Social Question

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

What would you do if you were on this bus?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (39047points) January 4th, 2012

So here’s a situation where religious beliefs excuse sexism (as always) and nobody’s doing squat. What would you do if you were on this bus? And does it matter that it’s public transportation? ‘Cause if it were a private bus, this is okay? And what if you were the bus driver? What if you were with your children? How would you explain it to them? I’d never let this shit slide…so grossed out…planning to go take that bus really soon and see what happens.

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38 Answers

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Bus driver simply doing what he has to to keep his job or agrees with them. Now, as for what I would do????? I would remain seated in the front and just tell them – ” Well, go ahead, move me if you can!” Anyway, why do people simply interpret religious “rules” the way it suits them?

CWOTUS's avatar

I’d ride in the back of the bus and have a grand time, and get all the phone numbers I could.

wundayatta's avatar

Sounds like a confusing situation. Are we on Orthodox territory or are we on public territory? If we’re on Orthodox territory, as say we would be in an Orthodox Synagogue, then it seems to me they have the right to run things as they see fit. Everyone must follow the rules of the host, so long as those rules do not violate other rights people have (although I’m not clear which of those rights).

So on the one hand, it seems to me that if the bus is Orthodox territory, then Orthodox rules can be enforced. It is clear the men and women on the bus, except for the visitor, thought they were on Orthodox territory.

It seems that this may not be the case. So there could be a lawsuit and then if the Orthodox lose, all they have to do is buy their own bus and run it on their own dime.

It’s not clear to me whether people or groups of people get to discriminate on private property. They must be allowed to, since Islamic Mosques segregate by sex. There don’t seem to be any lawsuits about that.

What if the church made people of different skin colors sit in different sections of the building? What if they refused access to the handicapped? This must be legal because otherwise, groups will be forced to allow anyone who wants to attend a meeting to attend, whether or not they actually agree with the goals of the organization. Private groups must be allowed to set standards for joining the group and being allowed to stay in the group.

Sick as I might think it is, it seems like this is just a group of people picking a fight with an off-the-wall religious organization. On the one hand, I think the Orthodox have it coming to them. On the other hand, I think the fight is kind of worthless and ineffective. So why not leave them alone? Wrong fight. Wrong place. But I support the goal.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta Who is this group ‘picking the fight’ that you’re talking about?

rebbel's avatar

First of all, this sounds so out-of-this-world to me that it almost strikes me as some kind of twisted ‘joke’, but reading newspapers makes that I know it isn’t.
The same feeling of wtf?? I would have, were I in the bus.
Then it would sink in and I would use my anger and disbelief to build some guts I am a bit social fobic and shy and tell the driver that he needs help as soon as possible, because I suspect something terrible in his head had happened.

ragingloli's avatar

I would tell them to go f*ck themselves and their retarded god and dare them to do anything, because I would sue them back to the bronze age they are still living in.
by that I mean I hope I would have the courage to say that in that situation

dappled_leaves's avatar

This is not ok, in my book. If Hasidic women ride the bus, and feel that they belong at the back of the bus, sad but fine. But if they tell me to move to the back of the bus, count on me moving closer to the front, scolding be damned.

HungryGuy's avatar

Sit in the front of the bus and ignore their taunts. Maybe even bring a boom box and blast Death Metal music. Nobody can physically touch you or they can be charged with assault.

mazingerz88's avatar

I have a female Jewish friend who despises this shit. She’ll bring scissors and cut the beard and hair of the first guy who tells her to move.

I’m a guy so I might just say, so you can’t ride in a bus with a woman the same way you want to fuck her, in front of you? Or maybe it’s this one, it’s good that you are not fucking your women the same way you ride buses with them, otherwise, you would need to have a, at the least, 24 inch dick. Lol.

poisonedantidote's avatar

“Find me some scripture that says I need to move to the back of the bus and I will, actually… fuck it, find me some scripture with the word “bus” in it and I’ll move. Actually, on a second thought, im a Nazi and it is my belief that YOU should move to the back of the bus.”

Neizvestnaya's avatar

The article says the bus line was set up by Hasids to service the orthodox community so if I chose to ride that bus then I’d follow their rules.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Yeah, but it’s for everyone ‘cause it runs on everyone’s streets. It doesn’t matter how it was set up, other people get on.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

”...the line is run by a private company under a decades-old agreement with the city, and since the bus is designed to serve the Hasidic community in the area, a board of rabbis sets the rules.”

It might be akin to privately run senior shuttles that also follow public routes and stops but aren’t really for the general public.

wundayatta's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Whoever was involved in the situation described thusly:

Recently a woman volunteered to see what happens when someone challenges the regulation, so she paid the $2.50 fare and took a seat in the front of the bus. Columbia Journalism School’s The New York World reports:

They were Orthodox Jews with full beards, sidecurls and long black coats, who told her that she was riding a “private bus” and a “Jewish bus.” When she asked why she had to move, a man scolded her.

“If God makes a rule, you don’t ask ‘Why make the rule?’” he told Franchy, who rode the bus at the invitation of a New York World reporter. She then moved to the back where the other women were sitting. The driver did not intervene in the incident.

