Emmit Eclass Walker’s Facebook post went viral seemingly overnight after he pointed out an example of everyday racism that black Americans deal with.
His post shared an event that occurred while waiting in the priority boarding line for a plane. He alleged that the lady behind him had repeatedly refused to accept that he, a black man, had priority boarding.
When she assumed he must be in the military to be able to enjoy first class service, Emmit replied:
Nope too big to ever be in anybody's military. I’m just a n***a with money
The initial Facebook post has been liked over 700,000 times since it was written, and it has been shared over 250,000 times.
People in the comments reacted with humour, disbelief and anger.
For Walker, the focus and anger placed on the woman after his post was too much, and he followed up with an Instagram post:
When I posted that post on Facebook I didn’t expect all that to come from it. I can honestly name the four or five people I thought would comment with something funny, and that will be it.
This racist stuff is definitely a issue but this is not the solution to that issue. It brings me no joy waking up in paradise for my 37th birthday and knowing that woman might be going through hell.
The story was definitely real, just like this issue is definitely real, but I now know that I myself should have handled it another way, or left it how it was, and not shared it publicly.
When dealing with people I always try to stay on the side of right; so to make sure I never do anybody wrong, I try to always put myself in that person's shoes, and ask how would I feel if that person did this to me, and if I was her this morning I would be a total wreak today, and that doesn’t help this situation, or her... It only makes them more angry, and bring more drama...
SO I WOULD LIKE TO APOLOGIZE AGAIN TO THE WOMAN I HAD THIS ENCOUNTER WITH YESTERDAY. NO MATTER HOW WRONG YOUR ACTIONS YOU DON’T DESERVE THIS
He and his loved ones have also been receiving threatening messages, which prompted him to take to Instagram once more to beg for it to stop.
If y’all want to be angry at someone be angry with me for posting it, and direct your hate to me, and not the ones defending my character to the ignorant ones.
I am ok with people talking negative about me, and then thinking whatever they want to think about me. Long as the people that are close to me know the real me THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS...
The vast majority of people, however, have been supportive.
You don’t owe her an apology! And the fact that you have apologised shows your true character and who you really are! I’m sorry you had this experience. Enjoy your trip!
Another shared her sentiments:
Hi there! Looked you up to ask why you apologised as there was nothing wrong with correcting that lady. And apologies for nothing, hate it so much. But than I saw your video. Now I understand. You genuinely have so much more class than I and most others.
If you want to report harassment or abusive behaviour on Instagram, here's where you can do so.