Today I was watching the Today show and an airport mishap caught my eye. Last August, Miles and MacCraig Warren were flying home from a family member’s funeral on an U.S Airways airline flight. However, before the brothers were allowed to board the plane with their first class tickets, an airline employee forced the brothers to change from jeans and tee shirts to slacks and button downs. The employee also said if they refused to change, they would have to sit in the back of the plane because that “is the policy if you want to ride first class.” Interestingly enough, after changing, Miles and MacCraig went to their seats to find a white and Filipino passenger dressed in jeans and hoodies, the exact same clothes they were asked to change from.
Because there were other passengers of different races sitting in first class with jeans on, I have huge problem with this situation. It makes no logical sense to me why certain passengers, who specifically were African American, were forced to change, yet white and Pilipino passengers were not. This directly relates to Miles and MacCraig’s Civil Rights because it is obvious that race played a role in the reasoning as to why they were forced to change. I also agree with what their lawyer said. “If this is a policy, it has to be practiced at all times and not just selectively implemented when they want it to be implemented.” It would be a different story if every first class passenger was forced to wear nice clothing, but instead it was only implemented for African Americans on this specific flight, which is no doubt a racial injustice. While the brothers were not treated poorly, it still had to be very humiliating for them to be forced to change before boarding the flight. It is also a great example of how discrimination still very much exists today. Like we have talked about in class, there really is no master narrative for the Civil Rights movement in the American society because segregation and discrimination is still a daily occurrence. Interestingly enough, this certain event happened in Denver, Colorado, a city that is miles and miles away from the South. Therefore, I think it is important to remember that racism and civil rights violations are a prevalent part of the United States as a whole, and not just in the Deep South.
What do you think about this situation? Do you think it was a violation of their Civil Rights? Were you surprised that this happened in Denver rather than in the South?