Black man sneezes on plane - triggers ebola hazmat panic


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This week’s massive over reaction brought to you by willful ignorance and fear.


Oh come on now. Your article is clickbait. The man didn’t cause a panic because he sneezed and was black. He caused a panic because he sneezed and then joked that he’d just been to Africa. In other words, he was joking about having contracted the Ebola virus. And just like when you joke about bombs at the airport, they were forced to take it seriously, just in case. That’s why the woman making the announcement on the plane pretty much says that he thinks the guy was a jerk for saying it.


Supposedly, right after he sneezed, he said he’d just come from Africa. Stupid joke to make, maybe not quite on the level of saying “I’m going to get bombed on this flight,” but stupid. It still seems like a massive overreaction, but the headline is a distortion of what happened.


Maybe he didn’t go to Africa, but he was black don’t you see.

If he wasn’t infected, I’m sure he had a gun or drugs or hated Darren Wilson or something.


OK so seriously, state of play in the US at the moment is that if you sneeze on a plane and you have been to Africa, you can expect a hazmat team to escort you off the plane, and that’s perfectly reasonable and quit complaining?


Reddit handled the headline better: Man sneezes on a plane and jokingly yells “Sorry, I came from Africa”. This is the aftermath.


I flew Vancouver to Toronto a month ago and promptly came down with “4 week hacking-cough phlegm-lung” sickness. The thing is, I don’t remember any black people sitting near me.


You’ve got to wear special sunglasses to see who the black people are.


This article in the Daily Mail says the guy yelled, “I have Ebola.”

This SFGate article seems to confirm that:

Maybe that’s all just a racist conspiracy to cover up the fact that racists grounded the plane. I don’t know. BoingBoing will probably stand by their not-factually-incorrrect headline, though.

ETA: They changed the headline on the homepage to be an accurate representation of this story. That’s cool.


All this panic over Ebola. Malaria still infects like 200+ million per year, and kills ~400-500k per year. Can we have some fucking perspective, people?


Ebola doesn’t make you sneeze, anyway. Fever, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea – not sneezing, coughing, congestion. It’s not a respiratory disease.


Thanks for changing the title. You get back 80% of the respect you lost.


80% is too generous. These kinds of “corrections” are just a subtle way of fixing a mistake without admitting a mistake. Frankly, it’s bullshit. Even for a “blog” not a “news organization” it’s cowardly*. Totally without any respect for real journalism. It’s the kind of thing that makes me lose respect for Boing Boing completely. The better response is to admit the mistake, show the correction being made through strikethrough or something, and then apologize. Why can’t BB hold itself to the same standard it would hold any other organization? Even Rob Ford is more honest about his mistakes.

*cowardly was the word I was looking for, not “lower than low” as I orignally wrote.

** You know what I really hate about BB changing the headlines and article copy after it’s posted? It makes all the subsequent commenters seem like they’re overreacting - like we are crazy because we’re taking issue with something so innocuous. That’s the cowardly part - they shield themselves from criticism by acting as if nothing ever happened, never admiting any wrongdoing and making those who call it out look crazy.


Some stories say this gentleman yelled, “I have Ebola!” Other stories say he said, “Sorry, I just came from Africa.” In either case, we don’t know what this gentleman yelled or said, or if he said anything at all. Further, we don’t know how the flight crew heard about his supposed remark–did they hear him say it, or did a passenger suffering from terrornoia, ebolamania, and Fox News overhear a big black guy sneeze and decided to notify the stewardess and get some extra legroom in the process?

Right now, all we know is the flight crew freaked out about a black guy who supposedly sneezed and made a remark that had something to do with a disease that has killed exactly one person in the United States, and they decided this man needed to be put in his place, publicly humiliated, and escorted off the plane by a team in hazmat suits. But hey, let’s all jump to conclusions and not let the facts derail the juicy, vaguely-racist rumor that’s going to immortalize this poor guy on the internets and every talk show for the foreseeable future.


No, because this is America, the land of perspectivelessness…ness…less.


As a historian, I’m sure you know that you can’t apply perspective if you want to show the upper classes as giants and everyone else as puny.


How many people died in the US from flu last year? Like actually died rather than might speculatively die in a highly unlikely outbreak of Ebola?

So where are the hazmat teams escorting anyone off the plane who sneezes in flu season?

It’s fucking ridiculous.


Don’t forget, they do this not terribly infrequently, and the percentages are cumulative. At some point in the past 6 months BB has gone from “the people I trust to call out shenanigans” to “The occasional “liberal Fox” who does a marginally better job of curating “neat” internet than my Facebook peers”.


Yeah, but I’m an AMERICANIST… so, American exceptionalism… or maybe that’s Americone dream? It’s one of those, I’m sure! But it’s something, damn it!

Also, I think I want that on my tomb. Especially the horse with 4 front legs.

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