Black people, who experience racism in America and abroad, never know when they are going to encounter the next predator.
Even if a blatantly racist encounter goes viral, some people believe the victim deserved the senseless treatment. People who are present when the situation occurs sometimes take the side of the predator, normalizing racism and implying racist people aren’t immoral.
Ryanair, a European airline, supported these heinous implications after staff decided to fulfill white passenger David Mesher’s wishes and move 77-year-old Delsie Gayle, a black woman, to another seat.
The airline was taking passengers from Barcelona to London. Gayle and her daughter went to Spain for three days because Gayle was depressed following her husband’s passing. Her daughter thought a trip would ease Gayle’s mind. However, the racist encounter left Gayle feeling even more depressed.
Mesher told Gayle to move so he can get to his window seat, but Gayle was unable to move quickly because of her arthritis. Mesher became enraged and started shouting racial slurs at Gayle. Mesher made several derogatory comments like, “Don't talk to me in a foreign language you stupid, ugly cow” and “I will carry on as long as I can with this ugly, black bastard.” Staff decided to move Gayle, despite her severe arthritis, even though Mesher caused the confrontation.
“I was very frightened,” Gayle said.
Ryanair has yet to make a public apology and turned over the incident to Essex police, even though the altercation happened in Spain on an Irish-registered plane. English police don’t have much authority because the event didn’t happen in England, meaning Gayle will not receive the justice she deserves.
Michael O’Leary, Irish businessman and chief executive officer of Ryanair, should hire better trained staff who are well-equipped in handling victims of racial abuse. O’Leary and the airline’s silence on this incident is upsetting because it opens a door for racist people who fly with Ryanair to walk through. The airline should be shut down if another event like this occurs to exemplify the consequences of businesses not condemning racism.
“I'm not a racist person by any means,” Mesher said. “It’s just a fit of temper at the time, I think.”
Mesher’s excuse is pathetic. His belittling commentary toward Gayle was not provoked by anger alone. It’s clear his irritation toward her showed a reflection of his true character. He should be sued with verbal assault.
It terrifies me to know I live in a world where the disease of racism is present and widespread. I’ve tried to fathom why people enjoy perpetuating this sickening mindset instead of curing themselves. I figure they might have had a bad childhood and cope by inflicting pain on innocent minorities.
Perhaps, they’re frightened of minorities who don’t hold the same beliefs and think they will destroy the illusion their ancestors worked tirelessly to create. Possibly, they allow their ignorance to make them believe a world with like-minded people who resemble each other will lead to an euphoric society.
I’ve come to realize the world isn’t broken, but people who use fear as a catalyst to hate other ethnicities are. It’s disappointing to know there has always been a free antidote for racism, but those infected are scared to heal and know what pure love is. This is the kind of love in which you respect all individuals, even if their values don’t correspond with yours.
Hopefully, more people will be brave enough to use this antidote in the future and finally realize the only way to create a better world is by uniting in our differences.
Jasmine Edmonson is a 20-year-old mass communication sophomore from Denham Springs, Louisiana.