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Tue Jun 19, 2018, 12:35 PM

What It's Like To Fly When The TSA Profiles You [View all]


Itís 4:45am on a Monday morning, and my flight from Washington, DC to Charlotte, North Carolina is set to depart in 90 minutes. I havenít made it through security yet, but my friend tells me it should be ďno problemoĒ -- itís so early we should be able to cruise through. Iím more skeptical. I donít think she usually flies with people who look like me.

Midway through the line, a TSA agent pulls me aside to swab my palms for explosive powder. For the 15 minutes weíve been in line, Iím the only person whoís been pulled away for this drill. When we get to the metal detectors, I go through without a beep, and yet the agent asks me to step aside for frisking and pat-downs.

Finally Iím allowed to pass through to pick up my bags from the conveyor, but I already know Iím not going to see my backpack come out the other side. Sure enough, itís been redirected on the other conveyor at the security checkpoint for more detailed inspection. As it always is.

We wait another 15 agonizing minutes. An agent finally comes, inspects the bag, and lets me get my things. My friend is stunned at how long everything has taken; we have to jog through the terminal to catch the plane. When we sit down, she literally sighs with relief that we made it. I donít tell her that if this was an international flight and we were moving through passport control, there would have been another round of interrogation about who I was and why I was doing anything. Unless weíd planned accordingly for these inevitabilities, we would have missed our flight.

IíM A U.S. CITIZEN, VERY MUCH FROM AND OF THIS COUNTRY, without the smallest blemish of a criminal record. I was born outside Chicago and raised right outside DC by a computer engineer father and a clinical research auditor mother. In high school, I was a keener for AP and IB courses, and I graduated with a biology degree from Virginia Tech (go Hokies!). Now I eke out a living writing about NASA and Hyperloop and whatnot. Stereotypes are bad, but I will admit, my life does little to dispel the ones about Indians.

I wouldnít say Iím a model citizen (I work in the media, for chrissake), but at 5-foot-2-inches and with a petite frame, Iím the definition of non-threatening. I put airport security on alert only because Iím brown -- a typecast stand-in of how Americans picture a Muslim terrorist.

Yes, it has gotten worse after Trump took office.

The author wears athletic shorts, t-shirt, and flip flops, but I always go with slacks, polo shirt, and slip on dress shoes. And I have TSA Pre-check and CBP Global Entry. Like a honey badger, TSA don't care. They're going to go for an extra-thorough hand screening every time, to catch anything their full body scan machines may have missed.

I love travel a little bit less than most liberals. White liberals can never understand why. Brown liberals know why.

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Reply What It's Like To Fly When The TSA Profiles You [View all]
IronLionZion Jun 2018 OP
dembotoz Jun 2018 #1
Corvo Bianco Jun 2018 #2
lapfog_1 Jun 2018 #3
Ron Obvious Jun 2018 #10
USALiberal Jun 2018 #15
LeftInTX Jun 2018 #4
shanti Jun 2018 #5
progressoid Jun 2018 #6
IronLionZion Jun 2018 #7
progressoid Jun 2018 #8
IronLionZion Jun 2018 #9
progressoid Jun 2018 #11
LanternWaste Jun 2018 #12
hermetic Jun 2018 #13
hunter Jun 2018 #14
DFW Jun 2018 #16