What is justice? The Cleveland Bus Driver

I’ve written about this topic in an earlier post but I will return to it. A friend of mine recently showed me this video in which an altercation between a male bus driver and a female passenger includes the driver uppercutting the passenger. It’s a vicious hit. It’s hard to watch yet hard to not watch it again. After the punch we hear this conversation.

BYSTANDER: That’s a f**king female!

BUS DRIVER: I don’t care. She wanna be a man. I’m gonna treat her like a man.

There are obvious gender stereotypes at play in this exchange but I am more concerned with how the driver and the woman are judged. To what extent is the driver guilty? To what extent is the woman guilty? To what extent does gender influence our answers to these questions or a judge’s verdict in a courtroom? I do not condone the punch. The driver went overboard. I do not condone her verbal abuse and final provocation of the driver (which isn’t viewable in the video but I think either she hit him or spit on him). Both parties are guilty to some degree and I hope whatever legal judgment is made that it has nothing to do with gender. I do agree somewhat with what the driver said. I don’t agree with the inference within his statement that it’s more morally permissible to hit men, or those who act like men, than women. But there is a shred of a reference to equality. Men and women can both be punched. Men and women can both ‘get what’s coming to them’. By this I mean neither case is more disgusting or immoral than the other because the genders are equal (or nonexistent).

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