Barber refuses haircut to woman on religious grounds

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jas

Unionist wrote:

But s/he can't refuse classes of customers as set out in the law (i.e. race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, etc.). Is this such a difficult distinction to make after 150 odd posts??

Yes, because it's the wrong distinction. The religious rule he's claiming is no opposite-sex touching between strangers and would apply to a female barber/hairstylist as well. This does not target women (or men) as a group.  Is this so hard to understand after 150-odd posts?

quizzical

.....

 

quizzical

no jas you're wrong. it would be discrimination too if a man was refused service for religious reasons. can you imagine our society if allowed discrimination for religious reasons?

quizzical

and what's with the victim blaming in this thread? there's even somebody with the misogynist balls to try and state she is doing it 'cause she hates muslims. unfkn real.

jas

quizzical wrote:

no jas you're wrong. it would be discrimination too if a man was refused service for religious reasons. can you imagine our society if allowed discrimination for religious reasons?

The religious restriction is not against men or women.  As I suggested before, if the barber owned a restaurant instead, and according to his religious justifications, he would serve her.

This isn't even close to the situation where women were barred from Montreal taverns because they're women.

quizzical

it's a religious restriction!!!! religious restrictions DO NOT ever over rule anti-discrimination rights. just try setting a case where they do and see what happens!!!!!

 

unless you want n "untouchable" or any other premise made to excuse discrimination byreligions made?????

theleftyinvestor

Unionist wrote:

Sure there's a good answer. These "guys" whose God told them not to touch women can go cut each others' hair, or set up a private hair-cutting club. They can't open a store on Main Street saying "no women served here". God will forgive them, I guarantee it.

Aha! I think you've hit upon a legal remedy. Convert the barbershop to a private hair-cutting club.

Or hire one employee who does not hold that belief. Analogous to a "Shabbos goy" perhaps?

I just think that it would be overreaching if the court were to essentially rule that they are legally obligated to touch women as part of their job. But I'm sure there are remedies to the case that don't have to go there.

6079_Smith_W

theleftyinvestor wrote:

Aha! I think you've hit upon a legal remedy. Convert the barbershop to a private hair-cutting club.

Or again, just do the simple thing and have somebody on-call to come in and do the job the other barbers can't.

Has anyone else realized that the complainant may be doing them a favour, and there is a potential net benefit to the business from increasing their clientelle? They are certainly getting a lot of free advertising.

In fact, one would think that the other side of this equation is that there should be more people willing to step up as patrons in order to reinforce their doing the right thing. After all if the only point is to hold them to the letter of the law for no reason it is kind of hollow, no (and in spirit, I'd say punitive) ? And what would be the lesson there?

Me, I am working under the assumption that that is not what is going on, and that she actually wanted that haircut.

 

 

 

quizzical

"hold them to the letter of the law fo no reason" did i actually really read that? yep i did....

it's apparent "christianity" and its derivatives learned their misogyny well from the religions that were going strong when Christianity was formed and developing. the casual sexism in this thread is a sight to behold and really highlights men's inability to accept women's equality as a reality needing to happen. 'cause apparently there's no rerason for women's equality rights.

6079_Smith_W

Yup, you read that.

I know I said upthread that the easiest solution was the "wink and a nod" of just having someone on contract whether or not anyone comes through the door, but on second thought, that seems kind of cynical.

If they were to be forced to comply, and no women were to actually walk through the door asking for service, then in practical (rather than legal) terms it would be for no reason. Certainly no reason I can see. The only lesson would be that cynical one -obey the law - and sure, that is one way it can go.

As I said at the end of my statement : I am working under the assumption that that is not what is going on. My point is that accomodation and inclusion is a two-way street, and although I am sure this seems like a difficult situation ultimately it will mean them being more accomodating, but also being accommodated, assuming that people actually take the opportunity fo support them in this change. Seems to me it can mean things being better for everyone, so long as people (women and men) see it that way and act accordingly.

To be clear, I'm not saying that anyone is under any obligation to go get their hair cut there - that there's a quid pro quo for compliance - there is not. But I think it would really help to see this as the opportunity on all sides that it really is, rather than a point of conflict.

