Fitting the Profile

For quite some years perhaps 50% of the time I would fly by myself, I would be sent through secondary inspection by airport security. I had long hair, often less than stylish clothes and with some regularity was donning a protest shirt or button. I fit the profile, though they assure us there is no profile.

I can relate to grandma

I can relate to grandma

My mother was awarded an honorary doctorate and she asked me to come up to see her graduate. I had cut my hair already for another event where I had to fain respectability. I wore nicer clothes, because it makes my mother happy and when I got to the airport I now apparently fit a different profile. With my greying hair and business outfit, I did not go thru regular security but some other line, basically by myself, where I did not have to take my shoes off, nor remove my laptop from my bag. Nor did they seem to care that I accidentally had more than three ounces of fluid in my tiny bag.

No waiting, minimal inspection

No waiting, minimal inspection

While all the other passengers were being herded around and jumping through TSA hoops, I breezed through. Apparently now having graduated (at least temporarily) to the class of travelers which don’t need to be inspected.

Frankly, I am more comfortable with the profile that has viewed me as a possible threat than the likes of the white collar criminals who have this, and almost all the other systems, stacked in their favor.  For over all the years of secondary inspection I was never inconvenienced by more than a few minutes, never had an invasive cavity search, never was interrogated by intimidating TSA officers.  For that treatment is saved for people who fit another profile that they claim they don’t have.

racial profiling

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

2 responses to “Fitting the Profile”

  1. Emilia Plater says :

    Interesting to read about the hair pat-down thing in that other article, and definitely racial. I have often flown with my ridiculous curls puffed out all over the place and never had anyone suggest that they should be patted. My gowns, on the other hand, do often merit extra searching…

  2. Seby aka Twigsy says :

    It’s interesting, in the article you linked to about hair, that it was mentioned people like to ‘touch’ black women’s hair. I think that’s weird. I remember when I worked at a local call center, years ago, there was a woman I worked with. She was a sweet woman, a friend of mine (at least while I worked there, lost touch after I left). We were talking one day and she said to me “You can touch my hair”. And I just looked at her blankly… I think I blinked in confusion and said “Why?”. It was awkward. That was the moment I learned that, apparently, some people have a fascination with touching black women’s hair. Ok, whatever. I finally shrugged and said “Ok” and touched her hair briefly. I wasn’t sure what reaction she wanted. I said something like “I think your hair is pretty”. It never came up again. People are odd.

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