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On racial profiling

Why do so many people complain about being discriminated against in the name of safety? Would they rather save a few minutes – or hell, even several hours – at the potential cost of getting themselves and many other innocent people blown up or injured, and hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars worth of damage to valuable infrastructure, all because authorities had to step carefully so as not to offend someone’s sensitivites?

I’m not white, and I’ve been taken for being Middle-Eastern before. In fact a crazy white lady even stopped me in the street once, while I was working outside, taking photographs of street intersections for insurance purposes. A police officer came, was courteous and asked some basic questions, and informed me she had no right to hold me there, that I didn’t have to stick around. But I did, because my attitude is that it’s all part of the new world we live in.

Has anyone considered that perhaps the biggest way the terrorists “got us” wasn’t by bombing the Twin Towers on September 11th, but rather all the changes since that day that have made the everyday task of flying a nightmare for every single person in America who is unfortunate enough to have no choice but to fly somewhere?

Sure, it’s not fair: it’s not fair that my skin tone resembles that of the terrorists, or that there are counts of peaceful Muslims living in America who have nothing do with terrorists other than sharing with them, in a very loose interpretation, their religion, and perhaps place of birth or upbringing. But why can’t we just accept that that is the unfortunate cost of acts of terrorism, especially those of the past decade?

Why can’t a Middle-Eastern person approach a TSA officer with the attitude…

Hello, officer. I understand this isn’t personal. You’re doing your job, and I’m going to be as cooperative as I can to expedite the process, as uncomfortable as this may be. I’m willing to give up a few minutes or even a couple of hours to ensure the well-being and safety of hundreds of people. What happened wasn’t your fault, nor mine. It’s just the cards we’ve been dealt, and the cost to me is that I’m going to be looked at with a bit of non-personal and well-intentioned suspicion and tighter scrutiny. The cost to you is that you do a despised but important job, and probably don’t get the gratitude you deserve. Officer, as long as you remain professional and respectful, I will assist you in doing your job.

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