Airplane Segregation or “to blanc or not to blanc”

Anyone who is not Haitian is automatically called blanc, which is Creole for white. I remember how much that bothered me, an African American when I first traveled to Haiti in June of 2000. I too was called “blanc”. It was November 2012. I had an overnight layover in Ft. Lauderdale. I didn’t have money for a hotel so I slept all night in the cold, cold, cold airport. I awoke to many voices around me. I stumbled to the bathroom, washed my face, rinsed my mouth, patted my hair in place. As I returned to what I thought was my seat, there was something TERRIBLY WRONG with the picture. All blacks were sitting on one side of the airport and all whites were sitting on the other. I don’t know why, but I nervously sat on the black side of the airport too. They announced the plane to Port-au-Prince and called the first seat numbers. All the white side of the airport rose and stood in line. Us blacks, just sat. Then the ticket taker called the rest of the numbers, a black sea rose in unison and stood. I too stood and stiffly walked down the airplane aisle, through the wave of white travelers and joined my people in the back of the plane. I saw very clearly that today I was not “blanc”.


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