Black On The 4th Of July: Blogger Shares Unpleasant Plane Experience After Spotting Seatmate Text “Sitting Thigh To Thigh With A Big Fat N-Word”

Posted on - By

Categories: For Discussion, News, Race Matters, SMH

DSC_0182-e1372911107236-620x412

If you’re anything like us, the 4th of July holiday was met with mixed emotions. But things were particularly tough for a black professor and blogger who experienced racism firsthand on the plane ride home to Louisiana for the holiday weekend.

Brittney Cooper shared her story via Salon.com, which we’ve excerpted below:

As we boarded, I noticed that this mom and I would be sitting in the same row, I in the window seat, she in the center. As we sat awaiting takeoff, I finished a text conversation and signaled to the flight attendant for a seat-belt extender, a fat passenger’s best friend. Then just as the call came to shut our phones off, I glanced over at her, and she was still texting, rapidly. I caught a few words of the end of her text that made me look more intently: “on the plane, sitting thigh to thigh with a big fat n***er. Lucky me.”

Immediately I was hyper-aware – looking around, feeling marked, wondering if others find my large, dark-skinned body as distasteful as my seatmate did.

Even so, I was acutely aware, at least intellectually, that the problem lay with her and not me. But what would my recourse be. Though she was no toothpick herself, she is a white lady, a mom, with children and a husband – all the trappings of American middle-class respectability. Moreover, she sent those words in a private text communication. I am a fat, dark-skinned black woman. Had I gone off and set it off as she deserved, in all probability I would have been seen as the terrorist threat. Especially on the eve of the Fourth of July.

I started by sharing her words in a status update on Facebook — in part because in recent days, I have seen one too many friends, both black and white, readily defending Paula Deen, and arguing that her use of the N-word was an understandable byproduct of her Southern roots and most assuredly a relic of a bygone era.

However, as far as I could tell, this young family, in which the parents looked to be mid- to late 30s, were Northerners. So after waiting awhile and getting a handle on the tears that started coming steadily after I saw her words, I simply got her attention and asked her to read the Facebook status from my smartphone.

She saw it, kind of grunted her assent, and then said nothing. So I pressed forward, in a low voice: “I just want to let you know that your words were hurtful. And I hope you don’t pass that kind of ignorance down to your beautiful boys.” She replied curtly, “I don’t.”

What would you have done if you were Brittney?

More from MommyNoire

More from StyleBlazer & MadameNoire

blog comments powered by Disqus
No thanks
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 10,306 other followers