United Airlines and Social Media Backlash

United Airlines and Social Media Backlash

My brother is not a "loser kid" - he is and will be a better human being than any of you are.​
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Following the events of the United flight early last week, wherein a man had to be forcibly removed from a plane due to not following procedure, United Airlines has been receiving a lot of negative backlash from media. (Read the story here.) Since the incident, people have been taking to social media to voice their complaints. This is not a new phenomenon, as social media was created as an outlet to connect with friends, family, communities, as well as various corporations.

The older I have gotten, the less I agree with complaining about your life or problems on social media. While occasionally it has done some moderate good, such as getting in touch easier and quicker with stores and sometimes even state politicians, I do not think it should be a default. If you want to complain, call your mom.

This incident with United Airlines became very personal for me, very quickly.

This is my little brother Patrick, who was at the Newark Airport back in March with my step-mother, off to visit family in Florida. My brother, who is a major dog-lover, was ecstatic when a United service dog came up to greet him and a service member snapped a picture. It appeared on United's official Facebook page soon after.

This past week, following the situation on a United flight, the comments on this original Facebook post turned very nasty. Featured comments along the lines of:

"This photo was taken about 40 minutes before the boy was given a skull fracture by a flight attendant moments after asking for apple juice... everyone knows only terrorists drink apple juice, that's how you know."

"The dog in this photo was most likely used to forcebly remove a paying passenger from the plane shortly after this photo was taken." (Yes, forcibly was spelled that way.)

I also witnessed my brother being called a "loser kid" and many people commenting on the fact that he is white.

Few and far between, were about two comments about how this is someone's child, and that it's not fair to be taking out your misplaced anger on social media on a post about a child and a dog. And to that I say: Yes. This is a person's child. This is my little brother, who is sweet, kind, intelligent, and wonderful. This is my little brother, a real person, whom people think it's okay to attack simply because they have read the wrong news outlet or heard the wrong information secondhand, and not correctly understood what happened on the United flight. I encourage you to understand that while you cower behind your computers and phones, this is a child with a heart and emotions, and I am so glad he does not have the displeasure of seeing any of these comments. He is in no way affiliated with United Airlines, and by the way, was not dragged off the plane by anyone, much less this dog. If you are one of the people who have commented on this picture and have a problem with the way the airline handles things, you can be a contributing member of society and write a letter and have your voice heard by someone who will actually listen. Your opinions on social media mean nothing - I hate to break it to you. This is a little shout out to those of you who feel as though you are important enough to anyone in this company or any other company that they will be hurt over anything you say on social media. My brother is not a "loser kid" - he is and will be a better human being than any of you are.

We as Americans have the amazing, often taken for granted right of freedom of speech and the freedom to use social media to voice our opinions, we have abused it. This is not how you bring about any kind of change. Social media backlash is not the correct way to handle perceived injustice, nor your societal issues. There is a certain etiquette and awareness that is important to use when interacting with other people - the same should be implicated for social media use.

In conclusion: if you feel real injustice is taking place, here are my proposed steps to remedy it.

1. Do Your Research

As with anything, you cannot form an accurate argument until you have all of the information. I encourage you to look deeper into the problem or situation you have seen or have been faced with. in United's situation, they actually broke no laws or protocol.

2. Contact the Right People - the Right Way.

Whiny Facebook posts are virtually nothing in comparison to an actual phone call. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram comments do no good, unless you're some sort of celebrity. As aforementioned, the best way to have your voice heard, if it really means that much to you, is to write a letter or pick up the phone and call. Yes, this takes far more time than a ten sentence Facebook post does, but your voice will be heard by someone who might actually care, if you have a valid point to make.

3. Better yet...

Call or visit your local politicians office. They are there to help you. Discuss with them the possibility or plausibility of passing laws or bills to keep things from happening twice.

There you have it. A full three step solution.

Please be a decent human being on social media. Real people are reading your comments, and real people are behind the screen. Real people are part of the picture.

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Ilhan Omar Is at Best Foolhardy and at Worst, Yes, Anti-Semitic

Her latest statements seem to lack substance, motivation, or direction.

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I find the case of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to be a curious one.

Specifically, I am referring to the recent controversy over select comments of hers that have generated accusations of anti-Semitism. In all honesty, prior to doing research for this article, I was prepared to come to her defense.

When her comments consisted primarily of "Israeli hypnosis" and monied interest, I thought her wording poor, though not too egregiously deviated from that of most politicians in the current climate of bad behavior. After all, Israeli PACs surely do have a monied interest in the orientation of United States policy in the Middle East. Besides, if President Trump can hypothesize about killing someone in broad daylight and receive no official sanction, I don't see the need for the House of Representatives to hand down reprimand to Rep. Omar for simply saying that Israel may have dealt wrongly, regardless of the veracity of that position.

