American Airlines has apologized for demanding a black woman 'cover up' for wearing a romper.
via Matt Hintsa / Flickr and Tisha Rowe / Twitter

There have been dozens of stories that have gone viral over the past few years about black people being harassed for going about their everyday lives.

There was the black family who had the cops called on them for having a barbecue, the little girl who was harassed for selling bottled water on the street, and recently the metro worker who's job was threatened for eating on the train.

Now, American Airlines has apologized for humiliating a black doctor for wearing vacation attire on a flight home from Jamaica.


Tisha Rowe, who practices family medicine in Houston, had boarded a flight home from Kingston with her son, Chase, when she was asked to deplane and have a talk with a flight attendant.

During the talk, Rowe was asked if she had a jacket to cover up the sleeveless romper she wore to the airport. When Rowe said she did not, the flight attendant said the only way she would be allowed back on the plane was by covering up with a blanket.

"I felt powerless," she told Buzzfeed News. "There was nothing I could do in that moment other than give up my money and my seat to defend my position that I was completely appropriate."

When she returned home, Rowe posted this photo to Twitter that showed she wasn't dressed inappropriate, especially returning from a tropical island. The tweet quickly went viral, earning over 10,000 likes and capturing the attention of American Airlines.

She also recounted the incident on Facebook, where she made an important point about how black women's bodies are unfairly policed. "We are policed for being black," she wrote.

"Our bodies are over sexualized as women and we must ADJUST to make everyone around us comfortable," she wrote. "I've seen white women with much shorter shorts board a plane without a blink of an eye. I guess if it's a 'nice ass' vs a Serena Booty it's okay."

Rowe also pointed out an article from Elle magazine where white women white were called fashionable for wearing similar airport attire.

Rowe's tweet won her a lot of support on Twitter from people who clearly saw her as the victim of a racial double-standard.

After the incident went viral, American Airlines reached out to apologize to Rowe.

"We were concerned about Dr. Rowe's comments, and reached out to her and our team at the Kingston airport to gather more information about what occurred," American Airlines spokesperson Shannon Gilson said in a statement.

"We apologize to Dr. Rowe and her son for their experience, and have fully refunded their travel," she added. "We are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds and are committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with us."

Rowe responded by saying she appreciates the support received and American Airlines' accountability. "Chase is too young to appreciate what is happening but on behalf of our tiny family the outpouring of love, the support, the demand for ACCOUNTABILITY is greatly appreciated," she said, according to Fox News. "Thank You."

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.