At the very least this includes the woman engaged in the “protest” and the reporter. I’m guessing there were others involved in discussing this as well.

When I hear someone is “challenging the regulation,” I think that is fair to call it “picking a fight.”

CWOTUS's avatar

I disagree, @wundayatta. If New York, today isn’t the right place and time to challenge this, and nonviolent religious fundamentalists (on a public bus) aren’t the right people, then where, when and who are?

If these were Christian fundamentalists with this kind of attitude, I doubt if even 5% of the people in Fluther would disagree with this challenge / protest / fight.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta You call it ‘picking a fight’, I call it logic.

ragingloli's avatar

I find it quite ridiculous that people bitch about islamic sharia law but do not even bat an eyelid at this western equivalent

wundayatta's avatar

@CWOTUS and @Simone_De_Beauvoir Is this any different than sending a woman into a Mosque and having her sit in the male section? If so, how so? If not, why haven’t we seen that protest yet?

Why the bus? I think only because people argue it is a public bus. If it is a public bus (and that’s an issue of law, as far as I’m concerned), then let’s just take the bus away and let them practice their religion on private grounds. On the other hand, if it is the practice of religion on private grounds that you are after, why now? Why the bus? What not some place much more important?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta Oh, I have a problem with all of it, trust you me. And it’s not now that I ‘start my fight’’s just another drop in a VERY large bucket.

wundayatta's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir So what’s the strategy here? Is this some kind of pragmatism, or is this not merely a drop in a large bucket, but a particularly strategically significant drop in that bucket?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta the latter…really out in the open you know?

CWOTUS's avatar

It’s one thing to let the fundies – any kind of fundies, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, you name it – perform their rituals and practices on their own grounds, in their own buildings and with their own people. I totally and thoroughly object to this kind of encroachment into the public sphere, though. Next, they’ll be taking over our government. Oh, wait…

wundayatta's avatar

I think it’s a bad test case because the only issue is whether it’s their bus or not. That’s a side issue. The real issue is how women are treated, but this, it seems to me, is not about that. It’s merely about whose bus it is.

CWOTUS's avatar

From the little bit that I’ve read, this isn’t a “case” in a legal sense, it’s a simple “interaction” challenge. I don’t think that anyone objects to the fact that there are Orthodox Jewish “communities” (even though they do have some issues that I’m not going to address in this post) any more than we object to Amish and Mennonite communities or the Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh and his followers’ ownership (or former ownership?) of the town of Antelope, OR. As far as I know “outsiders” are generally welcome in those places, and as long as challenges to the local orthodoxy aren’t too “in your face”, then there’s no problem. Is sitting on an open seat on a bus going to be considered “in your face”?

I don’t want to say this is “the same as”, but it’s very similar to a lot of the nonsense that blacks and Hispanics have faced from simply walking in “white” neighborhoods. We (at least I think most of us here in this community) don’t want cops enforcing bigots’ wish to keep “outsiders” off their streets. Do we want cops enforcing this kind of bigotry? Do we want to say, “well, it’s just one bus… there are lots of buses”? I don’t.

Take back the bus, not “the back of the bus”.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@wundayatta I think it is about exposing inequality. I didn’t know about the bus yesterday. Today I know about the bus. So, I can be outraged, and I can protest, and I can go sit on the bus, and I can write articles about the bus, and I can talk about the bus on Fluther. I could not do any of those things if that woman had not shown people that the bus exists. Neither could many other people. Change has to start somewhere.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s a private bus, isn’t it. Don’t people have a right to assign seats on a private bus?

If it isn’t a private bus, then they’ll get themselves a private bus and the protest and education will be moot. We all know that fundamentalists treat women with disrespect. So what? It seems like it is their right to do so. As long as the women are not slaves, they can leave if they don’t want to put up with it.

Maybe this is a good form of consciousness raising. There was a lot of that going on when I was growing up and it seemed to make a difference. Can it be possible that women in fundamentalists groups right in the middle of Brooklyn can not see what is going on all around them? Perhaps they don’t read the news. But if they don’t read the news, how will they hear about this? How will consciousness get raised?

bob_'s avatar

Do they have clearly marked areas? What if there were no more seats in the front, and a dude got on the bus? Would they be cool with him sitting in the back?

rooeytoo's avatar

It infuriates me and if the bus has a number on the front and runs on a public route and stops to pick up non members of the religious community, then I would get on it, PAY MY FARE (I think that is a relevant point here) and sit where I damned well please. Pop in my earphones, crank up the iPod and ignore the strangely dressed bearded ones.

