A 60-year-old Idaho man, Joe Hundley, accused of racially abusing and physically assaulting a 19-month-old aboard a Minneapolis-to-Atlanta bound flight has lost his executive position with AGC Aerospace and Defense Composites. It is not known whether or not Hundley was fired or resigned, but it is known that the result was directly related to the incident. Al Haase, president and CEO of AGC, issued a statement early Sunday calling the behavior by one of AGC’s employees “offensive and disturbing” and said he “is no longer employed with the company.” Hundley was president of AGC’s Unitech Composites and Structures division.
Hundley allegedly complained that Jonah was too big to sit on his mother’s lap, becoming more outspoken as the flight continued. Jessica Bennett, the child’s adoptive mother said, “she was annoyed with his comments. He’s turning my light back on after I would turn it off and constantly saying things to the staff in regards to my son, and so I took us out of the situation and we stood back by the bathrooms.” When it was time to land, Bennett and her child returned to their seats. Little Jonah began to cry as the pressure from the descent caused pain in his ears. The man demanded that the mother of the crying toddler “shut that n**ger baby up” before subsequently slapping the child in the face on the February 8 Delta flight to Atlanta.
Hundley denied striking the toddler or using a racial epithet, though he did acknowledge that he “asked the mother to quiet the child.” Hundley, who said he was traveling to Atlanta to visit a hospitalized relative, described himself as “distraught” on the flight, during which he said he consumed a single alcoholic beverage. Although it is not known how many drinks Hundley consumed, alcohol has a tendency to make people feel more relaxed or less anxious, and therefore, occasionally more inclined to say and do things they likely will regret. This is, obviously, an extreme scenario and, many will argue, one man’s individual racist actions; however, it should prove to show what many Whites are thinking subconsciously. It is reasonable to think that if this man were not under the influence of alcohol, this scenario would have never happened. But other more subtle scenarios are playing out on unconscious thought, every day, for Blacks in America. More importantly, this story that has captured the attention of the nation should serve as a race lesson for white parents raising black or biracial children and what they must do to prepare themselves and their children for the race-based encounters they will surely face.