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Joseph Kaminski

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September 26, 2017

The #FlyingWhileBlack Conspiracy


On Friday, March 25th, Imani Cezanne, a self-proclaimed poet and activist, got on board an American Airlines plane to fly to Atlanta. After an apparent skirmish with a flight attendant, she found herself removed from the plane and consequently banned from ever flying on the airline again. Cezanne, fuming with anger, immediately went to Twitter to start up a thread of what has been labeled as “flying while black”…among many other things.

Let me start off by saying I support the Black Lives Matter Movement. I’m not one of those middle class white boys that believe it should be “All Lives Matter”. I understand that the movement is about letting the American judicial system and police force understand that black lives do in fact matter when comparative to white lives or any other lives. The idea is a movement: one that is sure to gain more and more popularity as more and more victims of police brutality and judicial corruption come into the limelight. I support the people of the Black Lives Matter Movement that protest nonviolently. I support the people of the Black Lives Matter Movement that do not pull the race card every time something does not go their way.

Unfortunately, after reading through the thread Imani Cezanne posted…that’s what I see. I see an activist (who was even wearing an activist shirt at the time) blowing everything out of proportion and pulling the race card over and over again out of anger.

She starts her entire rage-induced rant with “Who knows a lawyer? Specifically one that is well versed in racism/discrimination. American Airlines bout to cash this Black girl out.” This first tweet, one of at least 30 to follow, sets the tone nicely for the remainder of the emotion-induced tweetstorm. I understand that it’s frustrating to be kicked off a plane. I understand that it’s frustrating to be banned from said airlines with no real idea of what’s going on. But to immediately pull the race card? There were other African Americans on that plane. It is not a race crime that you were booted off.

Ever since 9/11, the American system for transportation has raised security tenfold. American Airlines is no exception. It’s no surprise that someone was kicked off a plane before takeoff. If someone can be labeled as a threat to safety on the ground, imagine what flight attendants could possibly see happening 30,000 feet within the Earth’s atmosphere?

The second rage-induced tweet states “Never in my life have I encountered such blatant, irrefutable racism. Never.” Well, that’s shocking from a member of the Black Lives Matter Movement wearing an activist shirt that dawns a list of names that the movement itself created itself upon.

This girl was not shot dead by police officers based on the color of her skin.

This girl was not arrested and put in jail only to die because of lack of care due to the color of her skin.

This girl was not beaten half to death on the side of the road based on the color of her skin.

This girl was not refused to right to eat at an establishment for “doing nothing more than existing in this Black body”.

She was asked to get off of an airplane because she questioned the flight attendant in a rather rude way. Yet this is suddenly the most “blatant, irrefutable racism” the “activist” has ever encountered in her life. She literally set herself up for people against the Black Lives Matter Movement to call her out on using a race card. She literally set herself up for questioning.

According to her, she sat in an exit row across the aisle from a couple that could not speak English. A flight attendant came up to that couple and asked them to switch seats with someone because “If you don’t speak English you cannot sit in an exit row.” This is understandable, as she is unable to explain/understand procedure given at the beginning of the flight. Imani Cezanne explains that she asked the flight attendant why this matters, and later states that she understood the situation and completely understood the flight attendant’s reasoning.

After the “skirmish” with the flight attendant, she was interrupted and asked “Are you going to be a problem?” by some unnamed representative of the plane. While the activist claims she was trying to “calmly have a conversation” with someone, we have yet to hear from any other witnesses on the plane.

Nobody is standing up for her — including the other members of the “black community” that were on the plane with her. For all we know her tone could have been incredibly rude or even threatening. Her inner “activist” could have taken over, and her “questioning for authority” could have deemed herself as threatening to people. Although she claimed to be using her “inside voice”, tone could have screwed her over.

She was then escorted off the plane by “two armed Caucasian males”, once again bringing race into this scenario. She claimed that she thought she was going to die.

Girl, you got escorted off of a plane.

You were not threatened at all.

Merely protocol for the plane to remove someone who could be deemed a threat — regardless of race.

After several tweets of her threatening to sue, bringing the word “Black” into the rage too many times to count, complaining that she had no way to get to her destination, and begging for retweets, she went silent; claiming to have been contacted by American Airlines with “more to come”.

No witnesses from the plane have stepped forward — during or after the problem — and we have yet to hear a statement from American Airlines. As of right now? It seems like an unfortunate circumstance left this poor girl off the plane. Perhaps she didn’t recognize her tone, which set off the airline attendant. We do not know the other side to this story. All we know is a rage-induced emotional rant from the “professional victim” of the story. Therefore, it is too quick to immediately accept the story as reality.

I don’t believe this story has anything to do with race.

I don’t believe she was booted off the plane for merely “existing in this Black body”, despite her constant use of the phrase “Black girl”.

I believe she questioned authority, perhaps rather rudely, and found herself in an argument with flight attendants and later the manager. Therefore, the ‘white privilege’ tweetstorm is nothing more than a dramatic hyperbole of the situation — one where an activist wearing an activist shirt is perhaps trying to get some national attention over something relatively small and not harmful in the least. This is not about flying while black, it’s about someone getting mad at the airline industry because of a mistake. Please stop bringing race into this kind of stuff.

She should probably get a refund, or in the very least get a free flight in the future. She also needs to calm down before ranting on Twitter without hearing back from an actual representative from the Airlines — not some intern at customer service. Is what American Airlines did right? Not at all; and this is all one big misunderstanding. Is what Imani Cezanne did right? Not at all; so we need to all calm down about this.

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