Saturday, August 12, 2006

Racial Profiling in Airports, does it make sense?


After the recent plot to blow as many as 10 planes was revealed in the UK, the issue of racial profiling started flowing on the surface again. Should people who look anything like Arabs or Pakistanis be stopped more than those with a different ethnicity.
According to the CNN poll today, 82% of CNN's visitors support racial profiling while 18% are against it. It was quite good to see that 18% of CNN's readers are Arabs :)

Anyway, I know plenty of non-Arab non-Muslim Americans who were/are against racial profiling because it is humiliating, and I totally agree. In 2003 I had 12 internal flights inside the US for interviews and every single flight I was "randomly selected" for additional security measurees, except in one small airport in Morgantown , West Virginia where all the 20 white passengers on the fligth were aksed to take off their shoes and their luggages were extensively searched and I was the only one who passed smoothely without even taking off my shoes. I know, that's hard to believe.

When it comes this issue , I try to be neutral and it's very hard to. Even if it's understandable it really sucks to know that you are a suspect just because of the color of your skin or the country you come from.
Why do Americans and probably most Europeans want all Arabs and Pakistanis to be searched very well at airports? The answer is always there, because all those who were behind the attacks in New York, Madrid, London, Bali, Riyad, Casabalnca, Amman, Sharm Sheikh and you name it were either Arabs or Pakistanis or look-alikes. Was therr any Asian, black, Caucasian or latinobwho bombed himself to kill others at least recently? No.

Does this justfiy stopping Arabs and Pakistanis and letting not focusing much on searching others? The answers seems to be yes.

Is anyone who supports racial profiling a racist who dislikes Arabs and Pakistanis?
Some are, but I believe the majority are not. I feel that most supporters of profiling do know that most Arabs would not do by any chance what those behind the forementioned terrorist attacks did, but out of fear they want anything to be done to prevent such attacks from happening, thereofre they support profiling although it clearly holds a lot of discrimination that even many of them are against, but .... they have no choice.

I assume you're still reading, and maybe you've noticed that I haven't even mentioned profiling against Muslims in particular, and the reason neing that racial profiling is agsiant a race, and Islam is not race-specific. There are Muslims from all races. There are Muslims in almost every single country in the world, the majority of which do not have long beards, do not look like anyone who carried 9/11 or any other attack and do not even speak Arabic.
You don't believe me? Check the pictures of the previous leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi ... does he look too scary??

Some names fell from our memories quickly. Remember Richard Reid the shoe bomber who had a British father an a Jamaican mother? How about Senor José Padilla the American- Puerto Rican who was a key member in al Qaeda? John Walker Lindh the White American who also fought with Al Qaeda? Have you listened to the speech of Matthew Stewart threatening people in a perfect Australian accent?
Abu Sayyaf the group of Asians which kidnapped and killed toursist in the Far East?

Those in addition to some others are the names of non-Arabs, non-Pakistani looking people who joined al Qaeda and there are probably more people who we don't know about. The fact remains that most members of al Qaeda look similar, but to combat prevent any terrorist attack you should think like a terrorist, and those who blow up 10 airplanes from seemingly-harmless liquids are so damn smart, and if it happened that only people with a certain ethnicity are searched extensively, they can easily use the other "foreigners", with blond hair and blue eyes and just ask them to shave their beards and speak in their own perfectly non-suspicious accent to get through security while the INS is searching a visiting Egyptian student who does not know how to light a cigarette.

Until some sense prevails, every time I travel I'll make sure that I'll wear my only pairs of socks without holes and use Gilette Fusion to keep my full cheeks hairless while I'm being "randomly" selected. Bon Voyage!

32 comments:

Linda said...

i just think it is a stupid tactic to use racial profiling because from an offensive point of view it might just not work. these "terrorists" are obvously doing their research and sound smart, so i think they will go so much out of their way to look non-arab or non-muslim, what ever that may be.

Hareega said...

that was my pijt linda, it might be wiser to have psychological profiling where people who might be about to do something can be somehow suspected by experts in airports. the problem is that such experts need a lot of training and higher salaries.... so i don't think we'll see it

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