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. 

Olive Garden Manager Fired After Complying With Customer’s Racist Request

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Olive Garden Manager Fired After Complying With Customer’s Racist Request

@nypost / Twitter

Good o’l reliable Olive Garden, your favorite first date option as a broke highschooler, is getting the heat this week. After news broke that an occurrence of racism occurred at one of its Indiana establishments, patrons of the Italian-inspired franchise have tons of questions.

A manager at an Olive Garden in Evansville, Indiana complied to a racist request by a couple over the weekend, leaving a Black waitress in shock.

When a white couple chose to dine at the Olive Garden in Evansville, Indiana over the weekend, they requested they be served by a white person only. Instead of standing up for his employees and asking for the pair to leave, the manager complied with the request leaving a hostess and another customer to complain on Instagram.

Now the manager is out of a job.

The incident went viral after being shared by customer Maxwell Robbins  on Facebook.

I’m never going back to the Olive Garden in Evansville. A few white people come in a says that they refuse service from…

Posted by Maxwell Robbins on Sunday, March 1, 2020

According to Robbins the white guests refused service from a “colored” server and asked to speak to a manager.

“The manager without hesitation ensures that they will not receive service from a person of color. That couple should’ve been refused service for even asking something like that,” Robbins complained.

Soon after sharing his post, 16-year-old Amira Donahue, a black hostess who had been berated by the white couple also posted a complaint.

Racism is still prevalent in 2020! After years of experiencing micro aggressions and attitudes simply because of my…

Posted by Amira Donahue on Sunday, March 1, 2020

According to Newsweek, when one of the white customers asked for hot water and Amira brought it to the table, the customer requested “a server who wasn’t black. The couple then proceeded to talk about her to co-workers and claimed that she was not “family-friendly.” Amira went onto express her disappointment and hurt of not being backed by the restaurants management staff.

In response to the incident, Olive Garden conducted an investigation and issues a statement.

“We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind, and the manager involved no longer works for our company,” an Olive Garden spokesperson told TODAY in a statement.

White Parent Shouts ‘Why Didn’t You Stay In Mexico?” At Father During School Meeting To Address Racist Incidents

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White Parent Shouts ‘Why Didn’t You Stay In Mexico?” At Father During School Meeting To Address Racist Incidents

MLive / YouTube

Far too often we talk of stories about racist White people caught on video berating people of color or calling police on them for mundane, everyday tasks. Unfortunately, this is another one of those stories but one with a level of irony that seems like it was completely lost on the man who hurled the racist insult.

Racism in the United States continues to tear apart communities – and, as this story shows, even in communities that are working to try and address the concerns of people most affected.

A viral video shows a Michigan dad asking a Latino man why he didn’t ‘stay in Mexico’ during a school meeting about racism.

A community meeting meant to address concerns over racism in a Michigan school district appeared to become proof of the problem after a white parent suggested to a Latino father that he shouldn’t have immigrated to the United States.

Adrian Iraola, who came to the U.S. from Mexico and whose now-grown children went through the schools in Saline, recalled his son’s experience of racism in the district.

“I went to his bedroom to say good night, and he was crying because of the abuse that he was enduring in this school system,” Iraola said at the school board meeting Monday in the largely-white district south of Ann Arbor.

Iraola was interrupted by a white parent, Tom Burtell, who said, “So why didn’t you stay in Mexico?”

Reactions from other parents in the room were mostly of shock and disgust.

The comment drew loud gasps and threw the February 3 meeting into pandemonium, with multiple parents yelling at the father to leave the meeting, some standing up, and one shouting, “That is disgusting.”

“That’s indicative of what our kids are experiencing: comments like that,” another father said.

However, at least one person seemed to come to Burtell’s defense saying that the meeting was a “platform for discussion,” to which Burtell responses, “That’s right.”

“Then explain yourself,” an audience member said to Burtell. “You interrupted [Iraola]. Take the mic.”

Iraola, still with mic in hand, then said, “He asked me a question, ‘Why didn’t I stay in Mexico?’ Because this is the greatest country in the world.”

But Burrell wasn’t done yet.

Credit: MLive.com / YouTube

During the meeting, Burtell also complained about discrimination being faced by white people.

“You think that … whites are the oppressors,” he said. “Here’s the evidence. You’ve got black racism all the time… try to be white and walk in a black neighborhood and see what happens.”

Even Burtell’s own son took to Facebook to call his father out for his racist comment.

Today my father asked a deliberately racist question at the Saline Area Schools diversity and inclusion meeting.His…

Posted by Matt Burtell on Monday, February 3, 2020

His comments were so provocative that Burtell’s son, Matt, condemned him in a Facebook post.

“Today my father asked a deliberately racist question at the Saline Area Schools diversity and inclusion meeting. His views of hate in no way represent my own,” Matt Burtell wrote. “I stand in solidarity with the refugees and immigrants of the world.”

The meeting was originally called to address racist bullying and taunts experienced by children at the school.

Credit: Nicole Hester / AP

The meeting had originally been organized to address instances of racism at high schools in the town of Saline, and a Latino father had taken the microphone to discuss how his son suffered from racist taunts in school.