One of the things about being Black is
When I heard the news story early last Monday morning I immediately thought, ‘there they go again’, another person trying to impose [his] racial birthright – whiteness – on another Black person, this one a 77-year-old Black woman who had boarded a Ryanair aircraft for a flight to London, England.
Having heard the story that morning I couldn’t wait to get home to see if the story made the evening news. And there it was on the NBC evening news.
Here’s the literal setup on the plane, according to an eyewitness account provided by David Lawrence, a passenger.
‘A few rows behind him, a ruddy-faced man with grey hair and dark-rimmed glasses was yelling at a Black woman seated along the aisle.’
“I heard this man shouting at this woman, saying, ‘You’re in my way, get out! I don’t want you here next to me!’” Lawrence told The Washington Post in a phone interview…
So there he was, that Englishman, seemingly mentally steeped in colonial ethos and unable to cleanse his mind from that dubious era when Britannia ruled the waves, and colonials (nonwhites) were… and had to defer to colonial diehards like that relic of a passenger.
As often is the case when some people engage in unsociable and uncouth behaviour, that relic was “in the zone…” probably so consumed in his whiteness—nothing has been said about him having consumed alcohol, not unusual for certain passengers on long distance flights—that he completely forgot about the ubiquitous cell phone. Such gadgets were not even dreamed of in his day, the ‘bad ole’ days of Britannia when colonialism and racial superiority ruled.
But Lawrence who had just settled into his seat knew something was imminent and had the presence of mind to do what has become the norm whenever one is in a venue and senses something is about to go down. So he grabbed his electronic eye and began capturing the uncouth colonial relic’s misbehaviour, which I saw on that evening news story.
While the elderly man didn’t get into a physical altercation with the woman, she was becoming uneasy as he spouted his colonial, racist invectives. Calling her a “cow” and whatnot.
From what I saw on the news, there was a seat separating both of them, but he just didn’t want the Black woman sitting next to him.
“I tell you, I hope somebody sits there,” the man tells the elderly woman, gesturing toward the empty middle seat between them.
“’Cause I don’t want to sit next to your (indistinguishable…)” The rest of the sentence is unclear, though he appears to call her “sickly,” “fat” and “ugly.”
I believe at one point I heard the obnoxious colonial refer to the woman as a “cow.”
But here’s something, rather than challenging the uncouth colonial relic, a flight attendant asks the woman whether she would like to sit elsewhere.
“Put her to another seat!” he shouts, “I tell you this. If you don’t go to another seat, I’ll put you to another seat!”
The elderly woman says something back at him, prompting the man to retort angrily: “Don’t talk to me in a ‘fuddle duddling’ foreign language, you stupid ugly cow!” and then “Ugly Black bastard!”
Yes, he did refer to her as a cow.
Not seen on the cell phone footage is the woman’s daughter who was seated in another part of the aircraft but noticed what was happening, and went to confront the man.
“Who are you talking to,” she said. “Don’t shout at her, that’s my mother, she’s disabled.”
Lawrence, recalled that the elderly woman had boarded the plane in a wheelchair.
Apparently, there were no repercussions for that colonial relic and his primitive, bad behaviour and disrespect of that senior woman.
Needless to say many people who saw the incident on social media were shocked, especially with the outcome, the elderly woman being moved to another seat. Not the least of whom was Lawrence who captured the incident.
“I thought the flight attendant was going to call someone and escort the man off the flight… They moved the woman instead of moving him. That was shocking to me,” he told a reporter.
Well Mr. Lawrence, thanks capturing that other black-white incident. But don’t be shocked; incidents with racial under/overtones are the norm for Black people. They happen everyday in one form or another, especially when police are involved with Black men and the results are often deadly.
I’m thinking you probably pay attention to the news and know what’s going on.
But here’s something, that obnoxious, colonial relic is damn lucky that he didn’t get tangled up with a no nonsense kind of Black person – male or female – who was having a bad day, frustrated with all the ‘pick on Black people incidents’. Those eyeglasses would’ve been pushed into his face. Or perhaps he would’ve been thrown out the window, never mind the risk of putting probably hundreds of lives at risk.
It’s just that Black people are fed up with some white folk, somewhere or another, making some Black person have a bad day.
In the meantime we must necessarily remain vigilant and continue to pay attention…