If that was unclear (and I can see how if might be taken that way) excuse me.

 

 

quizzical

whatever be as misogynist as you want i'm done with this thread.. 'cause no matter what you say otherise ' bout not being an assumption your words state something different.

 

 that's several  men in this thread who've indicated they believe she was being an instigator for no reason or a racist. fkn no wonder here's basically no women who come to this site. its the way men here want it obviously.

Slumberjack

And he's not much of a comrade either in arguing that the rights of the petit-bourgeoise and their property are more important than equality for half of our species.

6079_Smith_W

Quizzical, I"m not talking about her so much as our reaction here, and the presumed reaction and misunderstanding in the community.

After all, I have no idea what her intent was, other than to bring them into compliance with the law, and I have already said I think that is important that they do comply.

I'm just saying that it would be good if they could be supported in that change, rather than having assumptions - quite possibly false - about their movation. If this is dealt with with support and an attempt to bridge misunderstanding then the end will be far better than them just being forced to do what they need to do to obey the law.

In practical terms I am just saying that I hope people - women and men - actually walk through their door to show support, and if they are so inclined, to get a haircut.

It would be far better than some pretend solution.

 

6079_Smith_W

Are you talking about me, SJ?

I have made mo argument that any people are more important than any other people. or that anything trumps anyone's rights at all.I am not sure where you got that from.

I'm just asking if we are honestly looking for equality and change or just making sure people jump through the right hoops.

 

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Are you talking about me, SJ?  I have made mo argument...

You got that right.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I basically want a "like" button for babble so that I can let Tehanu know she is loved and needed.

6079_Smith_W

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the notion that SJ thought we were tovarischi in the first place.

Boze

Unionist wrote:

Yeah, and a barber can refuse a client who smells bad or is too fidgety or is threatening to burn down the shop. But s/he can't refuse classes of customers as set out in the law (i.e. race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, etc.). Is this such a difficult distinction to make after 150 odd posts??

 

So, in a hypothetical Canada that legalized sex work, a sex worker couldn't refuse service to someone because of their sex or gender? I just want to be clear on this. It would require a legislated exemption to human-rights legislation for a sex worker to be allowed to discriminate on the basis of sex or gender?

No doubt many would say that such an exemption should and would be granted. But then, why not grant an exemption in the case of cutting hair? I think it's comparable.

Unionist

Boze wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Yeah, and a barber can refuse a client who smells bad or is too fidgety or is threatening to burn down the shop. But s/he can't refuse classes of customers as set out in the law (i.e. race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, etc.). Is this such a difficult distinction to make after 150 odd posts??

 

So, in a hypothetical Canada that legalized sex work, a sex worker couldn't refuse service to someone because of their sex or gender? I just want to be clear on this. It would require a legislated exemption to human-rights legislation for a sex worker to be allowed to discriminate on the basis of sex or gender?

Yes, it would require a legislated exception - and it may already exist, under such clauses as "public decency" as I cited earlier from the OHRC.

Quote:
No doubt many would say that such an exemption should and would be granted. But then, why not grant an exemption in the case of cutting hair? I think it's comparable.

Do you really? What about a sex worker refusing to serve Aboriginal customers. Is that comparable? Should that be allowed? Or how about a Catholic sex worker that only caters to Catholics? Does that make sense to you?

All these distinctions are discriminatory. Unless there is an overwhelming reason that makes sense to Canadian society (not Italian or Guyanese or Russian or Filipino or Vatican society, but Canadian society), then there should be no exceptions whatsoever.

In any event, I don't care if an individual sex worker or barber or grocer doesn't want to cater to women or Muslims or Asians or the disabled. What we're discussing here is a COMMERCIAL BUSINESS that prohibits a class of customers. I think I've made that clear about 10,000 times. If that business just can't figure out how to remove "NO WOMEN SERVED HERE" as their rule, they should invest in a padlock.

