On my recent travels I found myself at an airport. After the TSA agent looked at my license for a little longer than usual and commented that “hairstyles change so fast these days”, I was granted access to the vulnerable, makes-everyone-feel-like-they’re-a-criminal shit show that is security.
I was behind a woman with skin just a bit darker than mine; hair just a bit darker than mine. She went through the machine that is probably giving us all cancer while the TSA agents ogle at our naked bodies, and was then told to wait. She was taken aside by a (white) female agent and patted down completely, all the way to her god-damned ankles, checking her socks.
Watching this as I waited my turn alarmed me. Going through security always makes me a bit uncomfortable, but I’ve never had a single problem and I know it’s because of the color of my skin. I think that’s what makes me uncomfortable; watching others be treated like they are less-than because they are not white.
My turn comes and they tell me (aka ma’am) to move my hair from the side to the back. Duh, my braided hair is where I’ve stashed all the drugs I’m trying to smuggle.
I step out of the machine, a (white) male agent takes one look at the screen, and says I’m good to go. No pat down by the (white) female officer, no suspicion. My screening took at least a minute less than the woman in front of me.
This is but a small example of the racism and fear of “other” that is very present in the United States and is for some fucking reason accepted, with heads down, by society.
We are all immigrants (unless you are Native American). How has this simple fact been missed?
We are all human (unless you are a Cyberman from Doctor Who). How has this simple fact been missed?
United States of America, we need to get our shit together.