Discrimination or hoax? Adam Selah is kicked off a Delta Air Lines’ flight for speaking in Arabic

The recent video of YouTube prankster Adam Selah getting kicked off a plane for speaking Arabic garnered more than 31 million views — and plenty of mixed reactions. People are either enraged that Selah was discriminated against — or they aren’t buying into it.

“Race baiting for YouTube revenue … You are disgusting. I really hope Delta sues you,” one viewer commented on his YouTube video. “I swear to God I’m never flying with Delta again,” said another sympathetic viewer.

Delta Air Lines released their statement on the incident saying, “Upon landing the crew was debriefed and multiple passenger statements collected. Based on the information collected to date, it appears the customers who were removed sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting.”

Selah has about two million subscribers on his YouTube channel, featuring videos of him playing prank — like trying to fly to a different city in a suitcase or counting down in Arabic on a different flight to see what kind of reaction he’d get. This is why some viewers deny this being an act of discrimination, but those were two separate events.

Selah told the New York Times, “The only thing I can say is, I would never film a phone video. That’s when it’s really serious, and I must film.” Selah claimed that as soon as staff tried to quietly take him outside to talk, he knew what was going to happen. So he pulled out his phone and started recording.

I was absolutely appalled when I saw this video. The only person that came to this man’s defense was a fellow passenger who appeared to be of a similar ethnic background. Passengers in the back either waved goodbye as he recorded or sat there in silence.

I would hope that someone wouldn’t use something like this to get more views or fame. But whether or not Selah’s story is true, let’s not pretend people aren’t xenophobic or don’t have beliefs that inconvenience marginalized groups of people.

America prides itself on being the country of the free and also being a “melting pot,” but people are still bothered by others speaking a different language.

You can’t tell me that racism isn’t alive and well when President-elect Donald Trump ran on a xenophobic platform and his supporters went with it. Of course racism and xenophobia aren’t the same thing, but what’s so scary about foreigners? Would the stereotypes being placed on them have anything to do with it?

This probably makes citizens with similar views feel as if it’s okay to act on these racist thoughts.

Another example would be when an elderly white woman went on a racist rant after two Hispanic women added an extra item while checking out at a retail store. The woman told them that if they didn’t know English, they should learn it and that them coming from a different country didn’t mean anything. She even went on to say that they were “nothing.”

Is it that farfetched to say there weren’t passengers on the plane who would agree with her? Speaking another language shouldn’t make someone subject to discrimination or harassment.

If what Selah told us is the truth, then Delta needs to be held accountable for their actions. And if this story is fabrication, then Selah must be held accountable. No matter what, people must fight against racial profiling and discrimination.

COURTESY OF WARREN ROHNER

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