Although racial profiling
is something that is utterly wrong, there is something deep inside of me that supports this behavior. There are numerous stories I have heard first hand of cops
pulling over black motorists
for no particular reason, except for the fact that they are not driving a beat up Pinto
. In the aftermath of 9/11
, the tables have turned, and now it is Arab
and Muslim Americans
who are the target of racial profiling
. Being a Muslim American, I am part of this target group. Looking like an Arab and having an Arabic name doesn't really help. That, and the fact that I look like a terrorist
. Even my friends told me that I look like a terrorist
in my drivers license photo. There's even a mugshot of a highjacker
that somewhat resembles me. But seriously, I'm not one of them! Keeping a sense of humor about it is the only thing I can do.
While traveling through Europe last year, it was frustrating being continually the one who is singled out. European Airport personnel continuously checked my American Passport to see if it was fake, looked two or three times more closely at my photo, and, you get the idea. The most frustrating was at Stansted Airport outside of London. While travelling with two friends who walked past a checkpoint without being noticed, I was grabbed by a really obnoxious security woman. The dialogue went something like this:
Woman: Let me see your ticket and passport. Where are you travelling to?
Woman: Why are you travelling there?
Me: For fun.
Woman: Are you travelling alone?
Woman: Who are you travelling with?
Me: Those two guys who just walked right past you.
Woman: (in a less obnoxious tone) Oh. Well, we hope you have a nice trip. Enjoy your flight. (Fake smile).
There were many incidents like this throughout Europe. My passport took a lot of abuse because of security personnel bending it to make sure it wasn't fake. Ugh. They had no reason to profile me, and it was extraordinarily annoying.
But now, after September 11th, I don't mind being profiled, as long as it's here in the US (and as long as they realize that I'm completely harmless, unarmed, and have no grudge against the US), and most importantly, let me on board the damn plane, I don't mind the extra time.
This week, one of President Bush's own Secret Service agents of Arab descent was profiled and not allowed on two different flights because of 'suspicious behavior.' The fact that they didn't let him on the flight even after the police and Secret Service cleared him is ridiculous, and is clear racial discrimination. A perfect example of how ridiculous and dumb some airline people are. So in the end, racially profile me all you want, as long as you let me on the plane in the end. If you don't racially profile me and single me out for extra security inspection, I'll be very disappointed, nor will I feel really safe on your airline.