And yet, seemingly discontent that she had not drawn enough ire, Omar continued firing. She questioned the purported dual loyalty of those Americans who support the state of Israel, while also making claim that the beloved former President Obama is actually not all that different from the reviled current President Trump.

In short, the initial (mostly) innocuous statements about the United States' relation with Israel have been supplanted by increasingly bizarre (and unnecessary) postulations.

Those latest two controversies I find most egregious. Questioning the loyalty of an American citizen for espousing support for a heavily persecuted world religion and in defense of a refuge for practitioners of that self-same religion that has existed as an independent state since 1948, seems, in really no uncertain terms, anti-Semitic.

After all, is it not her own party that so adamantly supports persecuted Palestinians in the very same region? Is it not she and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) (who is not without her own streak of anti-Semitic controversy) that have rejected challenges to their own loyalty in being ethnically Somali and Palestinian respectively? Is her claim not akin to the "racist" demands that Obama produce proof of his birth in the United States, and the more concrete racism that asserted he truly was not? And (if you care to reach back so far) can her statement not be equated to suggestions that President John F. Kennedy would be beholden to the Vatican as the first (and to date only) Catholic to hold the presidency?

From what I can discern amongst her commentary, in Omar's mind, the rules that apply to her framework on race, ethnicity, religion, and culture as sacred idols above reproach do not extend to her Jewish contemporaries.

Oh, and may I remind you that over 70% of Jewish Americans voted for Hilary Clinton in 2016.

And yet, beyond even this hypocrisy, is the strange disdain Omar suddenly seems to hold for Barack Obama. Even as a non-Democrat, while I can find reason for this, it is still largely perplexing.

To begin with, I recognize that Ilhan Omar is not your prototypical Democrat. She would scoff at being termed a moderate, and likely would do the same to being labeled a traditional liberal. While she doesn't identify as an outright democratic socialist, one would have to be totally clueless to avoid putting her in the company of those who do, such as Tlaib or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

As such, she's bound to have some critical evaluations of President Obama, despite the lionizing that the Democratic establishment has and continues to engage in. Two points still stick out to me as obvious incongruities in her statement, however.

First, Obama and Trump are nothing alike. Again, this coming from someone who does not regularly support either, I can at least attempt to claim objectivity. While Obama might not have been faithful to all the demands of the far-left during his presidency, his position on the political spectrum was far from the extreme bent that Trump has ventured into.

Secondly, there is the style of the two men to consider. While Obama had his share of goofs and gaffes (I still think it somewhat juvenile that he often refused to say "radical Islamic terrorism" when referring to Islamist extremists) he pales in comparison to Trump. Every week Trump has his foot caught in a new bear trap. Obama is enormously tame in comparison.

And in addition to all of that, one must beg the question of Omar's timing. With Republicans emboldened by her controversies and House Democratic leadership attempting to soothe the masses, why would Omar strike out at what's largely a popular figure for those that support her most? There seemed no motivation for the commentary and no salient reasoning to back it up, save that Omar wanted to speak her mind.

Such tactlessness is something that'll get you politically killed.

I do not believe Barack Obama was a great president, but that's not entirely important. I don't live in Ilhan Omar's district; her constituents believe Obama was a great president, and that should at least factor into her considerations. Or maybe she did weigh the negative value of such backlash and decided it wouldn't matter? 2019 isn't an election year, after all. Yet, even if that's the case, what's to gain by pissing off your superiors when they're already pissed off at you?

You need to pick your battles wisely in order to win the war, and I'm highly doubtful Omar will win any wars by pitching scorched-earth tactics over such minute concerns.

Her attitude reminds me not only of that of some of her colleagues engaging obtusely and unwisely over subjects that could best be shrugged off (see the AOC media controversies), but also some of my own acquaintances. They believe not only in the myth of their own infallibility, but the opposition bogeyman conjured by their status in a minority or marginalized group. As the logic goes, "I'm a member of x group, and being so gives me the right to decimate anyone who has any inclination to stand against me in any capacity, tit for tat." So much for civility.

I initially came here to defend Rep. Ilhan Omar, and I still do hold to that in certain cases. The opposition to some of her positions is unwarranted. She is allotted the freedom of speech, as are all Americans.

And yet, in certain other cases she has conducted herself brashly, and, one could argue, anti-Semitically.

All I can say is that I am content living adjacent to Minneapolis, not in it. You'd be hard-pressed to find me advocating for leadership that makes manifest in such impolitic fashion.

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