We don't go backwards. We are progressive people. No one should come here lecturing to women about how some men just don't like to touch them so they'll have to go somewhere else. Same with Jews or indigenous people. Are you really going to tell me that there's a difference?

jas

Unionist wrote:
 What we're discussing here is a COMMERCIAL BUSINESS that prohibits a class of customers.

No, we're not.

Unionist wrote:
 No one should come here lecturing to women about how some men just don't like to touch them so they'll have to go somewhere else.  

It's not about "liking". You either support freedom to practice religion, or you don't. Apparently you don't.

jas

Unionist wrote:

Yes, it would require a legislated exception - and it may already exist, under such clauses as "public decency" as I cited earlier from the OHRC.

How would the public decency exemption apply in this case, to a sex worker's denial of service to a specific gender?

Unionist wrote:
 

Do you really? What about a sex worker refusing to serve Aboriginal customers. Is that comparable? Should that be allowed? Or how about a Catholic sex worker that only caters to Catholics? Does that make sense to you? 

All these distinctions are discriminatory. Unless there is an overwhelming reason that makes sense to Canadian society (not Italian or Guyanese or Russian or Filipino or Vatican society, but Canadian society), then there should be no exceptions whatsoever.

I believe this was exactly what Boze was asking. It certainly is what I was asking. So I'm glad we have that clarified.

 

kropotkin1951

jas wrote:

It's not about "liking". You either support freedom to practice religion, or you don't. Apparently you don't.

Xians have often in the past acted on beliefs such as all unbaptized people are savages and doomed to eternal hellfire and that women because of the bibles teachings should be subservient to their male masters. No I don't support tolerance for religious bigotry. It is those kinds of beliefs that caused us as a society to pass laws that tell misogynists that their religious based misogyny is not acceptable,

Yeah yeah I know these guys don't hate women, hell they fuck their wives don't they?

jas

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Xians have often in the past acted on beliefs such as all unbaptized people are savages and doomed to eternal hellfire and that women because of the bibles teachings should be subservient to their male masters. No I don't support tolerance for religious bigotry. It is those kinds of beliefs that caused us as a society to pass laws that tell misogynists that their religious based misogyny is not acceptable,

It's a good point, krop. But in what specific way is a rule that forbids opposite-sex touching between strangers bigoted? Against whom is the bigotry directed?

kropotkin1951

Women is the short answer for whom this misogynistic world view is directed against.  It is the same as saying I love and respect women but not if they wear short skirts  because that is immodest.  It leaves no agency for women and instead puts them in the patriarchal box that we  as a society have been fighting to break down for at least a century,

6079_Smith_W

How is this about religion?

Because I don't think that's the grounds on which the human rights complaint was made - at all.

This situation is potentially difficult enough without continuing to confuse the matter.

 

 

 

kropotkin1951

I think the religious views of these men are going to be used as a defence against their blatant discrimination.  If they are allowed to do that based on their own interpretation of their religion then any obnoxious religious view can trump womens rights.

Many religious men believe they have a God given right to control women's behaviour. I don't find that is a credible defence but just a restatement of the original discrimination.

jas

So in a case where a Muslim declines medical treatment by a doctor, due to this very same rule, against whom is this bigotry directed?

Mr.Tea

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Women is the short answer for whom this misogynistic world view is directed against.  It is the same as saying I love and respect women but not if they wear short skirts  because that is immodest.  It leaves no agency for women and instead puts them in the patriarchal box that we  as a society have been fighting to break down for at least a century,

I imagine they'd say that issues of "modesty" apply to both men and women. Muslim men who think women shouldn't wear skirts are probably not, themselves, walking around in short shorts and tank tops. I'm sure Muslim women would find that stle of dress by men inappropriate. Certainly in the Orthodox Jewish community, with which I'm more familiar, concepts of modesty apply equally to both sexes. So, the women typically wear long skirts, shirts that cover the collarbone and sleeves past the elbows, while Orthodox Jewish men typically wear dark suits and hats all the time. So who is the "sexism" against if it applies to both and if it's freely chosen and not forced on people?

