A young STEAM activist says that while on a United Airlines flight, a white passenger in her row was moved after complaining to an attendant about being seated next to a Black woman.
She posted the incident to her Twitter account, saying “So yesterday while flying from Denver to Jacksonville, I had my first encounter with a white man who didn’t want to sit next to me because I was Black. Thank you @united for accommodating him. #flyingwhileblack”
The racist encounter, which was reported by The Independent, occurred on November 15. After 16-year-old Taylor Richardson tweeted about it, United responded with a request for the young woman to provide more details about what transpired. Taylor responded by stating that the airline rep “was not rude” and moved the disgruntled passenger to “not make a scene.”
“I guess it could have been worse if I had made a scene,” Taylor added. “I chose to not give him my time or energy.”
Several comments under her post addressed their distaste for the way white people are accommodated when uncomfortable. “The attendant was rattled, but moving him was absolutely wrong,” one user wrote. “It gave credibility to his harassment. She should have moved you to First Class if you were not already there. You were being harrassed and United should have trained its attendants better.”
Others praised the young woman for the way she handled herself. “I’m sad you went through that, it’s ridiculous and childish. You handled this like a very mature adult. Respect to you young lady, I would be honored to sit next to you anytime!”
Taylor said she was disappointed by the behavior of her fellow passenger but she’s not going to let the encounter get her down. ”It could have been worse. I’m home, I’m safe and the truth is unless he changes and people like him change it won’t be my last encounter. I just continue to do me. He’s a grown man and I’m just 16yo so being slient [sic] and showing respect I feel showed volume! Love not hate!” she capped the encounter.