Can you be too far and too black to fly on American Airlines now? Well according to one woman who had the police called on her, says too far and too black was the reason.
According to Black America Web, Amber Phillips, 28, writer and co-host of the of Black Joy Mixtape says that during a 30-minute flight an attendant called the cops on her because a white woman sitting next to her felt uncomfortable.
It started out as a verbal argument, a flight from North Carolina to Washington D.C. turned into a woman being questioned by cops on the tarmac after the flight lands. Why was she questioned? Amber Phillips says that there was an immediate sense of tension between her and the woman in the two chair row.
“I thought, ‘I really hope this woman isn’t mean to me… because I’m fat and black,” explained Phillips. “Because of the intersections of my identity, a black woman who takes up space, this is what my life could look like just because I dare to exist.”
Soon after getting onto the flight, they began arguing because the white woman did not want to be in contact with her.
“She kept being very aggressive and finally goes, ‘Can you move over?’” explained Phillips. She felt embarrassed by the whole situation because she was unable to move anywhere.
“So the plane takes off and I’m so sad,” Phillips said. “I have my hands folded in my lap. I just kept thinking, this is how fat people are treated on planes. Period.”
This was my view tonight because I made a white woman uncomfortable and held her accountable by AT LEAST making sure I documented her outrageous behavior of trying to humiliate me on a flight. @AmericanAir put my life and the life of other passagers in danger tonight. pic.twitter.com/yf9iyuubFq
— amber j. phillips (@AmberJPhillips) April 27, 2018
Upon landing, Phillips snapped a picture of the seats for documentation of the seat size. Taking the picture made the woman sharing the row with her uncomfortable and cause her to complain to the flight attendant about being harassed by Phillips.
Having already got off the plane and onto a shuttle bus, the flight attendant asked her to get off. “I asked why, and she said, ‘I’m calling security, I’m calling the cops and this bus isn’t moving,’” explained Phillips.
When she got off, she spoke with an officer who had previously spoken with the woman sitting next to her. The officer asked for her ID and explained to her that he was looking at the incident as an assault. He never asked for a statement from her according to Phillips.
“So I stepped back and made sure my hands are visible,” explained Phillips. After confirming that she wasn’t going to be arrested she left the tarmac and went home.
In a statement sent to Vice, American Airlines stated, “Upon landing in DCA shortly after 8 p.m. ET, one of the passengers requested to be escorted off the aircraft due to the altercation continuing.” It continues, “The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority Police Department was called to assist and removed both passengers. We take claims of discrimination very seriously and are continuing to investigate the details of this situation. We have reached out directly to the customers for more information.”
The Washington Police Department explained that both women cooperated with officers on the scene and that they didn’t find a threat and no arrest were made.