Unionist

jas wrote:

But in what specific way is a rule that forbids opposite-sex touching between strangers bigoted? Against whom is the bigotry directed?

In what specific way is a rule that forbids opposite-race marriage bigoted? Against whom is the bigotry directed?

Right. It's neutral. It forbids whites from marrying blacks, and blacks from marrying whites. It's the equality at its finest. Not sure about the in-between hues, but never mind.

Like school segregation. As long as we finance them all equally, we can have separate schools for Jews, men, disabled folks, indigenous people.

Everyone is treated the same. They just don't mix. Separate but equal. HEY! Why the hell has the left never thought of that before? It's not discrimination. We just adjust the definitions a bit.

Get a good dictionary. Look up equality.

 

autoworker autoworker's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Women is the short answer for whom this misogynistic world view is directed against.  It is the same as saying I love and respect women but not if they wear short skirts  because that is immodest.  It leaves no agency for women and instead puts them in the patriarchal box that we  as a society have been fighting to break down for at least a century,

Are you suggesting that devout muslims are misogynists in need of political education?

jas

Unionist wrote:

In what specific way is a rule that forbids opposite-race marriage bigoted? Against whom is the bigotry directed?

1. What rule or law are you talking about? Where does this exist?

2. If the rule restricts those who observe it from marrying people of other races, then the bigotry, if you want to call it that, is directed against people not of the observer's race. But presumably it would apply to people of all races who observe that rule, so how does this single out a particular race?

Mr.Tea

jas wrote:

So in a case where a Muslim declines medical treatment by a doctor, due to this very same rule, against whom is this bigotry directed?

I'm a dentist. So's my wife. So's my dad. We run a practice together. We're Jewish and have a lot of patients who got to know us through the Jewish community. We're also Persian and my dad is fluent in Farsi. (My wife, less so. Me, not at all.) So we also have a lot of Iranian-born Muslims as patients because they want someone who speaks their language. Some of our patients are quite religious. I know we have a couple of devout Muslim women who will only be treated by my wife, not by my father or I. We're not offended by it. I know it's not something personal directed towards me. It's not motivated by hatred or malice. 

In terms of practitioners, themselves, I think it's different when it comes to actual medical treatment. I know several orthodox Jewish doctors and nurses (men and women) who observe the prohibitions of no physical contact with members of the opposite sex but will waive this when it comes to providing medical treatment. Not sure about in Islam, but I'd imagine it's a similar idea.

6079_Smith_W

Mr Tea,

The customer has that option;  so, presumably, does an individual practitioner, but the business offering the service does not. That's the law, as far as I understand it.

 

Mr.Tea

Unionist wrote:

Like school segregation. As long as we finance them all equally, we can have separate schools for Jews, men, disabled folks, indigenous people.

We already have that. In the public system in Ontario, there are separate schools for Catholics, for Francophones, for Catholic Francophones, for First Nations, for LGBT students. That's just the public system. There are private schools catering to all sorts of different religious groups. Now, if you want to say no government funding should be given, fine. I'd tend to agree. And we're already seeing issues of conflicts between various freedoms arise where Catholic schools don't want Gay Straight Alliances and government is telling them that to deny them is discrimination. Now, if this barber shop were government-run and government-funded, I'd say they'd have to provide a haircut to anyone who wants one. Just like if a public marriage commissioner is asked to officiate a same-sex marriage, they should be compelled to do so but priests, rabbis, imans, etc. can decide for themselves who to marry, according to the values of their faith. If I were to go to a priest and ask him to officiate at my wedding and he refused, I wouldn't assume it's because he hates Jews but because his faith simply doesn't allow it.

6079_Smith_W

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I think the religious views of these men are going to be used as a defence against their blatant discrimination.  If they are allowed to do that based on their own interpretation of their religion then any obnoxious religious view can trump womens rights.

Many religious men believe they have a God given right to control women's behaviour. I don't find that is a credible defence but just a restatement of the original discrimination.

No, because I don't see that there is a defense for a business not providing equal service.

But all of us have a right to decide what we will and will not do with our own bodies. It has no effect on (or rather, it doesn't control) anyone else, and it is no one's business.

