tamika-cross

Tamika Cross

Tamika Cross, a physician, was midway through a flight from Detroit to Minneapolis when a passenger emergency sent her into “doctor mode.”

Sometime after takeoff, a man two rows in front of her suddenly became unresponsive, she said, and flight attendants called for help.

Cross, an obstetrician and gynecologist, said she immediately flagged down one of the crew members, offering to treat the man.   She got a response she wasn’t prepared for.

“Oh no, sweetie, put [your] hand down,” Cross recalled the flight attendant saying. “We are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you.”

The reason behind the flight attendant’s apparent skepticism? Cross says it was because she is black.  

Cross described the experience on the flight in an Oct. 9 Facebook post that had been shared more than 34,000 times as of Thursday night. In it, she said she was “sick of being disrespected” as a woman of color in her profession and accused Delta, the flight operator, of “blatant discrimination.”

Delta said it has reached out to Cross about what happened. In multiple comments from the official Delta Facebook account, the company said the incident “does not reflect the Delta culture. We condemn discrimination toward our customers.”

Cross’s story calls up other incidents in which black professionals claim to have been racially profiled. Over the summer, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) made waves with a speech from the Senate floor in which he recounted being questioned by police because of his race. And in a now-famous confrontation, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested by a white police officer at his house in Cambridge, Mass.   [read more]