The afternoon flight from Barbados to New York was full of black and brown elders that day. On board the packed plane they sat in the sun and waited on the tarmac for the situation to end. A slightly drunk college-aged white man from the United States was refusing to stow his computer bag, delaying takeoff. The police came. The man continued to insist on keeping his laptop on his lap. Some thirty minutes had passed before the teeth sucking began. The loud, unmistakably West Indian sound was a clear sign that the other air passengers had just about had it. A crewmember told them to be quiet, all the while trying to reason with the man. Imagine if he was black, an old woman said to the person sitting next to her. They would’ve kicked him off a long time ago. Chances are she was right. But he wasn’t, so they didn’t....
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