Monday, March 5, 2012

What does this Facebook Urban Legend and The Help have in Common?

I think I'm annoying my friends with my insistence on pointing out most of the amazing photos and inspiring true stories that get posted and reposted on facebook are not true.  The latest is this one:  With this photo

A 50- something year old white woman arrived at her seat on a crowded flight and immediately didn't want the seat. The seat was next to a black man. Disgusted, the woman immediately summoned the flight attendant and demanded a new seat. The woman said "I cannot sit here next to this black man." The fight attendant said "Let me see if I can find another seat." After checking, the flight attendant returned and stated "Ma'am, there are no more seats in economy, but I will check with the captain and see if there is something in first class." About 10 minutes went by and the flight attendant returned and stated "The captain has confirmed that there are no more seats in economy, but there is one in first class. It is our company policy to never move a person from economy to first class, but being that it would be some sort of scandal to force a person to sit next to an UNPLEASANT person, the captain agreed to make the switch to first class." Before the woman could say anything, the attendant gestured to the black man and said, "Therefore sir, if you would so kindly retrieve your personal items, we would like to move you to the comfort of first class as the captain doesn't want you to sit next to an unpleasant person." Passengers in the seats nearby began to applause while some gave a standing ovation.
If you are against racism, share this

Oh my God - if I don't' share it does it mean I'm not against racism? 

According to - this has been around a while, at least since 1998.  The villain started out as a South African.

Well so what if it didn't happen, what's wrong with sharing it?  I dunno..aren't' there any TRUE stories of people standing up against injustices and discrimination?   And what is wrong with this picture?  It's All WHITE people. 

It's the opposite of the story of the Good Samaritan where the hero is a marginalized outsider.  Here the hero is the white attendant who has the power and authority to resuce the poor oppressed black man by sending him on up to the first class, and all the WHITE people cheer.  And don't we white people feel good about ourselves after reading this.  Share this if you are against racism.  There I've posted it.  I've done my bit for the cause.  Good for me.

I have a lot of Black friends on Facebook.  None of them have posted that story.   Maybe because they have stories of REAL heroes to share.  Maybe we should listen to their stories instead of passing around fake stories of white heroes that make us feel good and let us forget that racism is a lot more complicated to deal with than finding a Black man a seat in First Class.


  1. Amen! While I was reading "The Help" I was enjoying the voice of the narrator, while at the same time having these thoughts (similar to yours).

    Can't agree more.

  2. Your points are good. But it is a good story. It makes me wonder if I'd have the presence of mind to identify the true problem maker. Once, when I was 18

  3. If you've spent even a short time on FaceBook, it's obvious there's a lot of 'true' (cough) stories bouncing around.
    They have much in common with those viral emails sent by well meaning relatives and parishoners.
    But they are mostly based on urban legends, stereotypes, and downright lies.

    In a former generation, it was back fence gossip and innuendu that spread such manure. Now it comes in through our computers and cell phones.

    Sadly, so many people have lost the ability to filter the truth from blarney, and this has saturated our political landscape also. Critical thinking? A lost art.