Southwest staffer stops white mother and her bi-racial child because they were "suspicious"

Originally published at: Southwest staffer stops white mother and her bi-racial child because they were "suspicious" | Boing Boing


Makes me wonder how many times this Southwest Staffer has done this and gotten away with it. This wasn’t a one off folks…


It’s a result of the public psyche ingrained since Sept of 2001: See something, say something. This flight attendant thought she saw something, but apparently, oh how wrong she got it.


Clearly SW FAs have been instructed by law enforcement to look out for trafficking. Which is a good thing however, bias shouldn’t get in the way and maybe flight attendants shouldn’t play cops.

Southwest Statement:

“We were disheartened to learn of this mother’s account when traveling with her daughter. We are conducting a review of the situation internally, and we will be reaching out to the customer to address her concerns and offer our apologies for her experience traveling with us. Our Employees undergo robust training on Human Trafficking. Above all, Southwest Airlines prides itself on providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for the millions of Customers who travel with us each year. We do not make public our training procedures, but in our One Report where we report out on our commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet, you can find the following: There is a growing focus on Human Trafficking at Southwest and in the airline industry. A robust Human Trafficking training is required for our Frontline Employees and recommended as voluntary curriculum for other Employees. In 2020, 18,000 Employees expanded their education and awareness around the growing global epidemic of Human Trafficking and Southwest’s commitment to Safety regarding this issue through a video highlighting a recent Human Trafficking experience on a Southwest flight. We also hosted an online course that provides an overview on the crime of Human Trafficking. In 2020, 10,000 Employees learned how to identify Human Trafficking instances and take action, if necessary, through this course."


What chapter of the Southwest training manual covers spotting human trafficking?

Or more broadly, “Under what circumstances should you contact police yourself, versus consulting with a supervisor just in case you are racially biased?”

Seems like the authorities (ie: everyone but you) care to make more of a fuss for something based on a misunderstanding than an actual crime. How many times have we seen a passenger being abusive (not quite criminal but hard asshole) and later you see them at the baggage area, free as a bird… yet OMG there’s Ghislaine kidnapping a little not-same-race girl off to god knows what island/kingdom - full police response.

When this shit happens, the airline needs to be accountable. Full apology, free plane tickets, employee suspension/retraining/dismissal. None of this canned “blah blah, strive to do better, we care…” BS.

*edited because I used a bad term, sorry.


Hanlon’s Razor; even getting doing it once is enough to mess up someone’s life. (Also I think every parent of bi- (or multi-) racial children fears this.)


A Black parent with a bi-racial child might not attract any attention though.

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Maybe, depends on how light the child is, I have 4, only two are roughly white-presenting. We typically all travel together so it’s very rarely a problem.


The bullshit; it never ends…


Guess we now know how old Southwest Airlines thinks a child should be to learn about race. 10.

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Well, she also lied about what transpired during the flight. The flight attendant should be charged with making a false police report. She should also be shown the door by Southwest Airlines. They’re one of the last tolerable airlines as they seem not to have devolved as much into the hostility to their customers mindset that seems to have taken over a lot of the airline industry. It would be a shame if they let this deranged racist remain in their employ.


As a biracial kid myself (okay, maybe several decades ago…) this is the kind of shit you go through if you go out with the parent that doesn’t look like you.

I look very Asian, so never once had anyone ask or make comments about me being out with my Japanese mom. Dad on the other hand, kind of looks like Gru with close cropped white hair (yeah Dad, thanks for the genes for going gray in your 20’s…). At best, people would assume that I was out with my Grandpa. Mostly people assumed that I was adopted. Luckily, nobody ever took it this far.

This is also why my wife and I decided to give GirlChild my last name (we both kept our pre-marriage surnames). We figured that it was likely that the kid would look not-so Asian, and particularly in today’s culture, my wife was much less likely to get challenged on being related than I would be. Sad state of affairs to some degree.


BIPOC tend to get more negative attention in public, especially from law enforcement:

That came up in Cindy McCain’s story: