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Taking Back the Media

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Street Harassment and Facebook and Orthodox Religion.

Shame on Humans Of New York. Supporting street harassment behind religion. HONY has told 91,367 people that if you are a powerful religious man, we can forget that you propositioned a kind young woman to be your escort for the night. FUCK YOU HUMANS OF NEW YORK. Last night the usually fantastic photography blog posted this photo

The caption to the photo read: “This one is very serious, guys:

I came upon these two on the sidewalk. They were having a conversation. “Excuse me,” I said, addressing the girl: “I’m sorry to interrupt, but is there anyway I can take your photo?”

“Why would you want my photo?” she asked.

“Because you look beautiful,” I said. And she did. She was Sudanese. There is a very distinct beauty among people from the Sudan, and she was filled up with it. Suddenly the man cut in: 

“I was just telling her she was beautiful,” he said. 

Naively, I assumed I had just walked up on one stranger giving a compliment to another. I wanted to capture the moment. “Let me take your photograph together,” I said. The man seemed reluctant, he started smiling nervously and inching away. But the girl called him back. 

“Come take a picture with me,” she said. Encouraged by her attention, he returned. She put her arm around him, and I took the photo.

As I examined the photos on my camera, the man started whispering to the girl. She answered him in a loud voice: “I told you! I’m not that kind of girl.” She seemed agitated now. Finally sensing that I had misread the situation, I stepped between them. The man began hurrying down the sidewalk.

When the man left, the girl’s demeanor changed completely. She seemed shaken. Her eyes were tearing up. “He just offered me five hundred dollars to go out with him,” she said. “And then when I said ‘no,’ he offered me one thousand. Why does this always happen to me?”

“It happens a lot?” I asked.

“All the time,” she said. “I’m sorry I’m getting emotional. I just can’t go out of my house without this kind of thing happening. I have a son. I’m a mother. I would never degrade myself like that. I just don’t understand why this keeps happening.”

“Do you mind if I tell this story?” I asked.

“Please,” she said. “Tell it.”

Let’s hope this man, and all men, realize the emotional damage they are inflicting on the women they try to buy. In the meantime, feel free to SHARE.*

*With this man being an Orthodox Jew, I hope that all long-time followers of HONY would by now have realized the high respect I hold for the Orthodox Jewish community as a whole.”

And do you know what Humans Of New York did today? They removed the photograph from their Facebook page, which has over 90,000 subscribers. Because of uproar from what appeared to be men of the Orthodox Community. HONY has now posted two other photos of two Orthodox male students at Yeshiva University. The first caption reads “Are you Humans of New York?”

"I am. Did you by chance see last night’s post?"

"I did."

"Your thoughts?"

"There’s deviance in every religion. Simple as that."

UPDATE: The original post has been removed out of respect for the man’s family. After 1,000 comments, I believe the discussion had run it’s course.”

and the second photo reads “This young man also recognized me while I was touring Yeshiva. We too entered into a discussion about last night’s post. I asked him to send me a letter with his thoughts. I’d like to preface his letter by saying that I personally remain very confident about my assessment of yesterday’s situation. However, Simon’s letter contains great wisdom:

Dear HONY,

I figured our paths would cross serendipitously. I’ve been thinking a lot about the picture you posted last night of an Orthodox Jewish man propositioning a Sudanese woman.

You have a microphone that now reaches beyond the humans of New York. You can speak to the humans of the world, using your art as a medium for good, for awareness, for change. It’s a task that requires nuance. Nobility is a slippery slope, and often, in our quest to do justice,

we rush to false judgment. To be virtuous, it seems we must be patient. We must be incredulous even about our own suppositions—especially about our own suppositions—in order to do right by others.

It’s a foundational imperative in the Jewish tradition of dan lekaf zechut—judging another favorably—or refraining from judging another unfavorably in the absence of proper evidence.

UPDATE: The original post has been removed out of respect for the man’s family. After 1,000 comments, I believe the discussion had run it’s course.”

Hmm… many of the comments on these read along the lines of “Good job Brandon [the HONY photographer] for respecting the man’s family and taking the photo down” “Right decision HONY” “How we do know the woman’s telling the truth? HEARSAY!”

To which I say ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Seriously, you’re joking right? She asked to have her story told. I don’t give a flying fuck if this man is the fucking President of the United States, if he propositions a woman for being an escort (and I’m just going to assume and escort for sex) after she said NO once he needs to be called out. And to say “I believe the discussion had run it’s course” is perpetuating that sexual harassment is okay. A commenter placed the question ‘would this photo have been removed if the racial roles had been reversed or if the woman had been white?’ “My question is whether or not a similar picture to “last night’s” would have been deleted or generated the same level of concern for the man’s reputation, community had the man in question had been Hispanic, Muslim or African-American?”

A comment summed up this photo “Again, another woman was silenced. To spare that man his embarrassment at being a hypocrite. A shame.” I hope everyone will reblog this to show that you cannot silence an idea and you cannot like this woman believes “ If you don’t like something - you can ignore it, delete it, unsubscribe - or just LEAVE.”

Yes, let’s just sweep racism, sexism, prejudice, and harassment right under the  rug right? WRONG.

Also interestingly enough before I had even finished writing this I was going to reblog the original tumblr post from the Humans Of New York tumblr and it had been removed.

Shame on Humans Of New York.

What do you think?

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  14. randallorrandy reblogged this from theblackstallion and added:
    I follow humansofnewyork…..or rather, I did. I am shocked and ashamed at the backtracking due to backlash. This woman…we...
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  29. link1n reblogged this from feministmedia and added:
    If he consented to the photo, it should stay there. Fuck him.