Tamika Cross was on a Delta flight from Detroit to Minneapolis when she noticed one of the passengers had become unresponsive.
As a doctor, a resident OB-GYN physician at the University of Texas-Houston to be specific, she quickly jumped into action to help.
But what followed is what Cross describes as “blatant discrimination” when a flight attendant refused to believe that she was a physician, blocking her from attending to the sick passenger.
When a white man approached and said he was a physician, the flight attendant allegedly told Cross, “Thanks for your help but he can help us,” according to Cross.
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“She said, ‘Let me see your credentials. What type of doctor are you? Where do you work? Why were you in Detroit?’ (Please remember this man is still in need of help and she is blocking my row from even standing up while bombarding me with questions).”
Cross took to Facebook to vent her frustration. Her post went viral, with responses from other black women sharing their own testimonies at being disrespected, questioned, or dismissed.
“I’m sure many of my fellow young, corporate America working women of color can all understand my frustration when I say I’m sick of being disrespected,” Cross wrote.
The flight attendant apologized to Cross once the incident was taken care of, even offering her air miles, but Cross refused. A Delta spokeswoman said they were looking into the situation; Spokeswoman Catherine Sirna told The Guardian in a statement: “Discrimination of any kind is never acceptable. We’ve been in contact with Dr. Cross and one of our senior leaders is reaching out to assure her that we’re completing a full investigation.”
Cross’ story comes one week after a black female architect wrote a viral Facebook post about “banking while black” in Seattle, when, as reported by ESSENCE, she was unnecessarily questioned when trying to deposit a check.