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racism on Southwest airlines

New Arrival

recently a friend of mine experienced racism on a Southwest airline flight where a passenger would not sit by her and moved seats because my friend was "brown" and openly commented that it was because she was "brown".  My friend contacted Southwest to discuss how upset she was by this and their response was that Southwest with their open seating policy trust that passengers will work out the seating amongst themselves.  Seriously???  Have you ever experienced racism on Southwest airlines?  

10 REPLIES 10
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Re: racism on Southwest airlines

New Arrival

Today's story about a mother with a biracial baby having to prove the child was hers was disturbing as she was held to a different standard of proof than other mothers.

 

This is not the first incident of this type on Southwest this year, about the sixth I've heard of.

 

Coming on the day of Roseanne's extreme racism and the day that Starbucks took a day off to brief it's employees on everyday racism is a curious twist.

 

There's a special on MSNBC tonight on everyday racism that all SWA employees should watch.

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Re: racism on Southwest airlines

Active Member

@DanMartin
Racism is an unfortunate reality in America, there is no denying it. But Southwest does an outstanding job of hiring People of all races and backgrounds. As Lindsay Gottlieb (the mother of the biracial child) said, the incident that occured today in Denver was reflective of one insensitive employee, not the entire airline.

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Re: racism on Southwest airlines

Top Contributor

And hopefully that employee is dealt with appropriately. 

Re: racism on Southwest airlines

New Arrival

From a company's perspective you can't assume it's one employee.  After all that was just one customers experince.  Good businesses, like Starbucks, know this and recognize that corporate culture sometimes needs a reset and they closed down yesterday to do just that. The number of cases like this on Southwest in the last year suggest that they may need a cultural reset too.

 

I started flying Southwest when I was living in Texas in the early 1980s.  There was a charming humorous culture then that they've had to lose a bit of in recent years as they're in much more multicultural markets like California Chicago and the northeast.  It's a lot easier to offend with the lame old jokes that I loved.  But losing bad jokes to prevent personal offense is a fair trade. 

 

As they stretch their wings more to South and central America they'll need to have a resiliant easy-going corporate culture that can deftly handle an increasingly diverse market with charm.  They'd be wise to use this incident and others as a wake up call to re-train their employees to leave any of the biases they may have at home when they go to work.  It's not enough to hire a diverse workforce and assume that's enough; they have to be vigilent to protect us from one another.  They don't have time for fools like that gate agent.

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Re: racism on Southwest airlines

Active Member

@khussman
The passenger who would not sit by your friend because of her race was truly despicable, there is no question about that.

How would you suggest Southwest handle situations like this?

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Racism on Southwest airlines

New Arrival

I had a man 6 inches taller than me and at least 100 lbs larger than me reach across the isle and poke me in the arm telling me to shut up because his girl friend doesn't like the sound of my voice. I said excuse me? I am a 5'6, 160 lb half Filipino man and this guy looks about 6'3, 280 lbs.

He proceeded to threaten me with a physical beat down if I don't shut my mouth. I informed him that I was a trained hand fighter and I was not afraid to defend myself.

He gets up and walks to the front of the plane.

Next thing I know I'm being escorted to the back row of the plane by the flight crew that informs me the police would be waiting for me at the gate. I asked for what? Apparently a guy and his girlfriend reported me for threatening them. Seriously, a 6'3, 280lb guy.

I sat in the back of the plane internally upset by the entire ordeal, and 20 minutes later, "big guy" walks by me on his way to the bathroom, and on his way back from the bathroom he leans down and whispers in my ear: "Gotcha N-word".

I am not from African decent, but I do take offense to racism and bullying.

I explained the story to the police when we landed and they said it's my word against him and his entire entourage. They apologized for the situation and I thanked them for their service.

I am hopeful that my story will help stop the racism and bullying that still happens in 2020.

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Re: Racism on Southwest airlines

Top Contributor

There are idiots in lots of places.

 

I'm sorry that you had to run in to one of them.

 

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Re: Racism on Southwest airlines

Employee
Employee

We're deeply sorry to hear this, @Krivo12000. Demonstrating a biased, hurtful attitude is not condoned at Southwest Airlines. Discrimination and racism for any reason are wrong. As a peer-to-peer support forum, we are not equipped to assist you here, but we encourage you to reach out via any of the options in the link below.

 

Submitting a Suggestion and/or Complaint 

 

Nicole
Community Manager
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Re: racism on Southwest airlines

Active Member

Hmmm...blaming or even attributing this to SWA is like blaming Disneyland if you experience racism from the guy standing next to you in line for the Matterhorn.  They have no control over who buys a ticket, and little control over  bad attitudes on their premises. 

 

Associating them with said behavior and/or expecting them to police every microaggression isn't realistic.    You can't make laws against being an jerk.