By Louwanda Evans
From African American pilots being requested to hold people’s baggage to buyers refusing beverages from African American flight attendants, Cabin Pressure demonstrates that racism remains to be greatly alive within the “friendly skies.” writer Louwanda Evans attracts on provocative interviews with African american citizens within the flight to ascertain the emotional exertions all in favour of a enterprise that provides occupational status, but in addition a background of the systemic exclusion of individuals of color.
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Additional info for Cabin Pressure: African American Pilots, Flight Attendants, and Emotional Labor
I get the head like The Exorcist. The funny thing is I don’t even notice it anymore. When my co-workers come and walk with me they constantly tell me. I know it’s there, but they think it’s funny and they really, really see it. They tell me about all these looks I keep getting. I usually walk through the airport with my head down so that I don’t have to make eye contact. When I do look at people, some smile, but most don’t know what to do. In Tina’s words, African Americans have and maintain an awareness that they are seen as “different” and not fitting well with preconceived, stereotypical images of what represents airline pilots.
Though many of these interactions are unspoken, they nonetheless involve a level of emotional labor that should be recognized. As the industry seeks to provide good customer service and safety, aspects of social identity also contribute to the performance of emotional labor that is outside of this context of required work. In this section, I introduce the subtle and nuanced interactions that take place with white co-workers. ” Take, for instance, the following account of a senior pilot: I guess I have this technique of fading in the background and so people don’t realize I am there.
And it’s normally when folks are already on the plane and they’re getting in their seats and there’s a line that’s backed up, backed up into the jet way. And they’re about the second or third or fourth person about to get on the plane, and then they notice me. And they notice my stripes. And it tends to be a woman, a white woman, and it tends to be an older woman. And she will look at me—she’s like, wait a minute. What the fuck? And it hits them; it’s like . . oh shit! He’s flying me today. But they won’t say anything .
Cabin Pressure: African American Pilots, Flight Attendants, and Emotional Labor by Louwanda Evans