Commentary Strange Fruit

Amber Phillips flies a lot, and she knows what can happen to people whose bodies don’t fit perfectly in small airplane seats.

So when she sat down for a short flight from Raleigh-Durham to Washington, DC late last month, and her arm was touching a fellow passenger’s arm, she was worried.

“I was thinking, I really hope she doesn’t treat me mean,” Phillips would later tell the Washington Post. “She was fidgeting, and finally she looks at me and goes, ‘Can you move over?'”

But Phillips was in the window seat, and there was nowhere else to go.

This week on Strange Fruit, she tells the story of what happened over the next 45 minutes while the plane made its way to Reagan National Airport, and after it landed.

Like so many news stories lately, it culminates in a white person calling the police on a black person engaged in an everyday activity. Or as Phillips put it in a later tweet, “The cops were called on me for flying while fat & Black.”

Listen in the player above, or subscribe to Strange Fruit wherever you get your podcasts.

Laura produces Curious Louisville, Strange Fruit, and other audio news stories for WFPL.