Daniel Roth, Daily Mail, October 25, 2017
The NAACP is warning members of the African-American community about flying with American Airlines following a string of ‘disturbing incidents.’
Issuing an advisory on Tuesday, the civil rights organization suggests a ‘corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias’ is being fostered at the airline and urged passengers to exercise caution before flying with the company.
‘The NAACP for several months now has been monitoring a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines,’ the NAACP said in a statement.
‘In light of these confrontations, we have today taken the action of issuing national advisory alerting travelers — especially African-Americans — to exercise caution, in that booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions.’
A spokesperson for American Airlines, Shannon Gilson, denied that it was purposefully discriminating against travelers, insisting that American Airlines is ‘committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone.’
‘Our team members — a diverse community of gate agents, pilots, and flight attendants — are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds,’ according to CNN.
The NAACP listed a number of examples which the organization claims adds up to a pattern of exclusionary behavior aimed at African-American individuals.
‘We are aware of these incidents only because the passengers involved knew their rights, knew to speak up and exercised the courage to do so promptly,’ the NAACP statement said.
The NAACP did not provide the names or the exact dates of the incidents.
But earlier this month, national co-chair of the Women’s March movement Tamika D. Mallory was kicked off a flight traveling from Miami to New York.
Mallory said that she was escorted off her flight by the plane’s pilot after speaking with a ‘nasty’ and ‘disrespectful’ gate agent about a sudden change to her seating assignment.
‘It definitely was white male aggression,’ she said, according to The New York Daily News. ‘I was singled out, I was disrespected, and he was trying to intimidate me.’
In response, American Airlines said at the time of the incident that the company ‘does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.’
‘We take these allegations seriously, and we are in the process of reaching out to our colleagues in Miami, as well as Ms. Mallory, to obtain additional information on what transpired during the boarding process,’ American Airlines added.
It remains unclear if Mallory’s case was cited in the NAACP travel-advisory.
Social media users acted with alarm shortly after the NAACP issued the advisory, with many lamenting over the issue of racial discrimination in American society.
‘It this 2017? What is happening in the US?,’ one person tweeted incredulously.
‘I mean, NAACP might as well warn black folks about LIVING in AMERICA not just flying American Airlines,’ another person wrote on Twitter.
Not everyone agreed, however, saying that the NAACP warning was stoking racial tensions rather that abating them.
In August, the NAACP issued its first ever state-wide travel advisory against Missouri, citing a number of discriminatory incidents in the state.