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What is the price we pay for discrimination?

Written By: aaminahm on April 24, 2009 5 Comments

According to Delta Airlines the price to pay for Islamophobia is $25.00. For those of you who might remember, I posted a blog “Do You Speak English?” about an incident that occurred on a Northwest  ( a Delta subsidiary) flight from Minneapolis to Columbus on April 2, 2009.

During that flight the only attendant questioned me about my ability to speak English. Although I answered her questions in English, she couldn’t hear me. I am a hijabi sister (Muslimah who wears the traditional Islamic headscarf). Therefore,  I didn’t look like someone who could possibly speak English. She informed me that she was only questioning me because I was sitting in an emergency exit row. She planned to give the instructions in English and needed me to be able to understand her.

I wrote a formal complaint to Delta Airlines the same night. In it I detailed my frustration at being discriminated against on the basis of my religion.  This morning I received an emailed apology from the airline. The letter is embedded here:

Dear Mrs. Norris,

Thank you for your correspondence regarding your experience with
Northwest, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines.

As our customer, you are in the best position to point out areas that
need attention. Our goal is to provide consistent and accurate
information to our passengers at all times. I am sorry that in this
instance you did not receive the service from our flight attendant that
you expected and should have received. Feedback like yours will help us
improve our customer?s overall experiences. Please know I will be
sharing your comments with our In-Flight leadership team for internal
follow up. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

As a goodwill gesture, I have issued our $25.00 electronic
Transportation Credit which may be used toward future Delta travel.
E-TCVs are valid for one year from the date of issue. If redeemed at
delta.com, they will not incur a transaction fee. Fees will apply if the
voucher is redeemed through any other Delta location. You will be
receiving a receipt for this e-credit, along with the terms and
conditions, in a separate e-mail.

Please accept our apology for the unfavorable impression you received in
this instance. We will always consider it a privilege to be of service.

Sincerely,

Mac P. Geoffrey
Manager
Customer Care

I haven't replied to this letter. I can't seem to find the words to thank them. Probably because
I don't speak English.

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5 Responses to “What is the price we pay for discrimination?”

  1. Usree Bhattacharya on: 24 April 2009 at 9:39 am

    Aaminah, you need to pick up this book: Politics of piety by Saba Mahmood.

  2. aaminahm on: 24 April 2009 at 10:11 am

    Here is my response email. How’s this for English?

    Dear Mr. Geoffrey:

    I am fairly certain from your letter that Delta Airlines assumes a level
    of culpability for its employees’ behavior. However, your response has
    left me sorely disappointed. Your gesture of goodwill fails to ameliorate
    for the level of pain and suffering that I received from your flight
    attendant on April 2, 2009. Whenever I am reminded of the events on that
    flight I feel sickened by the level of harassment that she inflicted upon
    me.

    I have written a blog to express my level of disappointment at the
    discrimination I received and embedded your response. It is entitled “What
    Price Do We Play for Discrimination?” Please find it at
    foundintranslation.berkeley.edu.

    Moreover, I have filed a complaint against Delta Airlines with the Council
    on American-Islamic Relations. While your $25.00 gesture of goodwill might
    appear on your part to be acceptable, for me it is not. It simply adds
    insult to the injury I received on April 2, 2009.

    Sincerely,

    Aaminah Norris

  3. musa al rashid on: 24 April 2009 at 6:20 pm

    anta uzihebu bintum
    you go girl

  4. Aaminah on: 26 April 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks Dad!

  5. SheSoWriteous on: 28 April 2009 at 12:13 am

    May Allah reward you for having the patience to see this through!

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