I think anyone who wants to make anti-religious hay, justified or not, might want to use other grounds than this. Again, it begs the question of what we want to happen here. If we want positive change and a resolution of the problem then demonizing this person for something that is actually not the issue seems a bit counterproductive.

And I also see the potential for increasing misunderstanding and judgment against a community which already has enough of it in our country.

 

 

jas

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Mr Tea,

The customer has that option;  so, presumably, does an individual practitioner, but the business offering the service does not. That's the law, as far as I understand it.

Unless: 

1) the public decency exemption applies, or

2) the refusal of service is found to be not discriminatory (likely because of No. 1, in this case).

 

Mr.Tea

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Mr Tea,

The customer has that option;  so, presumably, does an individual practitioner, but the business offering the service does not. That's the law, as far as I understand it.

Right. And it seems that what happened here is that the business offering the service did offer the woman in question a haircut from another barber. In fact, owner of the Terminal Barber Shop also owns the Terminal Barber Shop 2, which is, apparently, just down the street and she could have gotten her haircut there where someone was willing to do it. I don't know if that shop is technically the "same" business, but it has the same owner, provides the same service and operates a minute away. But this offer was refused. Because she's made clear that it's not being able to get a haircut. There must be hundreds of barbers in the city willing to do it. It was because she was personally offended by this man's religious beliefs and wants to see him compelled to violate them. Which strikes me as incredibly petty. I might be in the mood for a beer after work. If I found myself at a Halal establishment that didn't sell beer, I'd simply move along to a place that does. My desire, after all, is for a beer, not to compel a Muslim to violate their beliefs and sell me one.

Unionist

Mr.Tea wrote:

 In the public system in Ontario, there are separate schools for Catholics, for Francophones, for Catholic Francophones, for First Nations, for LGBT students. That's just the public system.

Do you have public schools in Ontario that don't admit Jews? or Catholics? or Muslims? or Anglophones? or First Nations? or LGBT students? or women?

No need for an exhaustive list. Just a few names will do.

Hmmm. I didn't think so. Nice try, though, at false analogies.

A barber shop that won't offer its services to women - the exact same services that it offers on a free commercial walk-in basis to men - is in violation of the OHRC. And if it wasn't, then the law would urgently need to be updated - like we did when we legalized same-sex marriage.

 

jas

Unionist, I notice you don't answer my questions. I've answered yours. Engaging in fair dialogue helps each arguer to understand the other's point.

jas

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ Mr. Tea,

Then the owner should just get the barber from the other place to put his clippers in a bag, walk up the street and give the customer what she wants. I know that may seem a bit roundabout, but it is the law.

The customer is well within her rights to insist, and her motivation is just as irrelevant to the question as the barber's is.

We don't know this yet. Neither do you. The law has an exception.

6079_Smith_W

@ Mr. Tea,

Then the owner should just get the barber from the other place to put his clippers in a bag, walk up the street and give the customer what she wants. I know that may seem a bit roundabout, but it is the law.

The customer is well within her rights to insist, and her motivation is just as irrelevant to the question as the barber's is. What you or I or anyone else might do in her situation is not imortant. On the point, she is completely right.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Don't know what?

 

Mr.Tea

Unionist wrote:

Do you have public schools in Ontario that don't admit Jews? or Catholics? or Muslims? or Anglophones? or First Nations? or LGBT students? or women?

No need for an exhaustive list. Just a few names will do.

Every Catholic primary school in the province will not admit Jews, Muslims or anyone else who isn't Catholic. As part of the funding extension brought in under the Davis government in the 1980s, Catholic high schools must admit anyone (though, presumably, few non-Catholics) would choose to attend. But from kindergarten to grade 8, the student must be a Roman Catholic (I believe they define that as having been baptized in a Catholic Church and require a letter of documentation from a parish priest). Simarly, the Francophone school system doesn't admit Anglophones (I believe they define "Francophone" as having at least one francophone parent). I'm not sure about the First Nations school but I'd imagine it would require that students be First Nations (whether defined as having legal FN status or some other measure).

onlinediscountanvils

jas wrote:
You either support freedom to practice religion, or you don't. Apparently you don't.

