Talking While Brown: A Look at Racism in U.S. Airports
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I know that Barack Obama's election ended all racial strife in America, but somebody forgot to tell the TSA.
Officials ordered nine Muslim passengers, including three young children, off an AirTran flight headed to Orlando from Reagan National Airport yesterday afternoon after two other passengers overheard what they thought was a suspicious remark.
Members of the party, all but one of them U.S.-born citizens who were headed to a religious retreat in Florida, were subsequently cleared for travel by FBI agents who characterized the incident as a misunderstanding, an airport official said. But the passengers said AirTran refused to rebook them, and they had to pay for seats on another carrier secured with help from the FBI.
Kashif Irfan, one of the removed passengers, said the incident began about 1 p.m. after his brother, Atif, and his brother's wife wondered aloud about the safest place to sit on an airplane.
"My brother and his wife were discussing some aspect of airport security," Irfan said. "The only thing my brother said was, 'Wow, the jets are right next to my window.' I think they were remarking about safety."
Serves them right, making small talk to one another on a plane. While being dark-skinned and Muslim-looking at that!
The TSA and AirTran ended up taking everyone off the plane and re-screening them and their luggage, before allowing them to take off - only without that trouble-making family. According to TSA, this is an example of the system working: