By Ryan Velez
You may recall reading a few weeks ago how following a series of racially-charged incidents on American Airlines flights, the NAACP released a formal travel advisory for Black flyers. Now, according to Madame Noire, the airline is attempting to make things right with mandatory anti-racism training in 2018.
In 2018, American Airlines employees will begin attending implicit bias trainings that will be offered in person and online. An independent firm will also being helping to review the company’s hiring practices.
“We are proud of the diversity and inclusion initiatives already in place at American, but we know we can do even better. So we viewed the feedback as an opportunity,” CEO Doug Parker said in a letter to staff. “American Airlines can set a new standard in corporate diversity and inclusion, and we are humbled by the opportunity before us to do so.” At the moment, the exact nature of the curriculum is yet to be determined, and according to the company, it will be conducted both in-person and through an online module.
American Airline executives have begun meeting with the NAACP to “ensure that the company walks the walk as well as it talks the talk,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson told KTLA.
The organization said it had noticed “a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines,” citing four examples of Black fliers who were forced to give up their seats or were removed from flights.
In a statement, the organization said that while it sees this as a step in the right direction, it plans to keep its travel advisory in place for now.
“We think we’re on the right road, but the NAACP will continue to meet with Doug Parker and other senior American Airline[s] employees to ensure that the company walks the walk as well as it talks the talk,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said.
Ultimately, while on paper, this seems to be a move in the right direction, it’s hard to form much of an opinion without knowing what exactly the classes will be like. If anything, this can be taken as a sign that if Black organizations come together and press companies on their behavior, it is indeed possible to see some sort of action.