Senator assumes female pilot is "stewardess"(video)

A cringeworthy exchange took place during Delta Airlines First Officer Laura Haynor's testimony at a Minnesota committee hearing, where GOP State Senator Gene Dornink had the unfortunate experience of exposing his faulty programming to everyone present.

Haynor was invited to testify at a committee hearing on Minnesota's sick-and-safe leave laws. She clearly introduced herself as a Minneapolis-based pilot for Delta. However, Sen. Dornink's outdated programming kicked in, overriding the input from his ears. His brain automatically translated "pilot" to "stewardess" and he inquired about her typical workweek in that role.

Haynor corrected him, stating, "I am a first officer for Delta."

Like a malfunctioning robot spewing out pre-programmed responses that don't align with reality, Dornink stammered, "Pardon me?"

When Haynor repeated for the third time, "I'm a pilot," a glimmer of understanding appeared in Sen. Dornink's eyes as he came to the realization that he was being presented with highly unusual data. A lady pilot! How about that? What won't they think of next!

He offered a half-hearted apology, claiming, "I don't know why I said that."

But Sen. Dornink isn't the villain here; he's a victim of a society that has programmed harmful stereotypes into his brain. The real work lies in debugging and rewriting the code.

See more stories about stereotypes on Boing Boing.