When I was living in NYC I worked in a building where many hasidic types worked. There was one in particular who always seemed to be on the elevator when I got on. When we reached the ground floor he would always rush to get off before me even though I was in front. On several occasions he actually ran into me in his mad rush. I tired of this boorish behavior, if he had entered after me and stood in front of me I wouldn’t have given it another thought, but as it was, it annoyed the hell out of me. He was a very tall skinny man and I am a short little squirt of a woman. One day, I decided the time had come so I was prepared and watching him out of the corner of my eye, when we landed on the ground floor and he was just running over me, I dipped my shoulder and came up full force into his family jewels (and I don’t mean the diamonds he was probably carrying in his satchel). Since I have excellent timing and dexterity he doubled over in pain and whimpering. I smiled sweetly and said oh I am sooooo sorry. Henceforth when I entered the elevator in front of him, he kept his distance and allowed me to exit first with no competition.

jca's avatar

It seems like this issue is a simple one of who owns the bus. It’s not a public bus. It may run on a public route, but unless it’s owned by the City of New York or is contracted by the City of New York, it’s not a public bus. If it’s owned by Hasidics, but is kind enough to pick up the general public, the Hasidics still get to say what happens on that bus. They could choose not to let the general public on, or choose not to let women on, or choose not to let non-Hasidic women on – it’s their bus. We may not like what criteria they use or choose to do their busing, we may not agree with whatever they do on that bus, but they still own it and have a right to use it how they please.

For the record, before I get criticized by other Flutherites who don’t agree with what I just wrote, I am not Hasidic, I am not Jewish, (so I am not out to defend this on the basis of religion or it being my religion), I am for women’s rights, and I personally would not be in a religion that treated women in this fashion. However, I don’t see that as the issue here. I see the issue as one where the bus is not a public bus, it’s run by a Hasidic sect and just happens to pick up other members of the public. Like @wundayatta said, they have the right to run things as they see fit. We would not have a leg to stand on if complaining about mosques segregating by gender, temples and synogogues segregating by gender. Didn’t the Boy Scouts of American win a lawsuit a number of years ago, regarding the gender or religion of it’s membes? Didn’t the Court (Supreme Court if I’m not mistaken) rule that they could do so, based upon being a private entity?

If given too hard a time about it, this Hasidic-owned and operated bus will just stop picking up members of the general public.

If I didn’t have a car, and I needed a ride from a friend to get to and from work, and said friend told me “JCA, you have green eyes so you must sit on the left side of the car” I would have two choices: sit on the left side of the car or protest and get no ride. I think I would choose to honor their request and sit on the left side of the car.

@rooeytoo: Love it!

Mariah's avatar

If it’s about keeping the sexes separate, why aren’t the men in the back and the women in the front?

If I’m being honest with myself, I know I don’t like to rock the boat in public, and I would probably just go to the back. Not that I’m proud of that. Really, I would probably just never ride that bus.

CWOTUS's avatar

Actually, as much as I respect – some might say “overly respect” – notions of property and privacy, and private property in particular, since this is a “public conveyance” the rules of “private property” don’t apply. That’s been proven enough times in the case of apartment and “rented rooms” in private homes.

Landlords are enjoined from advertising for “Christian” or “god-fearing” or “white” or other restrictive classifications. Even “married” or “single” aren’t valid criteria, nor is it legal to request “heterosexual” tenants. Taxi cab operators have similar restrictions on their ability to restrict fares.

So the bus picking up “public” passengers is required to follow “public” law. There may be an argument to be made on the basis of safety. After all, we require children of certain ages to be placed in certain types and orientations of car seats, and (I’m not sure whether this is law yet, but it’s common practice) children under about the age of 12 or so are routinely placed in the back seats of automobiles for safety reasons (so that front seat air bags don’t kill them inadvertently).

If someone wants to make an argument that the back of the bus is safer, and women are therefore consigned there “for their own safety” (since it’s usually women who travel with infants and small children), then they should make that case. But since the issue is religiously-inspired sex-based segregation, I’d love to be the attorney taking this case if it went that far.

jca's avatar

Any lawyers around who are familiar with NYC laws?

wundayatta's avatar

Is it a public bus? My impression was that it was leased to the Orthodox for their private use.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta It’s a B110 which means I can go get on it right now.

wundayatta's avatar

From your article: “The B110, which travels between Williamsburg and Borough Park is open to anyone, has a route number, and goes to city bus stops. However, the line is run by a private company under a decades-old agreement with the city, and since the bus is designed to serve the Hasidic community in the area, a board of rabbis sets the rules.”

It seems to me that the public/private status of the bus is up in the air.

But I think women should go and ride that bus all day long. Very butch women, perhaps. Anyone who doesn’t mind standing up and spitting and yelling right back in the face of the assholes Orthodox men who behave in this unacceptable way.

rooeytoo's avatar

@wundayatta – i usually admire your responses and appreciate your thinking, but I don’t like the use of “butch” women. I think all women should do this and I don’t think acting in their own behalf and refusing to be treated as second class creatures should make them appear butch or any less feminine. Strong, self confident women are not butch or less feminine, they are strong self confident women.

wundayatta's avatar

@rooeytoo You are right, of course. I was imagining what would be intimidating, and that’s what came out. It would be wonderful if any woman could put one of these guys in their place. I guess it’s not so much the issue of standing up for yourself, which all women should do, but of being able to get into a guys face and intimidate them instead of making them laugh. Laughing would not be good.

HungryGuy's avatar

Being a guy, I’d sit in the back of the bus with all the women :-p

Besides, have you ever set next to one of those orthodox Jews on the bus or subway on a steamy August day? They wear heavy black coats all day long and they stink!

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