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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?  

5 REPLIES 5

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. 

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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?