Delta Airlines was in the spotlight recently after a flight attendant refused to allow a black female doctor, Ms. Tameka Cross, to assist a passenger in need of emergency medical attention. Upon the flight attendants request for a doctor among the fellow passengers, Ms. Cross stood up and stated she was a doctor. The attendant's response? "Oh no sweetie . . . We are looking for actual physicians." The attendant allowed another passenger, a white male, to assist the passenger in need. And then she proceeded to ask Ms. Cross for her physician credentials, which she did not do for the male physician she allowed to help. Ms. Cross posted a social media account of the experience and it received national attention, sparking controversy over implicit bias and the discrimination black doctors, especially females, face from other people. Delta responded quickly, inviting Ms. Cross to their headquarters, and publicly stating that they are using this to challenge the implict bias of their employees and education people about discrimination. The company also put an end to their informal "policy" to ask for physician's credentials before allowing them to help a passenger in need. A physician colleague and mentor of Ms. Cross who attended the meeting stated he had assisted passengers on Delta flights before and was never asked to provide medical credentials. The company stated it was not mandated by law or other requirement, but it was withint their company's policy and they decided to end it after this incident. The implicit bias is not limited to Delta employees or flight attendants and is something that minorities experience often, and seems to be continuing despite efforts to combat bias and discrimination in today's society.
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