A Black woman harassed by a white passenger on her Delta flight to Washington, D.C., last week is singing the airline’s praises after it upgraded her flight in response.
Demetria Poe, 25, was flying from Minneapolis to D.C. on Thursday to attend the Commitment March, held last Friday on the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. Poe, who spoke to USA Today after her Facebook post detailing the experience went viral, says she was already seated when a white passenger, who realized her seat assignment was next to Poe, swapped out the American flag face mask she had been wearing for a Blue Lives Matter one.
“That woman was trying to entice me into an argument because there was no need for her to flip that mask in my presence,” Poe told the news outlet. “She didn’t do it for anyone else. It was as if she was making a statement and wanted me to know.”
Poe did not react to the mask, but after takeoff, the white woman began to goad Poe into conversation, telling her, “I support blue lives because I support our officers.”
Poe rebutted, “blue lives do not exist.”
“The life of an officer exists, but there is no such thing as a blue life and that statement is nothing but a rebuttal to the fact that BLM has been disregarded time after time,” Poe recounted on Facebook.
“Us saying Black lives matter don’t mean all other lives don’t matter,” she continued. “We are saying if all lives matter, ‘Why is it justifiable for anyone to slaughter Black people?’”
Unfortunately for Poe, the conversation continued, with the white woman running through a laundry list of Things White People Say When They Want to Disprove Racism Exists™, including blaming the death of George Floyd on drugs he was using and claiming that Black people living in America “has been the best thing for them because they can work their way up.”
Poe noted to USA Today that she remained “very calm” throughout the conversation because she suspected her seat mate wanted to provoke her. White passengers around her also intervened and “snapped on this lady” in Poe’s defense. Delta flight attendants also checked on her and offered to move Blue Lives Karen. Once the plane landed in D.C., Delta attendants relayed to her that the white woman would no longer be flying with the airline because they do not “personally or as a company stand for racism and discrimination,” Poe wrote on her Facebook.
“I felt the genuine and sincere concern the flight attendants had for me and the people around me,” Poe told USA Today. “I was shocked. I was happy, but I was still fearful. Living in Minnesota, I have seen how things get blown up. I just really wanted to get off the flight.”
But the story didn’t end there for Poe. On her return flight to Minneapolis, her seat was upgraded, and she received a small bag full of gifts, including a “Black Lives Matter” Delta pin. Poe was moved to tears by the gift and was heartened by the airline choosing to stand in solidarity with her.
“This is a major corporation saying that Black lives matter,” Poe said, adding that she “will only fly Delta” from now on.
After Poe’s Facebook post detailing the incident went viral, the airline dropped a response to her: “When we say Black lives matter, we mean it. You matter to us, Demetria.”