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Travelling While Black

Had a funny situation happen some years ago on a flight from LAX to DC.  Used a few miles to upgrade into First, as I was a bit wiped out from a fast turnaround and long set of meetings as I had flown in on the late flight the previous night. Got stuck in the Window seat, which is rarely my preference. An attractive white, apparently housewife age woman who also looked a bit tired sat next to me in the aisle seat. Said hello, and laid back to read my book. Wound up snoozing off about an hour into the flight. I was awakened by the feeling of weight upon my shoulder and arm. She had fallen asleep, and not only had her head on my shoulder, but arms wrapped around my left arm on the seat rest. Couldn’t see waking her up to tell her to move, so I laid my head back and continued to read. Just before landing she woke up to find herself in that position, at which point she apologized. Told her, it was OK, and not to worry about it. A couple of tired business travelers.

To be honest, I have never really experienced the following. Or, more likely if I did, I just ignored it. I have frequently swapped seats on a crowded flight so that families could sit together. I have run into people who wanted to have a conversation, and those who prefer their solitude. Respect both types.

Photos via Etan Thomas Facebook

Ex-NBA star Etan Thomas busts racist woman for only letting whites sit next to her on train

A popular ex-NBA player and celebrated poet/activist took to Facebook to describe one of the indignities that black men face everyday, as a white woman refused to let him sit next to her on a crowded train — only to give the seat to a white man moments later.

According to Etan Thomas — who played most of his 9-year career with the Washington Wizards before going on to become an accomplished poet and speaker on the responsibilities of fatherhood  — got on a local train recently.  Seeing few seats available, he asked a young white woman if he could take the empty seat next to her.

“I ask this lady if I could sit next to her (very politely and I soften my voice as to not frighten her) and she says someone is sitting here,” he wrote. “So I go to the next seat. Now, less than 2 mins later a man (who happens to be white) asks if he can sit there and she says why sure let me move my stuff.”

That was when he confronted her.

“I ask ummmmm did you just not want ME to sit next to you ? Were you scared ? Not comfortable with a Black Man sitting next to you?” he explained. “And she says lol smh don’t pull the race card stuff with me I dated a Black guy in college.”

The man who had taken the seat grew uncomfortable listening to conversation and offered to move, leading Thomas to say it was okay, but then Thomas told the woman that he was going to take a picture to share with the world — and things took a turn, but in an unexpected way.

“So then she says did you just take a pic of me? Well I’m going to tell the conductor that you’re over here illegally taking pics of ppl without their consent,” he recounted. “So the conductor came up and said hey Etan Thomas love what you’re doing in the community loved you with the Wizards big Cuse fan man the Knicks sure could use you …. And I said was there something you wanted to tell my man?”

According to Thomas, “And she rolled her eyes smh some ppl I tell ya.”

Below is the picture Thomas took of the woman –and the man who took the seat, but obviously wanted no part in what happened afterward.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Math Professor Stopped For Terrorism on Flight For Writing Down Formulas

Another one of those ignorant Trump nut-job types overreacting…

Guido Menzio (Image source: University of Pennsylvania)

University of Pennsylvania Professor Guido Menzio

Dark, Curly Haired Man With Olive Skin Suspected of Terrorism After Intensely Scribbling Strange Script Aboard Plane. But There’s Just One Problem.

Something about her airplane seatmate didn’t sit right with her.

He had dark, curly hair, olive skin and a foreign accent. When she tried some small talk on the Thursday evening jaunt from Philadelphia to Syracuse, New York, he replied bluntly as though he couldn’t be bothered at the moment.

She took the hint. But what was up with his scribbling on the notepad? She noticed how intensely he seemed to approach whatever it was he was working on, but she couldn’t make out what his script could possibly represent. And it all added up, for her, to an unsettling feeling.

So after the plane had finished boarding, she handed a flight attendant a note, the Washington Post reported.

A half hour went by with American Airlines flight 3950 remaining on the tarmac, and the flight attendant returned to the woman and asked if she now felt okay to fly or was “too sick,” the Post said.

She said she was okay, but soon the plane was headed back to the gate where the woman was escorted off, the paper said.

Finally the captain approached that intense, dark curly haired man who had been sitting next to the woman who just deplaned — and now he was being escorted off the flight as well.

An airline agent told the man he was suspected of terrorism, the Post said — mostly because of whatever it was his former seatmate had seen him intensely scribbling (but his look and accent apparently gave her pause, too).

The man under investigation laughed, the paper said.

He wasn’t scribbling in Arabic or penning code for a terrorist plot — he was in the middle of a math equation.

Guido Menzio hails from Italy and is a well-regarded economist who’s an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

In fact, he won the prestigious Carlo Alberto Medal in 2015, set aside for the best Italian economist under 40.

As for his scribbling, Menzio was headed to Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, where he would be lecturing about menu costs and price dispersion, the Post said, and was attempting to nail down some figures on the plane.

The Ivy League prof let those concerned see his work for themselves, and he was allowed to return to his seat, he told the Post by email, adding that the pilot seemed embarrassed. Two hours after it was set to take off, the 41-minute flight finally got off the ground.

