Young STEM Activist Says United Airlines Accommodated Bigot's Request Not To Sit Next To Her Because She's Black
"I was so unbothered. It was his loss," Taylor Richardson said of the incident in a tweet.
November 19, 2019 at 6:40 pm
Before a flight departed in the friendly skies, things turned sour after a Black teenager alleged that a man refused to sit next to her because she was Black.
Taylor Richardson, an esteemed STEM advocate and teenager from Jacksonville, Florida, detailed the incident on Twitter after her return flight home from Denver, Colorado. According to the 16-year-old, United Airlines accommodated the man’s request to be moved to another seat after telling a flight attendant he did not want to sit next to the teenager because she's Black.
So yesterday while flying from Denver to Jacksonville, I had my first encounter with a white man who didn’t want to sit next to me because I was Black. Thank you @united for accommodating him. #flyingwhileblack
— Taylor Richardson (@astrostarbright) November 16, 2019
After receiving an outpouring of support from people on Twitter, Richardson added, “He was not loud just in normal tone asked to be moved. At first, I didn’t even know why then he was like I don’t want to sit next [to] her bc she is [Black.]”
Following her initial post, a representative from United Airlines reached out to Richardson, asking that she provide more detail about the incident in a private message. Though the rep apologized for the teenager’s ordeal, there is no word if further action will be taken.
In response to one Twitter user’s reaction to her calm demeanor during the incident, Richardson tweeted, “I was so unbothered. It was his loss. If I would have made a scene or got loud it could have maybe went differently. So I chilled. Too much going in the world right now. My life means more.”
She was damn skippy about there being too much going on to let a bigot consume her energy. Ms. Richardson has far better things to do.
She's currently featured in a documentary about girls in STEM titled Fly Like A Girl.
Who’s ready to be inspired for girls and women to not just be passengers but to lead and take flight towards their dreams especially in STEM and aviation!
✈️ ✈️ ???? ???? pic.twitter.com/Qhejahi8Lg
— Taylor Richardson (@astrostarbright) November 19, 2019
In 2017, Richardson raised $50,000 to hold screenings of Hidden Figures for young girls as Blavity previously reported. She even met Oprah after raising the money, who then matched her fundraising figure.
This United Airlines incident comes days after producer and rapper will.i.am claimed that a Qantas flight attendant was being racist and rude toward him after she called the police on him while onboard a plane.
On Sunday, Richardson tweeted her support for the rapper.
Sending positive thoughts and prayers to @iamwill! While he got a more aggressive encounter than I, I can only imagine how he feels. Not sure what’s worse being loud or being discreet. Stay lifted sir! ???????? #flyingwhileblack
— Taylor Richardson (@astrostarbright) November 17, 2019
According to CNN, the airline is willing to pursue legal action in defense of the attendant if the rapper does not retract his statement.