South Carolina doctor Ashley Denmark was on a flight from Seattle to Hawaii earlier this month when the flight crew asked if there was a doctor on board. However, when Denmark offered her assistance, she says the flight crew didn’t believe she was a doctor.
“As I settled in to watch a movie and read a book, about 1 hour into our flight over the intercom, a flight attendant requested a doctor or nurse to report to front of cabin to assist a passenger. When duty calls it calls – even if you are 30,000 feet in air…The flight attendant didn’t believe I was a doctor and told me to have a seat while 2 nurses provided medical care to the passenger,” she shared on Facebook.
Denmark’s story comes after Dr. Tamika Cross accused another Delta flight crew of discrimination when they also refused to believe she was a doctor. Cross said when the crew needed medical assistance for a passenger on the flight she volunteered, but was told to go back to her seat because she did not have credentials. Instead, the crew allowed a white male doctor, who hadn’t shown his credentials either, to assist the passenger.
“She says to me “thanks for your help but he can help us, and he has his credentials”. (Mind you he hasn’t shown anything to her. Just showed up and fit the “description of a doctor”) I stay seated. Mind blown. Blood boiling. (Man is responding the his questions and is seemingly better now Thank God),” Cross wrote on Facebook.
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“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 went on to add that the flight attendant later came to her for more medical assistance and tried to apologize for her actions, offering Cross sky miles: “I kindly refused. This is going higher than her. I don’t want skymiles in exchange for blatant discrimination. Whether this was race, age, gender discrimination, it’s not right. She will not get away with this….and I will still get my skymiles….”
As for Denmark, she adds, “Despite overcoming and excelling academically and obtaining the title of Dr. in front of my name, I still get side-eye glances when I introduce myself as Dr. Denmark. Commonly, I’m mistaken for an assistant, janitor, secretary, nurse, student, etc even when I have my white coat on; I’m called these names more frequently than I would like instead of Dr. Denmark…It’s time for Americans who practice these kinds of behaviors to elevate their social consciousness and realize that African Americans are just as equally talented and capable of holding any job in this land. This incident with Delta Airlines just shines the light on how often times African American doctors and other professionals like myself endure discrimination.”