A negrophobic airline passenger was so concerned that blackness was a communicable disease that he reportedly asked a flight attendant to accommodate his Caucasian autoimmune disorder by moving him to another seat.
Sixteen-year-old Taylor Richardson was aboard a United Airlines flight from Denver to Jacksonville, Fla. when a gentleman of the enslaver persuasion objected to Taylor’s proximity to his personal space. The next day, Taylor decided to share her experience on Twitter:
Honestly, this isn’t very newsworthy. While the man’s actions can be misconstrued as racially insensitive by some, we must always remember that there are some people whose genes make them, to varying degrees, physically allergic to blackness. I don’t even know why The Root’s managing editor even asked me to write this story. Taylor didn’t even seem mad.
Oh, I see. Taylor is some kind of genius whiz kid.
She’s a future astronaut who raised enough money to send 1,000 girls to see Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time. Not only is she an advocate of black girls becoming involved in STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—but she also fundraises to send girls to Space Camp and pushes her smart black girls agenda everywhere she goes. She was even selected to…
Oh, I see now!
Taylor Richardson was selected to The Root’s 2018 list of Young Futurists, which—and I’m not quite sure about this—technically makes her our niece. I’ll have to check with our founder, Henry Louis Gates, for the exact genealogy but I know we’re at least playcousins. This makes me uncomfortable, not because of the nepotism aspects, but because it’s not really a story. Taylor wasn’t even outraged about her brush with a man who apparently believes in Bluetooth racism.
In fact, when United asked for specifics about the incident, Taylor kindly noted that it wasn’t United’s fault.
And that is the story.
It is not newsworthy that even the purest, most excellent form of blackness is still despicable to some. The existence of racism does not necessitate a headline. But here is the thing:
Look at how beautiful Taylor Richardson is. Gaze at her remarkable kindness. Look at how she handled the situation with grace, dignity and poise.
That is blackness encapsulated.
To swallow hate and ingest inhumanity. To be demeaned and mistreated. To absorb all this violence all your life while you ain’t doing shit but trying to get to Jacksonville. And then, after gulping it all down…
You have to smile about it.
If I were Taylor Richardson, I’d want to leave this planet, too. Maybe there are no white people in space.
And that is the story.