Delta Gives A Whole New Meaning to White Flight

Beyond the Adam Saleh case: A pattern of abuse

By Emma Rosenthal
Even pranksters get to fly, but you might not know that from the twitterati, replicating the “he asked for it.” argument, and the Zimmerman defense of white fear. (Yes, I know Zimmerman isn’t white, but he was functioning within whiteness when he attack on Treyvon Martin).
There’s no evidence that Adam Saleh was pranking on this flight. By all accounts he was speaking on the phone in Arabic to his mom. Even Delta’s statement reveals that it was the sheer number of people who were “uncomfortable” that resulted in Saleh’s removal from the flight. As he left, Saleh videotaped his expulsion and the white passengers were clearly visible mockingly saying “good bye” and waving. But if people were so scared of him, what explains their ridicule of Saleh as he was escorted off the flight? That’s not how terrorized people act. That’s how racist bullies act when they get their way because of power and entitlement.
This is the same airline that didn’t let a Black Dr treat a distressed patient (that is, the patient was unresponsive and the flight attendant told the Dr that they needed a “real doctor.”
This is the same airline that let a very boisterous white dude go on and on about Trump and called people “Hillary Bitches” in a manner I would find frightening.
If speaking in Arabic or someone counting to 10 in Arabic (one of his actual pranks but not conducted on that flight), can provoke someone to hysteria, if someone is THAT easily trolled, they deserve to be. Trolling only revealed their racism, only revealed them to be the threat that they are, informed by their racism. Racism is systemic terrorism for the targets of racism. Racism is entitlement and power in the hands of those privileged by racism.
This doesn’t mean other antics by Adam Saleh don’t warrant critique, as some are pointing out otherwise racist and sexist antics of his in other contexts, but if he passed security to get on the flight and wasn’t threatening anyone and his only disturbance was speaking to his mom on the phone in Arabic, then it’s outrageous people are now defending the white bigots on the flight who “didn’t feel safe” or the airline that condoned those ugly white feelz.

Links, notes and context:

2. And she’s not the first Black woman doctor, Delta Airlines passes over, risking customer safety, yes, this actually has happened before (for those naive enough to think racism is a one time thing.)
Discrimination 30,000 Feet Above
3. Delta apparently doesn’t think Latinas can be doctors either. (Can we call it racism yet?– and if you need a white witness, with medical credentials, i apologize that the witness is just a woman (doctor), but she’ll have to do.)
Yes, There IS a Doctor on The Plane. What I Learned at 30,000 Feet.
4. And this whole Muslim family was moved TO THE BACK OF THE PLANE instead of the abusive disruptive (white) passenger.
Delta Investigating After Muslim Woman In Hijab Was Allegedly Harassed On Flight

And then there was this dudebro:

5. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather sit next to Adam Saleh than this bigoted dude, any day. I know which one scares me more!
Trump Supporter Calls Passengers “Hillary Bitches”
6. Eyewitness account by the woman who filmed the shouting white dudebro:
‘It’s Going to Be Viral!’: Eyewitness Says Passenger Told Her to Tape His Pro-Trump Rant
I used to be a flight attendant. Dealing with passengers’ racism is part of the job.…
8 .So apparently several white passengers felt uncomfortable with Saleh speaking Arabic (and apparently ending a conversation with his mom, with the common phrase “Inshallah”- God willing), and they STARTED the commotion and told him to “speak English”, which is racism 101. As a former classroom teacher I heard too many times how the target of bullying was the problem due to the number of bullies instigating the abuse, or expressing “concern” and “discomfort”. It doesn’t matter how many people are “uncomfortable” if the reason for their discomfort is their racism and bigotry. At what point can we demand that racism is the threat, not the perceived threat the racists experience in their racist minds.
Delta responds to YouTube star Adam Saleh’s Arabic discrimination…
9. And here are a few other cases of Delta’s history of discrimination, including confusing a breast pump for a bomb.
Is Delta Racist? Adam Saleh And 4 Times Flight Passengers Reported Discrimination
This entry was posted in Delta Gives A Whole New Meaning to White Flight, HUMAN RIGHTS, RACISM, Sexism, SOCIAL JUSTICE by emmarosenthal. Bookmark the permalink.

About emmarosenthal

Emma Rosenthal is an artist, writer, educator, reiki practitioner, farmer and human rights activist, living in Southern California, whose work combines art, activism, education and grassroots mobilization. As a person with a disability she is confined, not by her disability but by the narrow and marginalizing attitudes and structures of the society at large. She is the founder and co-director of The WE Empowerment Center and Café Intifada, and she lives and works at Dragonflyhill Urban Farm. As an educator her emphasis has been in the areas of bilingual and multicultural education. Her experience as a grassroots organizer, political essayist and speaker has been life long and has included many progressive causes. Her work seeks to combine art, activism, education and grassroots mobilization. Her poetry and prose is impassioned, sensual, political, life affirming and powerful. In her writing she explores the use of art and literary expression to elicit an ethos more compelling than dogma and ideological discourse, providing new paradigms for community, communion, connection and human transformation. She has been a featured poet and speaker throughout Southern California at a variety of venues and programs including; The Arab-American Festival, Highways Performance Space, The Autry Museum, Barnes and Nobel, Poetic License, Borders/Pasadena, Beyond Baroque, Freedom Fries Follies (a fundraiser for The Center for the Study of Political Graphics), KPFK, Arts in Action, Chafey College, UC Irvine and Hyperpoets. Her work has appeared in several publications including Lilith Magazine, The Pasadena Star News, The San Gabriel Tribune, The San Gabriel Valley Quarterly, LoudMouth Magazine (CSLA), Coloring Book; An Eclectic Anthology of Multicultural Writers (Rattlecat Press 2003), Muse Apprentice Guild and the Anthology, Shifting Sands, Jewish-American Women Speak Out Against the Occupation, Spring 2010. Her work has shown in several galleries in the Southern California area, including the Galleries at Whittier College, and Pasadena City College, as well as Beans and Leaves Coffeehouse in Covina, CA.

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