Delta Flight Attendant: Is There A White Doctor On This Plane?
Don't call either one 'Shirley'
You already saw the headline, so this might come a little too late, but just in case, Yr Wonkette would like to warn you not to slam your head into your desk too hard while reading this story, because concussions are bad. Thank you. So, here's what happened to Dr. Tamika Cross, MD, a doctor who has a medical degree in doctoring, and who works as a medical doctor in obstetrics and gynecology (these are specialties of doctoring) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, where people generally call her "Dr. Cross," we would imagine, unless she's exceptionally informal. Dr. Cross was flying on a Delta Airlines aeroplane from Detroit back home to Houston when a man a couple rows ahead of her became unresponsive during the flight; when she heard the man's wife scream for help, Dr. Cross went into what she calls "doctor mode" and got ready to help, because helping is what medical doctors do (when not golfing, according to television sitcoms). You will, unfortunately, completely believe what happened next:
[Cross] 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.”
Oh. You did notice Dr. Cross's skin tone in the photographs, yes? She's black. She wrote about the insulting behavior of the flight crew in a Facebook post that has "gone viral," which in this case is a good thing that does not require medical treatment. As of Wonkette Daylight Time, the post has been shared about 40,000 times, and has also blown up all over Twitter (which sounds like something you'd need a veterinary doctor for, but is not), spawning hashtags like #WhatADoctorLooksLike and #WeDoExist, and sparking a lot of angry conversation among medical professionals of color who are getting pretty darned tired of not being recognized as actual members of their professions. At this point, let's turn the narrative straight over to Dr. Cross (and did we mention she's a doctor?):
Then overhead they paged "any physician on board please press your button". I stare at her as I go to press my button. She said "oh wow you're an actual physician?" I reply yes. She said "let me see your credentials. What type of Doctor are you? Where do you work? Why were you in Detroit?" (Please remember this man is still in need of help and she is blocking my row from even standing up while
Bombarding me with questions).
I respond "OBGYN, work in Houston, in Detroit for a wedding, but believe it or not they DO HAVE doctors in Detroit. Now excuse me so I can help the man in need". Another "seasoned" white male approaches the row and says he is a physician as well. She says to me "thanks for your help but he can help us, and he has his credentials". (Mind you he hasn't shown anything to her. Just showed up and fit the "description of a doctor") I stay seated. Mind blown. Blood boiling. (Man is responding the his questions and is seemingly better now Thank God)
Just to add in a little extra eyeroll, Cross notes that at several points while the person who more closely resembled Leslie Nielsen was working with the man, the flight attendant (how do we know she was a flight attendant? Sure, she was wearing a Delta uniform but she didn't show any credentials) came over to ask Cross what they should do next. Imagine that -- the "real" doctor needed advice from the young black lady who clearly wasn't needed. Cross makes it fully clear that "The patient and his wife weren't the problem, they needed help and we were mid flight," but she's pretty steamed at Delta and the cabin crew:
She came and apologized to me several times and offering me skymiles. I kindly refused. This is going higher than her. I don't want skymiles in exchange for blatant discrimination. Whether this was race, age, gender discrimination, it's not right. She will not get away with this....and I will still get my skymiles....
All of which leads to the obvious question: Why are black women so angry? Just look!
Delta has been in full Oh Shit Damage Control Mode, has been in contact with Cross, and issued a statement saying the incident "does not reflect the Delta culture. We condemn discrimination toward our customers." We're thinking Dr. Cross should hold out for a public apology, First Class upgrades for life, and how about some uptraining for cabin crews?
The Washington Post notes Cross's story recalls the experience of Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who Capitol security guards have so much trouble recognizing as a senator, as well as that time in 2009 when Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates got arrested for trying to enter his own house, albeit without a key. They do not, however look at the really important question, which is whether Dr. Gates, who is the PhD kind of doctor, would have been invited to help the sick guy before Dr. Cross. We're betting yes, if he'd tried, not that he would have. A black male doctor is thinkable, at least, because Denzel Washington was in St. Elsewhere, and wasn't there one on E.R., too?*
[wonkbar]<a href="http://wonkette.com/576543/all-scientists-are-white-men-so-those-black-and-latina-ladies-must-be-janitors"></a>[/wonkbar]We were also reminded of the 2015 survey in which 100% of 60 women of color working in science, technology and math fields surveyed said they had at some point in their careers experienced discrimination of some sort -- and roughly half of black and Latina scientists reported being mistaken for administrative or custodial staff. That one still blows our minds.
Clearly, there's a problem here. As Mike Pence has explained, we need to stop talking about race so much.
* Joking of course. We liked Eriq La Salle better than George Clooney, if only because he didn't react to everything by grinning, glancing down, and grinning again.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.