Three more Black women have been accused of prostitution after a man offered to buy them some drinks during a night out in New York.
Apparently Black women everywhere need to be on the best behavior unless they want to run the risk of being suspected prostitutes. Even then they might still get hassled by authorities.
Over the weekend, cops from the Los Angeles Police Department handcuffed Danièle Watts and questioned her on suspicion of prostitution after getting frisky with her White husband in public. The incident, although shocking, does not seem to be a fluke among law enforcement.
AlterNet.org reports that a security guard in New York harassed three professionals who went to the Standard Hotel for an evening of cocktails and conversation in a glamorous setting one night late last month the hotel’s rooftop bar Le Bain. Kantaki Washington, Cydney Madlock and J.Lyn Thomas were just the club after a great night when they stopped to catch their breath in the lobby. Seeing an opportunity to talk to the three lovely ladies, several men offered to buy them drinks.
It seemed like a pretty typical girls’ night until a security guard stepped in to shut down one of their admirers.
“After the security guard ushers the brotha away, he comes over to me and my friends and says, ‘Come on, ladies. You can buy a drink but you can’t be soliciting,'” Kantaki recounted to AlterNet. “We were like, soliciting? He said, ‘Don’t act stupid with me, ladies. You know what you’re doing. Stop soliciting in here. We were like, ‘Soliciting what?'”
A moment later it clicked for Kantaki that that he was accusing them of being sex workers simply for garnering so much attention. They also happened to be the only three Black women in the lobby of the swanky hotel at the time.
Kantaki wouldn’t let the accusation stand, so she had to toss out her credentials. “Dude, I’m a lawyer and these women are educators,” she reportedly told the guard. “Why the hell would I be in here soliciting prostitution?” Security was supposedly not fazed by what she said, and he continued to insist that they were prostitutes
When the lawyer and her friends went hotel management about the issue, Kantaki claims that they did not seem to care about the incident. A couple of weeks later, however, a staff member did try to apologize by offering the ladies a free bottle of champagne and dinner for four people, if they ever decided to return to the establishment.
“Again, I want to apologize for what happened to you here that evening,” the staff said in an email to Kantaki. “We are extending this table for 4 as a gesture of goodwill for you and your friends, plus one more person. Please let me know when you would like to come back.”
The women were not pleased by this effort, and Cydney asserted her beliefe that The Standard has to come up with something more substantial.
“We should have some formal apology,” she said. “And the $400 dinner, we all have careers. That’s nothing. We can afford that ourselves. If I want champagne…what is that? I felt like [the security guard] was talking to me like a dog in the street.”
Cydney’s right! A weeks-late apology and a gift certificate are not enough to properly make amends for disrespecting and embarrassing three customers in this way. Meanwhile, this leaves me to wonder what it was about those women (or any other Black women) tbat has made law enforcement so adamant about trying to accuse of prostitution, whether we’re getting affectionate with a partner or just simply enjoying a night out with friends.