Having just flown back from fall break, airport security was, of course, the first thing on my mind. Flying has always been a part of my life. I was a premiere member on United Airlines at the age of 8 thanks to divorced parents and cross-country travel. I flew before 9/11. I flew 2 weeks after 9/11. And oh boy was there a difference. I remember thinking to myself, what could I, a 3’8 foot tall freckle-faced 9 year-old possibly do? Why are they searching my backpack? Don’t show my teddy bear to the world!
But more so, my step dad, who never used to be searched, all of a sudden had to be patted down every time we went through security. He’s half Saudi Arabian, half American and therefore has slightly brown coloring. But is this reason for him to be repeatedly searched in airport security? Does this seem racist to anyone else?
I’m all for national protection and understand that airport security is vital to ensuring the safety of airline passengers across the globe. Although searching without a warrant seems to go against the Fourth Amendment, it was made legal when, “Citing threats of terrorism, the court ruled passengers give up all rights to be free of warrantless searches once a ‘passenger places hand luggage on a conveyor belt for inspection’ or ‘passes though a magnetometer’”.
But maybe TSA officials have taken it too far. One white officer at Boston International Airport shared, “They just pull aside anyone who they don’t like the way they look — if they are black and have expensive clothes or jewelry, or if they are Hispanic.”
Maybe this post doesn’t explain a law that is unfair but instead presents an opportunity where NOT having a law is unfair. For a country that prides itself on being a melting pot… a country that embraces racial equality… it horrifies me that racial profiling in airports remains a problem.