This article originally appeared on 07.29.21
Software developer Angie Jones' recent girls trip revealed that America still has a long way to go when it comes to race.
To most, that's not surprising. But what's unique is how the specific experience Jones and her friends went through revealed the pervasive way systemic racism still runs through our culture.
Jones is the Senior Director of Developer Relations at Applitools, holds 26 patented inventions in the United States of America and Japan, and is an IBM Master Inventor.
On July 27, she tweeted about a flight she took with nine other Black women and they all sat in first class. "People literally could not process how it was possible," she wrote. "Staff tried to send us to regular lines. Passengers made snide remarks. One guy even yelled 'are they a higher class of people than I am?!'"
this weekend I went on a girls trip. 10 Black women flying first class. People literally could not process how it was possible. \n\nStaff tried to send us to regular lines. Passengers made snide remarks. One guy even yelled "are they a higher class of people than I am?!"\n\nStay mad.— Angie Jones (@Angie Jones) 1627433914
Jones and her friends were the targets of racism that ranged from the seemingly unconscious — people who assumed that Black people don't sit in first class — to the blatant — those who were seriously bothered that Black people were being treated as having a higher status.
It's interesting that she didn't mention anyone saying "good for you" for succeeding in a world that often holds people of color back. Instead, she was greeted with incredulity and jealous rage.
There are a lot of white people who can't stand the idea of a Black person being elevated above them. It's disturbing that in 2021 there are still some who will admit it publicly.
Jones' tweets inspired a lot of people to share their stories about the racism they've experienced while flying first class.
I'm brown and this happened to me. I had enough credits to upgrade my flight from SFO to YYZ to biz class. Standing the priority boarding queue a white man behind me told me I may be in the wrong queue. Showed him my boarding pass, aisle seat at row 1. He shut up quick.
— marino (@virtualized6ix) July 28, 2021
If I had a dollar for every time I saw a white guy in a sport coat step right in front of a black person who is waiting to board with group 1, I would be a wealthy man. It's like every time...
— Mark (@mjc_ct) July 28, 2021
For the last 15 years, I have traveled almost weekly, usually in First Class. I have had wypipo say it all including "They called First Class" when I'm trying to Board to "Are you in 2A or 12A" when I'm already in my assigned & paid for 2A window seat. Racism is All American.
— I Am NikkiFree (@iamnikkifree) July 28, 2021
I sit up front just feed on those tears. Two weeks ago, the lady at the United Club west in DEN felt she had to tell me, “this is a private club".
— Bryan Liles (@bryanl) July 28, 2021
REAL TRUTH!! 👏🏽👏🏽One time in first class the flight attendant who *just served me orange juice* asked me if I was in the right section when a little later I stood up to use the 1st class restroom. That means: 1) she didn't actually see me 2) I looked like I don't belong there. 😏
— Farzana Nayani (@farzananayani) July 28, 2021
I was in the business class line behind a Black man in sweats and a baseball cap once. The (white) woman behind me reached over me, tapped him and told him he was in the wrong line. My jaw dropped. He just laughed and ignored her.
It happens all the time. And needs to stop.
— Jenny 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 (@JCT_212) July 28, 2021
I feel you. I'm brown and this happens to me all too often. Recently, before a flight from LGA to Key West for my sister's bachelorette, a white woman pushed me aside in the first class boarding line and said, “excuse me, I'm first class." I turned around and said, “so am I." 🙄
— SVH (@pizzacartel) July 28, 2021
I remember sitting in the priority area and an old white guy who was a passenger asked to see my ticket to see if I'm in the right place. 🤦🏾♀️🤦🏾♀️
— Noni (@NoniYess) July 28, 2021
The hate is real!
I had a guy try this with me on a flight out. He didn't like that I was flying 1st and that I was in line ahead of him. He literally said, "That's the matter with these people. They think they're better than us".
— xirclebox 💻 (@xirclebox) July 29, 2021
Jones' tweets also angered some people to the point that they denied her story. To which she responded, "To those saying I'm lying, you're a huge part of the problem," she wrote. "You tell yourself a notable person is lying (for what reason, I cannot figure out) before you believe there are actual racists in...America."
— W. Trevor Manning ن (@Kardea) July 29, 2021
Too bad it happened. I have flown millions of miles and never heard or seen anything of this nature. Ever. Not even once. Not in a club. Not in 1st class. Not in the worst seats. Not saying it didn't happen. I AM saying that these random things are NOT America or commonplace.
— Midwest Patriot (@NE_SCWilson) July 29, 2021
don't have the spoons to reply to everyone but to those saying I'm lying, you're a huge part of the problem
you tell yourself a notable person is lying (for what reason, I cannot figure out) before you believe there are actual racists in...America
FYI, yall look really foolish
— Angie Jones (@techgirl1908) July 28, 2021
One Twitter user came up with the perfect retort to the person who asked, "Are they a higher class of people than I am?!"