NIGGER SKET: racialised sexism or sexualised racism?

I was called a ‘NIGGER SKET’. A few Sundays ago, I was out in central London with my housemates trying to figure out how to get from the Natural History Museum to the Science Museum and that was when it happened. We were walking by cars waiting in traffic and as we stopped to consult our trusted guide, Google Maps, one of the cars started beeping at us. We ignored it. Luckily, Google Maps pointed us in the right direction so we continued our journey. As we started walking again, the traffic lights turned green and the same car started beeping at us but this time, it was accompanied by the men catcalling and whistling at us. Annoyed at the fact that they genuinely believed this was acceptable behaviour, I urged them to “shut the fuck up and keep driving”. One of them started bickering with me and as they drove off finally, he shouted out on the quiet streets of Kensington, “fuck you, you nigger sket”. And with that, they finally drove off.

After this interaction, a few things crossed my mind. Firstly, these grown men clearly saw four attractive women and decided to approach us in their own brutish way. But the minute we failed to respond how they wanted, we were faced with verbal abuse. This happens a lot to women: a man approaches you (usually in a disrespectful manner which they believe is appropriate), she rejects him and it becomes “fuck you then, you bitch” and comments of the sort. Is your male ego seriously so fragile that you cannot take rejection lightly? Instead, you choose to make a fool of yourself.

Secondly, the use of the word “sket”. Sket is British slang which holds the same meaning as whore, slut and the likes. My initial understanding of these derogatory terms was that they are used as a weapon against women who like to have sex. This is outright sexism. Look at how many words we have to describe women who enjoy engaging in sexual intercourse in comparison to the words used to describe men. For some reason, we live in a society where men are celebrated for having sex but women are shamed for it. So like I asked in a previous post, who are men having sex with? Now it seems women are called hoes or skets or sluts for just about anything. I was literally called a sket for telling a man, who was harassing my friends and I, to shut the fuck up. These words are used to shame women. If you as a woman embrace your sexual autonomy, you’re a slut. Whether or not you choose to have sex, you’re still a slut. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Thirdly, nigger. It’s no secret that I’m black. I don’t walk around with every inch of my skin covered. When you see me, my colour is the first thing you see (miss me with that colourblind bullshit). That and the fact that I am a woman. So my point here is, I wasn’t a nigger when you were catcalling my friends and I but as soon as the response you received wasn’t what you hoped for, you suddenly remember that I’m black. Not only do you remember it, you use it to attempt to demean me. What I find most interesting about the use of this word was the fact that it was used against me by an Asian man, another minority. Anti-blackness is rife in most, if not all, communities yet non-black people of colour expect black people to support their causes without addressing the anti-blackness that exists in their communities. How about you respect us first?

Time and time again, black women are faced with the dilemma of choosing one identity over the other. We’re asked to decide which one affects us more: racism or sexism. I can’t choose. I don’t get to be just black nor do I get to be just a woman, therefore, the discrimination I, and other black women, face will hardly ever be just about race or gender. I refuse to choose because my experiences with racism are different from that of a black man because I’m a woman. My experiences with sexism are different from that of a white woman because I am black. The racism I experience is sexualised and the sexism I experience is racialised. Discrimination doesn’t happen in a bubble, bigots tend to go all out when discriminating against you so asking me to choose one over the other simply shows that you honestly do not care about experiences that differ from your own. I can’t fuck with that. Be inclusive or be an oppressor. Your choice.

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6 thoughts on “NIGGER SKET: racialised sexism or sexualised racism?

  1. Damn!…all I know is you’re a Queen and those guys are useless entities with no manners, I support you and I’m sharing this

    Like

  2. Well written Miss. Concise, thought provoking and admirable. I’m sorry you and your friends had to experience this. You’re a reflection of the original ‘wombman’, profoundly admired and held in high regard in my circles. Thank you for the perspective.

    K.

    Liked by 1 person

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