2009: The First Black Female Flight Crew

CLT 1-31-09 N185UW
On Thursday, February 12, 2009 history was made when an all African American flight (ASA) crew departed Atlanta. Get this, all of the crew, from the pilot and first officer to the two flight attendants serving in the cabin all were African American and all were female! It only took a century of flying in this country (Creative Commons License photo credit: James Willamor).

During my years working as a flight attendant, this never happened at my airline. As a matter of fact, I can recall easily the number of African American flight crew that I flew with over a five year period. The pilots of color were usually minimal and on the occasion that they would board the aircraft they were usually males. What is interesting here is that as I would stand along with the pilots at the front of the aircraft, it would never fail that several passengers would question how long they’d been flying and would amazingly ask if they were truly qualified to fly the aircraft.

Aviation has historically been a field dominated by whites, specifically white males. The exclusion often faced by people of color is continually evident in the airline industry. The fact that it is 2009 is suggestive of how systemic both sexism and racism is in this and many other industries. Seeing these African American women take flight is indeed long overdue. Let us now hope that a barrier is being broken and a path is being carved for others wishing to break into the airline industry. Please join me in looking forward to seeing many others when we board our next flight.

Milestone Marker and Many Thanks!

With the beginning of March, 2009 we mark our second year of blogging here at Racism Review and this seemed like a good time to note a few milestones. Given that most blogs fail after not very long, we’re happy to still be in the blogosphere.    We’ve managed to not only survive but succeed on a number of measures, and that success is the result of a collaboration with all of you.   Together, we’ve recently passed some big numbers worth noting, including: 500 posts, 30 blog co-authors, 2,387 total comments.    While Joe and I continue to write the bulk of posts here, we are grateful to the 30 co-authors that blog here and we’re always looking to add people to that roster.   And, we deeply appreciate the people who “de-lurk” to post comments and thus enliven the conversation here.   Of course, we’re thrilled with those of you who come here to read regularly, and so you’ll pardon a little shameless self-congratulations in the form of a Webalizer bar graph:

The upward trend here is the big story.   The trend also looks a little more dramatic because it reflects the time we’ve been with our new host, Liquid Web (long-term readers will recall the horrible server crash of June, 2008 – thanks again to Jon Smajda for his help during that time).   We had our highest month of readership (or, web traffic) so far in February, 2009.   Those numbers look like this:

  • Total Hits:   307,470
  • Total Files: 239,454

Of course, the Webalizer FAQ recommends subtracting the difference between “hits” and “files” to get a more accurate sense of the traffic.  So, for February that still means approximately 68, 016 unique visitors here.    In terms of daily traffic, the numbers look like this:

  • Average Daily Hits: 10,981
  • Average Daily Files: 8,551 (difference: 2,430)
  • Max Daily Hits:   17,253
  • Max Daily Files: 13,803 (difference: 3,450)

Even if we take the smallest number from all the above (2,430),  this is still more readers than the audience for the majority of academic books and substantially more than the readership of most academic journals.    Nicely done everyone that reads, writes and comments here!   And, once again, many thanks to all our readers, commenters and co-authors!