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Southwest Airlines white mother biracial daughter flight attendant Denver

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A white mother is determined to make an example out of Southwest Airlines following a 2021 racist experience she allegedly faced with her biracial daughter. 

Mary MacCarthy’s racial discrimination lawsuit, filed Aug. 3, 2023, asserted that an airline attendant assumed her child was being trafficked solely because she and her mother had different skin tones. The justice-seeking mother claimed the carrier had police waiting for her at Denver International Airport after she and her then 10-year-old daughter Moira flew from Los Angeles got to Colorado’s state capital for her brother’s funeral.

The filing stated, “There was no basis to believe that Ms. MacCarthy was trafficking her daughter, and the only basis for the Southwest employee’s call was the belief that Ms. MacCarthy’s daughter could not possibly be her daughter because she is a biracial child.”

The lawsuit further alleges the mother-daughter duo was subjected to “blatant racism” that caused them “extreme emotional distress.” The filing referred to the Southwest flight attendant’s actions as a “racist assumption about a mixed‐race family.”

While speaking with TMZ Aug. 9, the mother recounted her whole side of the story. She claimed the flight attendant didn’t even speak with her before reporting suspicions about Moira being trafficked. Had the Southwest employee done so, the mother believes any confusion would have been cleared up “in seconds.”

MacCarthy shared that Southwest eventually refunded her tickets and, after her request, sent a subpar apology “with no acknowledgment of what the real wrongdoing had been.” 

In addition to the punitive and exemplary damages she seeks in her lawsuit, MacCarthy wants Southwest flight attendants to receive training on how situations like her family could have been handled more appropriately. 

MacCarthy’s attorney, David Lane, referred to his client’s Southwest experience as a profiling incident. H demands the carrier learns from its mistake so similar incidents aren’t repeated in the future. 

“Just as the police are constitutionally not permitted to stop-and-frisk young men of color based upon their race, corporate America is similarly not permitted to resort to such profiling in using law enforcement to stop and question racially diverse families simply based upon their divergent races, which is what Southwest did. The lawsuit is designed to bring some accountability to the airline and cause them to re-examine their training and policies,” his statement to People said in part. 

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