NAACP Issues Travel Warnings against American Airlines
How many times in recent years have we heard “trouble in the skies” or “airline company drags passenger off flight?” It seems like it’s becoming a regular occurrence. Before the biggest problem was getting scolded for not taking your headphones off during the safety presentation. Millions of Americans rely on airlines for regular travel, and it has become the norm to face a culture of fear when preparing for a flight. It’s like they’re trying to create a new meaning for “afraid of heights.” The culture across airline companies has been the subject of many news report headlines for disrespectful treatment towards minority passengers. The NAACP is taking a firm stance against such heinous treatment.
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In a statement released on October 24, 2017, the NAACP issued a nationwide travel advisory – their first ever in history. Why? Recent activity among American Airlines has prompted an apparent pattern of complaints from passengers. Predominantly, passengers of color. Accusations of racial bias are being levied against the major airline.
Some of the more heinous crimes against black passengers by American Airlines include:
• Forcibly removing a mother and her infant from a flight after the mother requested her child’s stroller
• Forcing a black man off a plane after he responded to hateful racial remarks made by white passengers
• After a black woman purchased two first-class tickets – one for herself and one for her white companion – she was asked to relocate to coach; her white companion was allowed to remain in first class
According to the official statement released by the NAACP, they have been monitoring the situation at American Airlines for several months. The pattern of disturbing incidents has only increased. In light of the severe confrontations, they have issued the following warning for African Americans:
“exercise caution… booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject [you] to disrespectful, discriminatory, or unsafe conditions.”
American Airlines has responded by stating they are “disappointed… committed to providing a safe travel experience for everyone.” Airline representatives have agreed to meet with officials from the NAACP at an undisclosed date.
When riots occur almost daily, school shootings are met with apathy, and the president exhibits clear racial bias, we can expect to witness such metastasis of society. Does that make it right? No. We live in turbulent times, but we are all American.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen unnecessary force from airline workers. When passengers pay for a ticket, whether they be Black, White, Hispanic, or Asian, they deserve to be treated as customers. They deserve to be treated with respect. Some have posited that such rampant disrespect to airline customers can be attributed to poor training.
Unfortunately, the problem may reside deeper than training. When people of color are portrayed in a negative light on a daily basis by the media, how do you train employees to overcome the embedded latent bias? The NAACP has taken the first step toward speaking out. We must all follow suite as Americans and collectively voice our repulsion. We will not stand for unlawful, disrespectful, harmful treatment.