Would this law be enforced? Not much. It would be extremely hard to prove, hard to know who was doing the harassing (as it is often quickly and quietly accomplished or yelled from far away preventing identification), and most women aren’t going to report this. But the law—our law—should stand for equality. Would a law be differentially racially enforced? Most certainly. Racial bias in policing is a serious problem that we must remedy. Rather than making this a racism vs. sexism debate, why not try to promote equality in both arenas?
I’d start with drug laws. The speech/power dynamic works out in other areas of the First Amendment jurisprudence as well. When campaign dollars were determined to be “speech” in Citizens United, which invalidated bipartisan campaign-finance laws, the wealthy gained a lot of political power.
While I do passionately expect justice from our law, these First Amendment contradictions are not what drive my zeal to end street harassment. When I began researching street harassment more than 20 years ago, I did not expect to see a vigorous debate about the topic in my lifetime. My lived experience of being viciously, repeatedly harassed and sexualized as a young girl taught me what most Americans know and what The Atlantic article says: Street harassment is a social problem, not just an annoyance. It is an exclusionary tactic.