*In this era of COVID-19 that has drastically and negatively impacted the airline industry for the past six months, American Airlines (AA) is facing another problem. The storied airlines carrier is drawing backlash for allowing its employees to wear pins supporting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
“Clearly we live in a time where it is so important to have a dialogue about this important issue of racism in our society and try to find common ground,” an American Airlines executive said in a recent company-wide statement. “American is truly committed to having an inclusive culture that is welcoming to all and a reflection of our country and world.”
The uniform pin was designed by AA’s Black Professional Network as a symbol of support. Black team members asked if they could wear a Black Lives Matter pin after learning that other airlines are allowing their employees to do so. American Airlines decided to allow them to do it.
However, everyone is not supportive of BLM. Many American Airlines workers are connected in numerous ways with police officers, as well as customers, who oppose BLM, which is viewed as “anti-cop,” “racist” and “Marxist.”
Some AA employees vowed to wear pins supporting police officers. There are also customers who are saying they will not fly with American Airlines in the future.
Nevertheless, American Airlines is sticking by its decision.
“We believe Black Lives Matter is an expression of equality, not a political statement,” American Airlines said in a statement. “It doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter, rather that in our society Black lives should matter and be valued the same as others. This decision underscores our belief that all people, regardless of race, gender or ethnicity, deserve to be treated with equality and respect.”