A few weeks ago, Fox News reported that Alaska Airlines made company history with their first flight to be piloted by two black women. Naturally, people are falling all over themselves to praise this event – most treating it as the first time two black women have ever piloted a plane together, though a reading of the article makes it clear it was a first for Alaska Airlines. (No word on if that makes them the last airline to achieve this… (racists))
The thing is, it obviously never happened. We’ve been trained that “Faux News” only reports fake news, lies all the time, and can’t be trusted. Isn’t that why people dismissively ask, “Where’d you hear that, Fox News?” when told a story or opinion they don’t believe? Because if Fox reports it, it’s not real. Right?
Nothing to see here: Stephanie Johnson has been flying planes for Delta Airlines for more than 20 years.
If you saw this story on Fox or on LinkedIn, you’ll see many comments about how important this event was for young black girls to see that it can be done. Yet Stephanie Johnson had no pilots, or even college graduates, around her. (Although her first time in a plane was with her high school physics teacher… Mr. White.) She just loved the idea of flying and seized every opportunity that took her a step closer to that goal. Much the way people do when they want to make something happen.
It doesn’t say it explicitly, but I don’t get the sense, from reading the article, that Stephanie spent a lot of time thinking about her skin color.
Who inspired Eminem to rap? It could only have been Vanilla Ice, to follow the logic of those who think you need a role model who fits your demographic description. (But then who inspired Vanilla Ice?)
It was Bob Lanier and Julius Erving who inspired me to play basketball. (They were better than me.) But if we can only be inspired by people who fit our demographic profile, shouldn’t it have been Larry Bird?
People take interest in something and they’re either driven enough to pursue it or they’re not. The praise should be for the accomplishment, not the skin color. As many have pointed out, we’re not going to get past skin color if we keep pointing it out.
The title of this blog references one of the better lines in the movie “Airplane,” when Barbara Billingsly says, “I speak jive.” Many today would say that was racist. But most observational humor is based on stereotypes. Why do we assume people are always offended. Most people have a sense of humor and can laugh at themselves. Is it any different than jokes about women, blondes, men, short people, jews, asians, lawyers, red-necks, etc. Is it any more racist than believing my life has been great because I’m a white male?