married to her husband Jamie for more than ten years, writes via the Washington Post that it’s not uncommon for people to get the wrong idea about their relationship simply because of their differing skin colors.

She says the first instance was four years ago at an event in California, where a man asked to buy her a drink while she was on Jamie’s arm. When she declined, he whispered: ‘How much?’

Mrs Arthurs, who has a seven-year-old son named Noah with her husband, said at first she was so taken aback that she didn’t quite comprehend what the man meant.

But when she saw the look in his eye, it hit her. ‘I was speechless, angry and embarrassed,’ she writes, recalling how she hastily walked away without telling Jamie what had happened because it was ‘incredibly humiliating’.

Over the years, she has had countless more similar experiences, including at an event last month where several men propositioned her.

One of them apparently said: ‘You’re on the wrong arm, sweetie, I wish I could go home with you,’ while another offered: ‘We have this whole place to ourselves, it’ll be a shame if we don’t maximize our time here and slip away?’

Mrs Arthurs, who works in higher education, tried to put herself in their shoes to understand why they kept making the wrong assumption.

‘Here I was, a tall, dark-skinned, thin, twenty-something woman on the arm of a white man in his mid-thirties,’ she says. ‘How mismatched and odd, I thought, we may have looked to some.’

In fact, the mother-of-one says nearly all of her female friends in interracial relationships have at some point been assumed to be sex workers.

In September, Ebony editor Jamilah Lemieux took to Twitter to see just how many women have been through the same thing.

She wrote: ‘RT if you are a Black woman (trans or cis) and have been assumed to be a sex worker by a White man.’

As of today, the comment has been retweeted more than 150 times and favorited 58 times, with dozens of Twitter users disclosing their own personal experiences.

‘I was 19, trying to flag a taxi & a [white man] asked me if I was “working”,’ said one woman. ‘I was wearing pink T-shirt, Levi cutoffs, white Keds.’

Another recalled: ‘Happened to me 17 years ago as a newlywed in Chicago when I was with my white husband, CPD stopped us. So humiliating.’

A third person revealed: ‘I was once hideously ostracized at a Hollywood birthday party. Only black woman. They REFUSED to believe I wasn’t a stripper.’

And a white man responded: ‘My wife is from Haiti, together 16 yrs. I’m affectionate in public. Sit by her side in restaurants. And STILL get idiots.’

All this merely proves Mrs Arthurs’ point that something needs to be done to address the issue.

Citing the Ferguson case and its current prominence in the media, she writes: ‘While this important discourse must continue, it must also expand from men’s experiences alone to include the unique ways African American women are targets of racial profiling and harassment.’

Source: The DailyMail

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