Here We Go Again: Southwest Airlines in a Stew Over Biracial Baby. [VIDEO]

Here We Go Again: Southwest Airlines in a Stew Over Biracial Baby. [VIDEO]

Here We Go Again: Southwest Airlines in a Stew Over Biracial Baby. [VIDEO]

Southwest Airlines just can’t catch a break these days. Last year they had to deal with dragging a passenger off a flight. Then in April an engine exploded on a flight, killing a passenger.

Now a woman is accusing them of . . . you guessed it. Racism.

Lindsay Gottlieb, a women’s basketball coach at the University of California, was traveling over the weekend with her one-year-old son, Jordan Peter Martin. However, at the Denver airport, she ran into a Southwest employee whom Gottlieb claims required her to ‘prove’ that she was Jordan’s mother. Why? Well, according to the employee, it was because they have different last names.

But that’s not Gottlieb’s story. To her, it’s because little Jordan is biracial, as his father is black. As she tweeted in an angry post:

“I’m appalled that after approx 50 times flying with my 1-year-old son ticket counter personnel told me that I had to “prove” that he was my son despite having his passport. She said we have a different last name. My guess is because he has a different skin color.”

The employee asked to see Jordan’s birth certificate, and then asked for proof through, of all things, a Facebook post, according to Gottlieb.

Gottlieb was eventually able to board the flight with little Jordan.

Southwest responded to this dustup and issued this statement:

“We’re looking into this specific interaction, and we have engaged with the customer directly to address her concerns. Our employees are well regarded for their hospitality and we always strive for the best experience for anyone who entrusts us with their travel.”

Well, of course they’re looking into it, as they should any serious customer complaint. Moreover, Gottlieb herself thinks that it was “just one insensitive employee.”

So why is she making such a big fuss over this?

Here’s her answer:

“I do feel like as a white female, with a position of privilege, and a platform where someone is going to listen, it is my responsibility to say, hey, this happened, this isn’t okay.”

Ah, yes. She’s anointed herself as another social justice crusader.

Look, I can understand her frustration. Anytime you mess with a mother over her child, the momma bear emerges. I get that — I’m a mom, too. I probably would’ve been just as angry, and I would’ve complained to Southwest as well.

But Gottlieb has no proof whatsoever that the employee judged the situation due to race. As she said, it’s ‘my guess.’ And her guess could be wrong, but that’s not stopping her from blowing this up into a racial issue. It’s for Jordan’s sake, she says. “Maybe somewhere down the line, that helps my son, who is bi-racial and will be for his entire life.”

Well, call me old school, but in my opinion what would’ve helped little Jordan is if she had already married his father and taken his last name. That way there would’ve been no name confusion. Now Gottlieb and Jordan’s father, Patrick Martin, do plan to be married in September, so there’s that. But will Gottlieb take her husband’s last name?

Or is that part of the oppressive patriarchy or something?

Furthermore, what will Southwest do now? Is the airline going to have to take the Starbucks apology tour with day-long sensitivity training? Frankly, I think they should offer a boilerplate apology to Ms. Gottlieb, and focus more on those exploding engines.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

6 Comments
  • GWB says:

    So why is she making such a big fuss over this?
    Because, I’m guessing she’s a SJZ?
    a position of privilege
    Yep. She’s a SJZ.

    “Maybe somewhere down the line, that helps my son, who is bi-racial and will be for his entire life.”
    What helped my son is my raising him to believe he’s an individual and his skin color is just a cosmetic aspect of his physiology. And if someone wants to make an issue of it, he’s to write that person off as an idiot and move along.

    Is the airline going to have to take the Starbucks apology tour with day-long sensitivity training?
    If they do, I won’t have any airlines I’m really willing to fly, at all, anymore. (Not that I want to fly at all nowadays. Remy has a great explanation as to why.)

  • Oldav8r says:

    Let me add a little context. I was an airline pilot for twenty years. One evening a flight attendant (and mom) came to the cockpit and said there was something odd about a male passenger. He had a young child (12-18 mos) and no support equipment. No diapers, food, bottle, bag etc. She had tried to engage him but he was not very communicative. The situation set off her alarm bells. We decided to have the police meet the flight. They did and confronted the passenger who, it turned out had legal custody. The mother (addict) had abducted the child and he had taken an opportunity to grab and run. Without any of his own possessions either. My point is that in dealing with the public by the thousands Agents and flight attendants sometimes get “that vibe” and feel compelled to follow up to some degree.
    Now full disclosure: I have a biracial grandchild and In my relatively small cohort of (mostly white) friends, two have biracial children. Lady, this is 2018 for Pete’s sake. You only think this is a big deal because you live in Berkeley and work at Cal so you’re convinced that the rest of the world is not as pure as you are.

  • Garland Twitty says:

    What a bizarre story! Given the number of today’s women, married and unmarried, traveling with children who have different last names, why did this particular situation raise a flag with the SW employee? On the other hand, even if it did, SW was way out of line with the demand for proof. As the previous comment points out, the employee should have merely reported the suspicions and let our justice take any warranted action.

    • GWB says:

      No, direct interaction is always the best solution – actually deal with the person as a fellow human being. Unless you’re dealing with a SJZ – then… well, you’re best off avoiding contact altogether.

      There are federal laws, btw, that put the airlines in the position of policing things like this. Technically, if you travel with a minor across state lines, you are required to be their parent, legal guardian, or have some sort of legal in loco parentis document. When identity documents show different names, you’ll need to provide some proof that the kid is yours or legally under your purview.

      Southwest wasn’t wrong to ask. The Social Justice Zealot was an ass to assume it was racism.

      • Robin H says:

        Then it’s interesting that this was the only time she was asked for proof. If SW was doing what they should have the other airlines didn’t.

  • Garland Twitty says:

    Just for the record: we checked with our daughter and one of our daughters-in-law, both of whom have retained their “maiden” names [is that still policatically correct?], both of whom have been traveling alone for 10 years with children who have their fathers’ last names. Never once have they been asked for any proof by any airline. Furthermore, for any airline to adopt such a blanket policy, or consider the no-longer-rare biracial family a flag, would be counterproductive.
    On the other hand, a suspicious situation, which could include a father abducting his own child (with the same last name), should be flagged.

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