Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford was aboard a Delta flight from Indianapolis to Boston when she saw that something was visibly wrong with the person seated next to her. As Stanford began to help the other person, the flight attendants noticed and became skeptical of the doctor.
According to the New York Times, an attendant came over to ask if she was a doctor. Stanford said that she’s registered in Massachusetts, and then voluntarily showed her medical license as proof. Stanford told the Times that she began to carry it with her after she learned about what happened to Dr. Tamika Cross, another black doctor who was asked for her license when assisting a passenger on a Delta flight in 2016.
Another flight attendant came over to see Stanford’s credentials, then left just to bring the first attendant back. Both started asking Stanford questions like, “Are you a head doctor?” and “Are you actually an MD?”
One asked if that was actually her license, to which Stanford said, “Why would I carry someone else’s medical license?” Stanford calls this a case of racial profiling.
“This is something that the medical community has embraced as a reality. When you Google a doctor, most of the pictures that come up are of a white man,” Stanford told NYT. “There are other people who look like me. And I should not be called into question about something I have worked for my entire life.”
Delta apologized to Stanford via email and has launched an investigation into the incident. The #WhatADoctorLooksLike hashtag has resurfaced following the incident, and Cross took to Facebook to express her grievances with the lack of progress the airline has made.
“In 2016, you did not believe I looked like a doctor either,” Cross wrote in her post. “Hundreds of thousands of us across this country and even in other countries banded together to show you #whatadoctorlookslike but here we stand JUST 2 years later and your employees have not learned.”