Friday, June 25, 2010

I would like to think Britsh Airways has learned its lesson...

If you recall a few months ago I talked about the sexist practice that British Airways undertook with its new policy stating that any man that is seated next to a child they don't know is asked move to another seat. (Pssst - The policy also says that the flight WILL NOT TAKE OFF until said man moves.)

Well it seems that British Airways will have to put its money where its mouth is in the case of Mr. Fischer.

Tracy Clark-Flory has a post up about the airline being ordered to pay him an out-of-court settlement totaling £2,911. But the best part is he donated all of the compensation, in addition to more out his own pocket, to the child protection organizations Kidscape and Orphans in the Wild. Not bad for a person, as far as British Airways is concerned, whose gender supposedly means he is lying in wait to abuse/molest/attack children during the front of dozens of people...while attendants are patrolling the plane.

I'm glad to see Tracy swing for the fence on this:
As I acknowledged at the time, men are responsible for the majority of child sexual abuse cases, but, as Fischer hints at, you can't broadly base public policy on that fact. Not unless you're comfortable banning men from sitting or standing in close proximity to any unattended child.
(Mind you Fischer is in the UK whereas here in the States evidence shows that most child abuse is committed by women.) However the fact of the matter is the men who do abuse children are a small subset of men and it unfair to base policy on what a small subset of the group does. (Yeah imagine an airline in the States trying to pass a policy saying that women are not allowed to sit beside children they don't know.)

And then she takes another big swing:
What's more, strangers account for a minority of sexual abuse cases. If the airline policy were to accurately rely on sex-abuse stats, they would ban kids from sitting next to their own parents, relatives, family friends and casual acquaintances. Too often, we take child protection measures that ignore actual facts -- maybe because the facts are too unpleasant to face.
(Again this is in the UK but much like adult against adult abuse/rape here in the States the majority of it done by people who knew their victims.) She ends by saying that people ignore actual facts when talking about child protection because perhaps the facts are too hard to face. I think its that plus the fact that the people who generate and benefit from from the fear behind the threat to children stand to gain so much from it. Think about how many politicians have gone nuts with the old, "won't someone think of the children" argument.

But somewhat sadly while BA has admitted that what happened to Mr. Fischer was sexist and discriminatory they still maintain that the very policy that put him in this situation in the first place is not.

So exactly how much will it cost British Airways in lawsuits and revenue lost from bad publicity before they realize that this policy is sexist, wrong, discriminatory, and needs to be done away with? Well if the winnings keep getting donated to child protection organizations I'd almost say its worth finding out.

I tip my Fro to thee Tracy.

Other sources: Telegraph


Paul said...

You know, it's really no wonder why men are reluctant to take on child care jobs (such as daycare and elementary schooling) when any possible interaction between men and children is treated suspiciously

Danny said...

I know right Paul? You have policies like this that outright say that men should not be around children because we're dangerous and then people have the nerve to not understand why men are hesitant around children.

Bloody aggravating.