Saturday, September 09, 2006

These Guys Got On Airplanes, Hey!

How come Raed couldn't get on a plane with a shirt that said, "We will not be silent" in English and Arabic?

He was told by officials that letting him on the plane with that shirt on would be like a robber walking in a bank with a shirt that said, "I am a bank robber." Hmmm. That doesn't equate.

My daughter was having a nice cry today and towards the end she mentioned in tears that she wished our president couldn't do anything he wanted. I asked her what she would like him to know. She said,"Stop making people throw their water bottles away to get on the airplane."

Well, don't know if the pictures do it justice but at Portland Airport last week I stood behind a guy who got through (white of course) with a shirt that actually said, "Some people are simply alive because it's illegal to kill them." Wow. Rich.

And the other guy's shirt I chatted with while waiting for my kids said something like "Peace through hitting your target" and had bullet holes designed into the logo. Okay wow. Like this makes a lot of sense! Isn't that like the bank robber scenario? Nice guy. His kids are both in the military. He said that last week when he flew he war a shirt with a picture of Sadam Hussein that said "We got him" and that a couple of peace activists had a hard time with that. He said to me, "I can wear whatever I want!" I said, "Yes, because you are white that's probably true." I mentioned Raed's plight. He seemed agreeable to my pronouncement. In fact I may get to do some shock and trauma resolution work with his kids. Oh, and he told me he did bring a few extra t-shirts just in case he was asked to change it. I mean, a machine gun on the back? Huh?

I took a while to blog this because I had to chew on the possibility that, wow, no one is denying the racial profiling, they are really into it! And I got so pinned by Frontier when I flew on them a few day before that. I was sobered. They put me into the "special" line reserved for folks they hate it seems. Scary!

But, oh, true that I got an email and so did Gilbert Tuhabonye as a sort of apology. He got offered a discount on his next flight which he declined. I had missed two of my Alaska Air flights and ended up jumping on a Frontier flight in frustration. That's when I realized I was coded.

I'm thinking about what it means to be an ally to people of color as a white woman and how a special kind of targetting gets set up at times when you take that on. It's part of the job.


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