Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Guilty of flying while brown

Ten years ago, on this day, I wasn't caught up in the national fervor for revenge on 9/11. I didn't feel solidarity in outrage with the 90% of America that wanted to kick some Arab ass in retaliation. I felt a profound sadness, because I "knew" this horrible attack would end up with this result. Ten years later, and this is what happens if you're flying while brown:
Someone shouted for us to place our hands on the seats in front of us, heads down. The cops ran down the aisle, stopped at my row and yelled at the three of us to get up. “Can I bring my phone?” I asked, of course. What a cliffhanger for my Twitter followers! No, one of the cops said, grabbing my arm a little harder than I would have liked. He slapped metal cuffs on my wrists and pushed me off the plane. The three of us, two Indian men living in the Detroit metro area, and me, a half-Arab, half-Jewish housewife living in suburban Ohio, were being detained.

The cops brought us to a parked squad car next to the plane, had us spread our legs and arms. Mine asked me if I was wearing any explosives. “No,” I said, holding my tongue to not let out a snarky response. I wasn’t sure what I could and could not say, and all that came out was “What’s going on?”

No one would answer me. They put me in the back of the car. It’s a plastic seat, for all you out there who have never been tossed into the back of a police car. It’s hard, it’s hot, and it’s humiliating. The Indian man who had sat next to me on the plane was already in the backseat. I turned to him, shocked, and asked him if he knew what was going on. I asked him if he knew the other man that had been in our row, and he said he had just met him. I said, it’s because of what we look like. They’re doing this because of what we look like. And I couldn’t believe that I was being arrested and taken away.
Read the whole horrific account. Apparently some passenger(s) were scared of seeing brown people on the plane and reported "suspicious" activity. The FBI agent told her there were over 50 other such shakedowns in airports around the country on this 9/11.

It's true when they say 9/11 changed everything. Me, I knew from the very first one, it wasn't going to be a change for the better.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

One of the reasons we start wars is so that "everything can change" and although we didn't start that one, we sure as hell took advantage of it to make it more of the police state "conservatives" love despite their lies about "less government."

One of the first things I wrote about after 9/11 was the cowardice. Millions of people afraid for their lives when the chances of being killed by a terrorist were a tenth of that of being killed in a car accident. We are in this and many other respects, a nation of simpering, quivering cowards so in love with fear that we invent things to be afraid of.

There's nothing more dangerous than a coward: dangerous to life, limb and liberty.

9:57:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Funny. I wrote something like that too. That was one of the things that struck me about the reaction. People in tiny towns that are as likely to see a terrorist as a meteor strike, hiding under their beds in abject fear. Though I admit, initially it shook me too, for a day or two. It was so dramatic.

8:32:00 AM  

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