Menzio’s former seatmate never returned to the plane, and an American Airlines spokesman told the Post she initially told the flight attendant she was feeling ill — but after deplaning explained to authorities her concerns about Menzio were behind her condition.

Menzio told the paper he was “treated respectfully throughout” but is unimpressed by a “broken system that does not collect information efficiently.” He added to the Post that airline security protocol “is too rigid — in the sense that once the whistle is blown everything stops without checks – and relies on the input of people who may be completely clueless. ”

He even got a little political with the Post, noting the presidential campaign has increased xenophobia: “What might prevent an epidemic of paranoia?” Menzio wrote to the paper. “It is hard not to recognize in this incident, the ethos of [Donald] Trump’s voting base.”

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2016 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Black Liberation Army Hijacker Caught After 40 Years

Considering the number of active criminals in the US – Sans the murder conviction, I’m not sure why spending time and resource chasing this guy down in Portugal after 40 years makes much sense (Where in the world is D.B. Cooper?)…

George Wright

Fugitive in hijacking case caught after 40-year hunt

Reporting from New York— The FBI agents wore swimsuits — the better to ensure they were unarmed as they delivered $1 million in cash to the hijackers. The criminals wore beatific looks, traveled with young children and were “polite as possible,” a passenger on the ill-fated Delta flight recalled at the time.

For one man, it was the perfect crime — for nearly 40 years.

But on Tuesday, the FBI said it had caught up with the last hijacker, a convicted killer named George Wright who had escaped from prison in 1970 and resurfaced two years later when he joined members of a radical black nationalist group in forcing the jet to fly to Algeria.

Wright, now 68, was picked up outside his home in Portugal as he headed to a neighborhood cafe, said Michael Schroeder, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service in New Jersey.

“Can you imagine?” Schroeder said, envisioning Wright’s surprise when Portuguese police, who had Wright under surveillance and were working in collaboration with U.S. officials, captured the fugitive. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in General

 

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The 6 Mile High Fight Club

Now, if this had been black passengers – Faux News would have headlined it as a riot…

Mass brawl at 30,000 feet: British holidaymakers in 30-minute fight on Virgin flight to Barbados

Up to 12 British holiday-makers are being questioned by police in Barbados after a ‘vicious’ brawl broke out at 30,000ft on a flight to the Caribbean island.

The passengers, who are thought to have been drinking, had to be split up by fellow travellers and the Virgin flight’s crew.

At least one man ended up with a black eye and a woman had her arm in a sling following the half-hour bout of violence on the flight from Gatwick.

They were dressed up and witnesses said they seemed to be heading out for ‘a special occasion’.

One passenger said problems began about halfway into the eight-hour flight, when one woman had an issue with another traveller.

Elsa Brandford, 70, said: ‘It was unbelievable, it was like something out of a movie.

‘I was looking at it and wondering if I was still watching my in-flight movie.

‘A woman shouted ”You swore in front of my child”. She said it about six times, each time louder than the last one. She said ”And it’s my birthday”.

‘I couldn’t hear what the other person said but I heard more and more voices getting involved.

‘There was about five minutes of shouting while people gathered around and before I knew it they were throwing punches and jumping on each other.

‘Most of the people involved were sitting in that area and just standing on their seats while throwing punches.

‘It was vicious. It was frightening. There were punches going off in all directions. I never expected to see something like that.

‘But as it went on people came round to try to split them up and about half an hour later they had it under control.’

She said all passengers were ordered to remain in their seats for the rest of the flight, with bathroom breaks being allowed after two hours.

Police said their investigation was on going and they were still interviewing suspects and airline staff.

They confirmed about ‘ten to 12’ passengers, all thought to be British, had taken part in a ‘reported fight’ but could not provide any more information.

 

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2011 in Nawwwwww!

 

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Reaching For Racism in Response to Terrorism

Once again, the knee jerk reaction of the right is to reach for racism instead of coming up with comprehensive answers to terrorism. In the past, this sort of right wing racism has led to to less efficient and weaker security.

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The bomber managed to evade airport security in Nigeria. Whether that is because the airport there didn’t have sophisticated (and expensive) explosives sniffing equipment, the attempted bomber had help – or he simply bribed his way in is unknown. As the son of a wealthy, well known businessman in a country where corruption is rampant – more than likely the answer is the latter.

Once he was in the supposedly “scanned” part of the system, he normally wouldn’t have had to go through security again until he reached his destination. This suggests the “trust level” of the Airport Security at the Nigerian Airport needs to be re-evaluated, and potentially passengers from that airport need to be re-screened prior to boarding another flight – just as they are when flying in from places with little or no security systems. The explosive material he was carrying, PETN is well known, and if he was screened properly would have set off every alarm in the system.

As to the ethnic profiling preferred by Republican fools – granting yet another level of white privilege in freedom from security suspicion stupidly ignores the fact that of the world’s 1 billion Muslims…

Some of them have blond hair and blue eyes.

more about “Reaching For Racism in Response to Te…“, posted with vodpod
 
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Posted by on December 28, 2009 in News

 

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