The TSA has been under fire recently for their alleged aggressive and discriminatory practices while examining fliers at airport security. Critics were in an uproar when a 20-year-old black college football player, Deshon Marman, was rejected from the plane for wearing sagging pants that revealed the top of his underwear especially when news hit that a white man in Womens underwear flew undisturbed less than a week prior. This time, however, the TSA may have finally taken it too far.
When flying to Texas, Laura Adiele became the TSA’s newest target. After going through the Advance Imaging x-ray system, she was told she needed to be pat down—not her body, but her afro which was tucked in a bun.
From The Grio:
“When I first heard her say, ‘We’re going to have to pat you down,’ I thought she was talking about my body. I was turning around and putting my arms out and she said, ‘no, we’re going to have to examine your hair,’ and I said, ‘no, we’re not going to do that today and you’re going to have to get security or your supervisor,'” Adiele said. Adiele claims she looked around, saw plenty of other women with “big hair, ponytails” who weren’t being searched, and it made her mad. She felt it was discrimination, that she as a black woman with an afro tucked up into a curly bun, was being selected for hand-screening when women of other races weren’t. She had nothing to hide but just didn’t want strangers feeling her hair.
“The supervisor shows up and she says, ‘It’s our policy that we examine anything that poofs from the body,’ and I’m looking around me at all these women with bigger hair if you will and I’m thinking ‘why am I the only one being singled out here for poofy hair?” Adiele said. […] She laughs just thinking about it. “They are required to investigate and examine anything that poofs from the body? That sounds like a bogus policy to me. It just sounds bogus. Poofs?!” said Adiele.
Adiele believes she was discriminated against for the texture and style of her hair and has filed a complaint about the incident. I can only imagine the outrage I’d feel if my hair was examined before I could board a plane. It just seems a bit excessive and discriminatory in nature. Why not search all individuals with long hair then, whether “poofy” or straight?
Do you believe it was discrimination? Have you ever witnessed a hair examination or had your hair examined at the airport? Is the TSA targeting certain races in their invasive searches? Discuss.
-Jessica C. Andrews