NAACP Warns Blacks about Travel on American Airlines Cites Individuals' Reports of Discrimination, 'Pattern of Behavior'; Company Seeks Dialogue

By Koenig, David; Holland, Jesse J. | The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), October 26, 2017 | Go to article overview

NAACP Warns Blacks about Travel on American Airlines Cites Individuals' Reports of Discrimination, 'Pattern of Behavior'; Company Seeks Dialogue


Koenig, David, Holland, Jesse J., The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)


DALLAS - The NAACP is warning African-Americans that if they fly on American Airlines, they may face discrimination or even safety issues.

American's CEO said Wednesday that he was disappointed by the announcement and that American wants to discuss the matter with the civil rights group.

The NAACP said that for several months it has watched a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers. Among them were separate cases in which an NAACP official and another civil rights activist were kicked off flights.

In an interview with the Associated Press, new NAACP President Derrick Johnson said they are not boycotting American Airlines, but the sheer number of events made them feel like they had to issue a warning.

"We're not telling people not to fly on American," he said. "We're just saying to individuals that here is an advisory note. We have picked up a pattern of a certain behavior of this corporation and until further notice be on alert."

American Airlines issued a statement saying that it serves customers of all backgrounds and itself has a diverse group of employees.

In a memo to employees, CEO Doug Parker said American endorses the NAACP's mission statement against racial discrimination.

"We do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind," Parker wrote. "We have reached out to the NAACP and are eager to meet with them to listen to their issues and concerns."

The NAACP highlighted four recent incidents in which African-American passengers said they were treated in a discriminatory way.

One involved the head of the North Carolina NAACP, the Rev. William Barber, who sued American after the airline summoned a police officer to remove him from a flight last year.

Barber said he had asked a flight attendant to tell two white passengers behind him to quiet down, but she was dismissive. …

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