North Carolina’s NAACP President William Barber is speaking out after being kicked off a flight on Friday night for confronting a passenger who was saying disparaging things about him.
According to Rev. Barber, he boarded a flight to Raleigh-Durham International Airport from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport around 10 p.m. and settled himself into the two seats he’d purchased because of a disability. After sitting down he noticed the passenger behind him was speaking very loudly, so he called the flight attendant over and asked her if she would please tell the passenger to quiet down. The Reverend released a statement explaining what happened next:
Because of my disability, I could not turn my head to see him, but as she left, I heard him saying distasteful and disparaging things about me. He had problems with “those people” and he spoke harshly about my need for “two seats,” among other subjects. As I heard these things, I became more and more uncomfortable, especially since he was behind me. The attitude with which he spoke, and my experiences with others who have directed similar harsh, sometimes threatening words, emails, and calls at me, came to my mind. Because he was behind me when he made the comments and because of my disability, the only way I could see him when I tried to speak to him as one human being to another was to stand and turn around. I asked him why he was saying such things, and I said he did not know me, my condition, and I added I would pray for him.
Just so we are clear, usually when someone says “those people” it is code for “those <insert minority race> people.” As the Reverend is a black man, it is not hard to see why he would have a problem with someone referring to him as “those people.”
After he confronted the idiot behind him, police approached him and asked him to leave the plane. He was then escorted off the flight and had to find a hotel room to stay in so that he could fly out the next morning. In his statement, Rev. Barber said that American Airlines was very apologetic about the entire incident, he said he’d just like to move on. Unfortunately, now the North Carolina Republican Party has decided that insulting the NAACP leader is in order.
Vice chair of the state GOP, Michele Nix released a statement saying:
I guess Rev. Barber thinks it’s ‘moral’ to inconvenience other passengers wanting to get home to see their families, because he once again thinks his ‘right’ to say and do whatever he wants is more important than other law abiding citizens who conduct themselves under society’s rules of civil behavior.
The statement makes it seem like Rev. Barber jumped over the seat and throat punched the rude passenger. A passenger, who by the way, admitted he was out of line when he told ABC11 News,”I’d apologize to him. I was definitely out of line.” But hey, we all know how the GOP has an aversion to facts.
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