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Interest and Perspective

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Friday, September 15, 2006


Racist Jet Blue Blames Racist Customers, Passes the Buck to the Media

I'm sure white southerners were also "concern[ed]," "confused," and "uneas[y]" when black students wanted to eat at Woolworth's. That doesn't make violating civil rights ok. In fact, that's exactly why Congress passed Title II.

From: Dear JetBlue Mailed-By: jetblue.com
Date: Sep 15, 2006 2:46 PM
Subject: JetBlue and TSA Security Concerns
Re: email received Wednesday,09/06/06 5:20 PM, Speak Up 1437965

Dear ******,

When you first wrote us expressing your thoughts on the situation at our terminal in New York's JFK airport involving Raed Jarrar, we provided the information we had at the time. We have since completed our internal investigation of the situation, and we would like to provide you with the results.

As you may recall, Mr. Jarrar was approached by JetBlue crewmembers and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel prior to boarding his JetBlue flight. Their purpose was to talk with Mr. Jarrar and relay their observations of other customers' reaction to his T-shirt, which read "We Will Not Be Silent" in both Arabic and English. At no time was Mr. Jarrar told he would not be able to board his JetBlue flight unless and until he removed the T-shirt. The spirit of the conversation was to inform Mr. Jarrar of the unease or confusion other customers' had toward the T-shirt, which they apparently did not fully read or did not understand.

We agree with Mr. Jarrar that it is his Constitutional right to wear what he chooses. In fact, JetBlue does not have a policy regarding apparel, except in cases where profanity or vulgar images or messages may offend our customers. That guidance of course was not applicable in this situation.

Our crewmembers are responsible for providing safe and secure travel for all customers, however, and anything that causes concern or confusion at the airport or on the flight must be addressed, in a respectful and sensitive manner. Based on our investigation, we feel our crewmembers acted appropriately and with due sensitivity to Mr. Jarrar in addressing this situation. We also believe that TSA personnel acted appropriately and with all due respect toward Mr. Jarrar.

We believe the subsequent media attention of this incident will further sensitize and educate the public on the importance of diversity and acceptance, and as such, we welcome the public's scrutiny of our security measures.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide this information to you directly. We welcome feedback, because serving you is our purpose.

Best regards,
Jason Ward
Director Customer Commitment
JetBlue Airways

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