If there’s any question whether racism is alive and well in the United States, this should help. The Raw Story reports, Iraqi-Americans removing from flight for speaking Arabic. The men clearly did nothing wrong. They’re Americans, and they were even doing government-related work to help Americans.
It gets even better (or worse). An article entitled Mom defends reaction to Iraqi passengers provides a follow-up. The woman’s comments:
She was simply “protecting my tiny little family,” she insisted, adding that “all I could think of was 9/11.”
“How can you overreact when it’s your children?” she said.
She heard him “clunking around” inside the bathroom. When he came out, he had a suspicious look on his face, she said.
“He looked so mean, the way he was looking at everyone,” Robbins said. “It was very frightening, like something out of a movie.”
“I’m very sorry, but I’d do anything to protect my kids,” she said. “If people want to put me down, that’s their right.”
This mother needs some real psychological help. American Airlines really didn’t handle the situation very well by questioning the individuals. On what basis do they have the right to do that? It’s easy to see how this will end: American Airlines will issue some kind of written apology (which will, of course, make the news). The woman who caused all this trouble will be seen as a hero by some and forgotten by the rest.
Speaking as someone who was once on the “Terrorist List” for Southwest Airlines, I can honestly say that this can an absolutely humiliating situation. I was born in the U.S. and have paid a tremendous amount of taxes here. I travel only a few times a year, but with Southwest’s general boarding process, I always had to in a middle seat at the back of the plane. I couldn’t check in online, and only after asking numerous people did I get any explanation. Apparently to attempt to get off of the list, I’d need to provide about a dozen pieces of documentation (on the list were dental records and high school transcripts). With that information, our Homeland Security professionals could track me for the rest of my life.
People will be quick to dismiss this issue as a casualty in the “war on terrorism.” It’s a sad state of affairs that I think will be remembered in the same frame of mind as the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism.