Things That Matter

United Airlines’ Flight Attendants Accommodate White Man’s Racist Request Not To Sit Next To Teen Because She’s Black

Taylor Richardson, who coincidentally was featured on Teen Vogue’s “21 Under 21 to Watch” list, was flying on United Airlines from Denver Airport. The 16-year-old said she overheard a man tell the cabin crew he didn’t want to sit next to her because she is black. Richardson was mortified when the flight attendants politely accommodated his request and moved his seat. 

United Airlines eventually responded to Richardson’s account of the incident that she posted on Twitter, saying they take “claims of discrimination very seriously. ” 

In 2017, Richardson was featured in Teen Vogue as an aspiring young astronaut. The self-described “STEMinist” idolizes Mae C. Jemison, the first black woman to travel into space. The racist incident only highlights the same battles that Jemison fought still await the future leader. 

Taylor Richardson shares the horribly racist experience on Twitter.

“So yesterday while flying from Denver to Jacksonville, I had my first encounter with a white man who didn’t want to sit next to me because I was Black. Thank you @united for accommodating him,” Richardson wrote. 

Richardson elaborated on the experience in a series of tweets directed at United Airlines’ handle. 

“He was not loud just in a normal tone asked to be moved. At first, I didn’t even know why, then he was like, ‘I don’t want to sit next to her because she is black,” she said. 

Richardson acknowledged that the flight attendant’s effort to accommodate him was probably just to diffuse the situation. 

“I would like to say upfront there wasn’t any commotion. Your airline rep was not rude she was caught off guard by his comment and to not make a scene just moved him. I’m only 16 so I dare not disrespect an adult even when ignorant to the facts,” she said. 

The teenager explained that the woman then moved the man to another seat. The seat next to Richardson’s was left vacant for the remainder of the flight. 

“The airline lady was very kind and very discrete. No commotion. He didn’t do anything he got up and I enjoyed the rest of my flight heading home. I guess it could have been worse if I had made a scene. I chose to not give him my time or energy,” she said. “I decided to eat my pizza and remain calm and unbothered. Going high in low moments!”

United Airlines responds to Richardson’s account of the incident.

United Airlines issued an apology to Richardson in a private message on Twitter and a later a general statement. 

“Please know we sincerely regret that this was your experience, as we never want our customers to feel any sort of discomfort while flying and truly appreciate your understanding,” the airline told Richardson on Twitter. “We always strike to leave a good impression on our customers and want you to know we care.”

A United Airlines spokesperson told the Sun Online Travel that they take matters of discrimination seriously. 

“We immediately had an online chat with our customer when we heard about this issue and will reach out again to speak with her directly for additional information. We will also be speaking with our crew to better understand what happened,” the spokesperson said. 

This incident occurred within days of will.i.am accusing a different airline of racism.

The Black Eyed Peas artist will.i.am accused Quantas airlines of racism on Twitter. The “My Humps” singer claimed that on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney, Australia he was using noise-canceling headphones. He didn’t hear the announcement to put his items away, but when a flight attendant approached him he quickly complied. 

He said the flight attendant, “clearly aimed all her frustrations only at the people of color.” When the plan landed police were waiting to arrest will.i.am. 

“I’m sorry? Is callin the police on a passenger for not hearing he P.A due to wearing noise canceling headphones appropriate? If didn’t put away my laptop ‘in a rapid 2min time” I’d understand. I did comply quickly & politely, only to be greeted by police. I think I was targeted,” he said

Quantas released a statement but they did not acknowledge the use of police or mention any discrimination. 

“There was a misunderstanding on board, which seems to have been exacerbated by will.i.am wearing noise canceling headphones and not being able to hear instructions from crew. We’ll be following up with will.i.am and wish him well for the rest of the tour,” the statement said

In July, Spirit Airlines was dealt a similar issue when a black woman claimed a woman refused to sit next to her because of her race, forcing her to switch. In a world where black people continue to be systematically denigrated, incidents like this come as no surprise. 

A White Woman Is Going Viral For Saying That Broadway’s ‘Slave Play’ Is Racist Against White People

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A White Woman Is Going Viral For Saying That Broadway’s ‘Slave Play’ Is Racist Against White People

Jeremy O. Harris

Black playwright Jeremy O. Harris’ buzzworthy Slave Play, has been both revered and abhorred by audience members. The show has received much critical acclaim after opening a month ago but a recent tirade, caught on camera, of an audience member alleging the play was racist against white people shows just how uncomfortable stories about anti-blackness and white supremacy make viewers. The broadway comedy tells the story of three interracial couples during the Antebellum-era who use slave role-playing as sexual therapy. 

Harris believes the white woman’s rant, which lasted several minutes, was merely life imitating art. The video of the woman’s confrontation went viral. Many people dismissed her expletive-filled rant as “white fragility,” according to the Washington Post. 

Harris shared the video on his own Twitter account.

Harris and an actor sat down for a Q&A after a show. That’s when the white woman got up from her seat and began shouting. She asked how the play wasn’t “racist against white people?” She claimed that there was “a whole bunch of stuff about how white people don’t get how racist they are,” in the video. 

The audience begins to murmur but Harris explains that the play is about eight people and can’t reflect every single person. He told her it was all a metaphor, and if she isn’t like the white characters in his play then good. 

“I never once said that you as a white woman were not a marginalized person,” Harris responds. “But if you heard that in my play, I don’t know what to tell you. Perhaps read it or see it again.”

Harris joked that she gave the audience an amazing second play. Despite grumbles, the woman persistently tried to yell her point until finally storming out of the theater. The audience applauded her departure. 

“The plays shows the unconscious ways that white people take up space, that they don’t leave open for black people,” Harris told The Washington Post. “This play doesn’t necessarily have to be about her … but she did just create her own character.”

Twitter users continued to point out the irony in the woman’s behavior. 

“My fave part of this is that she’s standing up to yell in a theatre about her white oppression. It’s my favorite because 1: oppressed people don’t get to do that. A black man would’ve been arrested for this behavior or worse,” one user wrote on Twitter. “2: she’s sitting in a seat a black person wouldn’t have been able to sit in half a century ago.”

Harris told the Washington Post he didn’t want to be dismissive of the woman, instead, he’d rather engage in a conversation with her. 

“It would have been hypocritical of me as someone who said from the beginning, I wanted this to be a play that sparked conversations,” he told The Washington Post.

Many people thought it was outrageous that the woman’s complaint was that white people were portrayed sympathetically in a play about slavery in the Antebellum era. 

“A play about slavery, and her complaint is that HER experience wasn’t represented? Makes me ashamed to be a white woman,” another user tweeted. 

Slave Play has received criticism from white and black audience members alike. 

There is currently a Change.org petition with over 6,000 signatures to shut down the broadway show. The creator of the petition claims it is anti-black. However, by her own admission the sentiment comes from the predominantly white audience’s reactions to what was in it.

“This past Saturday I attended Slave Play for the 8 pm showing. I wanted to verbalize that this was one of the most disrespectful displays of anti-Black sentiment disguised as art that I have ever seen,” the petition reads. “As a Black woman, I was terribly offended and traumatized by the graphic imagery mixed with laughter from a predominantly white audience.”

Broadway audiences tend to be largely white due to the high cost of tickets. Slave Play hosted a “Black Out” night where discounted tickets were provided to a black audience of 800 — a rarity in broadway. 

“We can succumb to a fear-based culture really easily, especially when bad people are in charge. That’s when we should be the loudest and the most individualistic because that’s the only way to actually combat fascism,” Harris told The Guardian of some of his black critics. “When I speak to artists – especially artists from oppressed groups – I see them necessitating this self-censorship. And I’m like: “No, be free! The only time you can be free in this world is when you’re writing.”

Cheerleader Wins $145,000 Settlement After She Was Booted From Team For Taking A Knee

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Cheerleader Wins $145,000 Settlement After She Was Booted From Team For Taking A Knee

tommiaxo / Instagram

Back in 2016, American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick made waves and history when he protested against racial injustice and systematic oppression. During the United States national anthem, the star football player took a stand against the injustices by taking a knee. The act of protest set off a wave of similar acts with athletes from other sports including soccer, baseball, basketball and ice hockey taking similar actions. The acts of protest have not only sparked debate about using sporting events to highlight social issues they’ve also sparked talks about patriotism and respect. Moreover, they’ve also caused lawsuits.

College cheerleader, Tommia Dean, recently received a $145,000 payout after she was punished for her silent protest back in 2017.

The now 21-year old had been a cheerleader for Kennesaw State University, Georgia and had been inspired by  Kaepernick’s similar protests and decided to take a new during a game. In response to her protest, her university banned Dean and four other cheerleaders, known in the media as the ‘Kennesaw Five,’ from the football field during the Star-Spangled Banner for the next two games.

Dean hit back at the college who has recently been ordered to pay her $145,000. The school was found to have violated her right to protest. For the payout, the Georgia Department of Administrative Services will have to write Dean a check for $93,000 and another one to her attorneys for $52,000.

According to Marietta Daily Journal, “Dean listed KSU’s then-President Sam Olens as a defendant in the civil suit, alongside Scott Whitlock and Matt Griffin who worked for the KSU athletics department at the time.”

The agreement, which was signed by Dean and representative of the Georgia state department says that “a compromise has been reached… The intent of this agreement is to buy peace of mind from future controversy and forestall further attorney’s fees, costs, or other expenses of litigation, and further that this agreement represents the compromise, economic resolution of disputed claims and, as such, shall not be deemed in any manner an admission, finding, conclusion, evidence or indication for any purposes whatsoever, that the KSU defendants acted contrary to the law or otherwise violated the rights of Dean.”

In her lawsuit, Dean accused her school of violating her rights.

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That melanin glow 🖤💁🏾

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Speaking about her decision to protest, Dean told WXIA-TV in Atlanta that at the time, she had felt moved to take action through protest. “Before we went out on the field, we all prayed. Together, we all prayed. I felt like this was something I needed to do here, in Cobb County, as a Kennesaw State cheerleader.”

The issue escalated when the local sheriff publicly slammed the cheerleaders for their act of protest. Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren said at the time that t his wife cried when she first saw the protest. “We were both shocked to see such a lack of respect for our flag, our national anthem and the men and women that serve our nation, Neil Warren wrote in an opinion piece published by Marietta Daily Journal.  Dean claimed in her lawsuit that Warren and former state Rep. Earl Ehrhart were racially motivated in making sure that the school kept her and the other four cheerleaders from taking part in national anthem protests.