Oct 15, 2012

The One Where The Bus Driver in Cleveland Punched A Female Passenger

By now you have probably heard the story about the bus driver in Cleveland, Ohio with a mean upper cut, but if you haven't you can watch video of the incident here and the victim's reaction to it here.  Be warned, there are lots of bad words in the first video, and the uppercut delivery is pretty graphic too.

I first heard mention of this on Facebook but was hesitant to look at the video.  I was not sure I wanted to see a man punching a woman while others stood around recording it.  But a friend of mine was interested to hear my opinion on it, so I decided to take a look.

According to the police report, the incident took place on the afternoon of September 18, 2012. Shidea N. Lane, age 25 boarded the bus and either did not have or could not find the money to pay her bus fare.  The driver, 59 year old Artis Hughes drove her to the next stop, at which point Lane allegedly asked Hughes "Are you putting me off the bus?" and "Is this how you treat people in Cleveland?"  Although she eventually paid her fare, a verbal altercation ensued between Lane and Hughes as evidenced by the video.  After Lane appears to push Hughes while he is driving, Hughes stops the bus and gets up out of his seat while informing Lane "You're going to jail now!" (I actually found him saying that to be hilarious).  He walks toward her and punches her square in the jaw, knocking her backwards.  With the whole bus screaming at him, reminding him "she's a girl", he throws her off the bus and tosses her backpack after her.  An obviously shaken Lane gets back on the bus, still cursing after Hughes and trying to hit him while being held back by passengers.

To me, one of the most interesting parts of the video was Hughes' response to the passengers telling him Lane is a girl. He said "I don't care! She wanna be a man, I'm gonna treat you like a man!"

This reminds me so much of the Ev and Ocho incident I wrote about a few months ago. The only difference is we have visual proof of what actually went down. I doubt we'll ever know for sure what happened between Ev and Ocho, but that's another story. 

No one can deny Lane was loud, obnoxious, aggressive, annoying...just plain ghetto!  She was issuing threats left, right and center.  She certainly gave the impression that she could handle her own against anyone, including Hughes.  But is her behavior justification for him putting his hands on her the way he did?  Is that the way men typically resolve their issues?  By fighting it out?  And if a woman gets up in his face while arguing with him, is that a license for him to knock her out because she's "acting like a man"?

In my opinion, no!  There were so many other routes Hughes could have taken (no pun intended!) in handling this situation.  He could have pulled over, exited the bus and called the police, just as he did after punching Lane.  He could have called the bus company to let them know of the situation and ask for their advice on how to handle.  Surely the bus company has policies on how to handle belligerent passengers.  Hughes could even have refused to drive any further until Lane removed herself from the bus.  That would have gotten the other passengers riled up but may have been what Lane needed to realize what a fool she was making of herself. 

I also thought it was interesting when the passengers reminded the driver that Lane is a girl.  Why weren't they reminding Lane she was a girl when she was all up in the driver's face?  Instead they sat back and laughed, enjoying the show.  Is her behavior literally expected from Black women because more often than not, this is the way we are portrayed on TV and in the media these days?  Think Basketball Wives, Real Housewives of Atlanta, Love & Hip Hop or almost any other reality show with a Black woman as one of the stars.  Black women are shown as brash and ignorant with an "I don't give a f***" attitude.  So it's no surprise at all to me that not one of the passengers attempted to remind her of the fact that she was a girl and should perhaps act with a little more class.  In their minds, she was just acting like Black girls do.  Well let me just get something out in the open right here, even though it's not directly relevant to my post.  The Black girl writing this post knows how to act around other people and my little girl will too.  We all have to break the stereotypes stacked against us and our men one parent at a time.  We can't rely on the school teachers, football coaches or anyone else to raise our babies, it's all on us.  My kids will have manners, they will know how to speak to their elders politely and with respect and they will know how to resolve conflict without resorting to violence.  And they for sure will not be out in public acting like ignorant fools. 

But I digress...

Going back to the Ev and Ocho incident,  Ev has a reputation for behaving much like Lane did on the bus that day.  However, as I have said before, the fact that a woman is aggressive and seemingly able to handle her own is no justification for a man putting his hands on her.  Period.  Lane certainly wasn't right for putting her hands on Hughes either as she appears to have done in the video.  However, no one deserves to be assaulted the way Lane was, male or female, unless they are a trained boxer consenting to jump in the ring and go 12 rounds.

In my opinion, both parties were wrong in this incident because neither one of them should have raised their hands to the other.  However, I totally disagree with anyone who says she deserved to be punched because of the way she behaved.  As I said in the Ev and Ocho post, comments like that often cause women in abusive relationships to stay with their abuser, for fear of being held responsible by family and friends for the abuse she has endured.  Oftentimes the abuser is already telling the woman it's all her fault that he hits on her. To hear this type of reaction to a public display of abuse against a women will only solidify that belief in the abused woman's mind.  Her level of confidence, self-esteem and self-worth are so low she will not see the difference between her situation and Lane's and will decide to stay with her abuser to avoid the embarrassment and blame from society.  I can say this with a degree of confidence because I have been that woman.  Therefore I urge you to think carefully before voicing your opinion on incidents such as these.  You never know who is listening, what they are going through behind closed doors, or how your words might affect their next move.

That's my two-cents...care to share yours?  Leave a comment below!