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Delta airplane
Delta airplane

Photo by Ron Cogswell. Creative commons license.

OB/GYN Tamika Cross says a Delta flight attendant refused her assistance because she didn’t “fit the description” of a doctor.

On October 9, Houston, Texas, OB/GYN Tamika Cross took to social media to share an incident of racism she had recently experienced while on board Delta Airlines, flying from Detroit, Michigan, to Houston. In a lengthy Facebook post, Cross recalled how she was denied access to a man who had become unresponsive mid-flight.

She opened her post by linking what happened to her on this flight to the experiences of other professional women of color working in corporate America. “I’m sure many of my fellow young, corporate America working women of color can all understand my frustration when I say I’m sick of being disrespected,” Cross said.

Cross wrote that while flying on Delta Flight DL954, a woman seated a few rows from her began screaming for help after her husband had become unresponsive. Just as Cross jumped into “doctor mode,” a flight attendant reportedly began asking if anyone on board was a physician, to which Cross raised her hand and responded yes.

According to Cross, the flight attendant looked at her and said, “[O]h no, sweetie, put ur hand down, we are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you.”

When an overhead page requested that a physician on board make him or herself known by “press[ing] the button,” Cross immediately pressed her button, only to be approached by the same flight attendant who had rejected her offer of assistance moments before. Surprised, the flight attendant reportedly said ““[O]h wow, you’re an actual physician?”

Related: Mindy Kaling’s Brother Slut-Shamed Her to Distract From His Bizarre Race Experiment

But the flight attendant wasn’t satisfied, and asked to see Cross’s credentials. She asked Cross to identify what kind of doctor she is, where she worked, and to explain the nature of her visit to Detroit.

“[I’m an] 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,” said Cross, understandably perturbed at the flight attendant putting her through the third degree.

It’s at this point where the situation gets really interesting. When a white passenger came forward and said he was a physician, the flight attendant turned to Cross and said “Thanks for your help, but he can help us, and he has his credentials.”

As a matter of fact, according to Cross’s Facebook post, the white passenger had not provided his credentials, but merely “fit the ‘description of a doctor.'”

As if to add insult to injury, the flight attendant would return to Cross’s seat multiple times, seeking medical advice about how to assist the male doctor going forward. Instead of holding a grudge or cursing the woman out, she opted to provide the Delta employee with the medical information that she needed.

“I tell her we need vitals and blood sugar. She comes back to report to me a BP of 80/50 (super low, to my non-medical peeps) and they can’t find a glucometer” Cross wrote in her Facebook post.

She added, “The patient and his wife weren’t the problem; they needed help and we were mid-flight.”

Although the flight attendant attempted to apologize multiple times and resolve the situation by offering Cross sky miles, the OB/GYN declined.

“This is going higher than her,” Cross said. “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.”

Cross’s post has resonated with a lot of Facebook users and has been shared by over 20,000 people.

Read the full post below.





Antwan is an educator, cultural critic, actor, and writer for Wear Your Voice Mag (WYV), where he focuses on the dynamics of class, race, gender, politics, and pop culture. Prior to joining the team at WYV, he was an adjunct professor in the African American Studies Department at Valdosta State University in southern Georgia, where he taught African American Literature. He has traveled the U.S. and U.K. showcasing a fifty-five minute, one-person play titled Whitewash, which focuses on the state of black men in the post-civil rights era. Antwan received his B.A. in English and Literature from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and M.A. in African American Studies from University of California, Los Angeles. He is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and NAACP theater nominee.

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