US Airways; The Un-Friendly Sky for Africans!
by InPDUM President Diop Olugbala
On my flight from Chicago into my layover city of Charlotte I had a situation with a flight attendant named “Dan” (a white man) on US Airways.
As the flight was about to take off he told me to turn off my phone. Fine. I was trying to get an email out before I shut my phone off. All the while he is staring at me. This is even as the white lady next to me was using her phone, which she later admitted doing in her statement to US Airways management.
Dan wouldn’t stop. After I put my phone away he sits down in the special retractable flight attendants chair opposite of me. When he sits down he looks at me and says “I will be watching you and your ugly hat, bro” (referring to my Yankees cap).
Now, I’m thinking to myself this is just another arrogant white man. This shit been happening all my life etc. I told him swiftly, look but don’t touch. And that was it, so I thought. The white lady next to me, Dayna, was surprisingly appalled. Actually from the first point of my contact with Dan she said to me “geez what’s HIS problem?”
Later, before the Yankees cap comment, she said “He either doesn’t like Black people or he knows you because he definitely is acting inappropriately. I’m just telling her the shit happens all the time and that I had no plans to retaliate. I was just trying to get to my destination.
Dayna would not let it go, especially after the Yankees cap statement. She insisted that I allow her to file a complaint once we landed, so I said sure.
When the flight landed we went to management and made formal statements. Dayna was almost in tears as she described the encounter.
I was thinking to myself “damn if she thinks this is bad imagine if she found out what the police do to us.”
Anyway, we ended up filing informal statements to US Airways management forces. I recorded much of that encounter on video. Dayna eventually left and went on with her business, not before wishing me luck etc. I got her info and I think we should follow-up about solidarity. She describes herself as “conservative” however, I guess she has sons and a kind of bourgeois moral conscious that couldn’t rationalize what had just transpired.