 

Does his religion prohibit him from hiring someone who is willing to cut women's hair? If not, there's no infringement upon his freedom of religion. 

jas

I know: let's play a game. Let's only read the posts we want to respond to, and ignore everything else that's been posted, so we can ask inane questions that are answered in the posts that we ignore!

Mr.Tea

I'm not sure whether there are boys-only or girls-only public schools. Wouldn't surprise me. But there are certainly boy-only and girls-only private schools, some religious, some secular.

6079_Smith_W

jas, I don't even know who you are talking to there, and I said a few things in the comment you replied to.

Now I know there are cases where non-discrimination laws are ignored, not pushed, or not enforced (and some actual exceptions) and no, I don't know how the tribunal is going to rule in this case because if we did know then what would be the point of having a tribunal?

But near as I can see this is a pretty clear principle, with a pretty clear solution, despite all the attempts to cloud it up and turn it into a reason to smack people.

 

Mr.Tea

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ Mr. Tea,

Then the owner should just get the barber from the other place to put his clippers in a bag, walk up the street and give the customer what she wants. I know that may seem a bit roundabout, but it is the law.

And that may be a possibility, but it may take time. She walked into the barber shop without an appointment. Whether this shop offers appointments or whether it's "first come, first served", I don't know. I suppose if someone calls in advance to make an appointment, they can tell her when an appropriate barber will be available to serve her. 

Now, personally, I always go to the same barber and I call to make an appointment because I want this specific barber and I don't want to wait around. If I showed up at a "walk-in" place and nobody was available or the wait was too long, I'd simply go somewhere else.

But that's too sensible, I guess. Better to demand a haircut from this man, right now, his religious beliefs notwithstanding. I mean, it's not like she had a preference for this specific barber since this was her first time in the shop.

Unionist

jas wrote:

Unionist wrote:

In what specific way is a rule that forbids opposite-race marriage bigoted? Against whom is the bigotry directed?

1. What rule or law are you talking about? Where does this exist?

It existed in apartheid South Africa. It existed in the United States in my lifetime - see [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia]Loving v. Virginia[/url], the U.S. Supreme Court which declared Virginia's anti-miscegenation law to be unconstitutional. That was 1967. Yeah, 1967.

Also, check out various religious and ethnic communities in Canada that decry "intermarriage". That is ostensibly religious based, though often conceals an ethnic or racial bias. Children don't follow their parents' "rules" as much as they used to, but that's because society is moving forward. These "rules" still exist, in my own Jewish community.

These rules are the hallmark of xenophobia. They are aimed at perpetuating "US" vs. "THE OTHER". They are the very opposite of the democratic ideals of liberty, equality, and solidarity. Progressive people everywhere mock, condemn, and combat them.

Quote:
2. If the rule restricts those who observe it from marrying people of other races, then the bigotry, if you want to call it that, is directed against people not of the observer's race. But presumably it would apply to people of all races who observe that rule, so how does this single out a particular race?

I don't want to call it bigotry. I never said it singled out a "particular race" (that's your creative addition). I want to call it xenophobia, discrimination, inequality, injustice, and let me get religious for a moment - evil.

Please be clear. I am talking only about Canadian society as a whole. Members of other societies have the right to set up whatever rules they decide. I may not like them, but I will resolutely oppose any attempt by any outsiders to impose their will. Here in Canada, however, inequality must be rooted out, except where specific exemptions can be justified by recourse to socially recognized principles.

And, where freedom of religion conflicts with gender equality (truly conflicts, which I don't believe it does in the barber case) - then people will just have to practise their religious beliefs in private where they can't hurt anyone's equality except their own.

 

6079_Smith_W

@ Mr. Tea

Again. Her motivation or how practical it may seem is irrelevant. And if her only motivation is to ensure that someone is complying with the law then she is completely justified in doing that. There is nothing at all discriminatory about it.

 

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