TSA Full Body Searches: The People Crying are Hypocritical

I find it funny that all these people are upset about full body searches and pat downs at the airport when just two months ago many of these same folks didn’t seem to mind when Muslim-Americans were complaining about being profiled and singled out for searches. It was just two months ago when the rhetoric was thick, the words hateful and very few of us ‘good ole Americans’ was the least bit concerned about ionized radiation from body scanning machines or some college drop out turned TSA agent feeling up yours or your spouse’s private parts. After all many of us rationalized that ‘sacrifice was required’ when fighting the war on terror. Many of us emphatically insisted that in order to  really fight terror successfully some of our freedoms would fall to the wayside.

Certainly I’m not the only one who recalls pompous sounding pundits on TV saying such things like; ‘We’ll if they have nothing to hide, they won’t mind being searched’ ,’We now live in extraordinary times which requires extraordinary measures to keep America safe‘ or ‘I think most people would rather be searched and profiled than be blown up’.

We really heard this type of talk a year or so ago when the Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had a failed attempt and GOP leaders went in on President Obama claiming he was soft on the war on terror. Many of them called for increased profiling and searches in order for us to be safe. They scoffed at the idea of people’s civil liberties being violated and said it was sign of weakness to give into the concerns voiced by organizations like the ACLU or CAIR.

Now that  everyone is getting searched  have things suddenly changed? Are we no longer willing to sacrifice our freedoms or do we just want ‘THEM’ (Muslims and ‘other suspicious folks’ ) to be searched and forced to do full body scans? How hypocritical is that?

Newt Gingrich

Wasn’t it just two months ago this country was up in arms about the proposed building of an Islamic Community Center (Mosque) near Ground Zero? Here we saw everyone from high-ranking political leaders like former House speak Newt Gingrich compare Muslims to Nazis to Texas lawmakers Debbie Riddle and Louie Gohmert warn us about ‘terror babies‘. We saw former NPR host Juan Williams admit that he ‘got nervous’ when he saw a Muslim passengers getting ready to board a plane.

These types of publicly expressed sentiments led to many of us further demonizing and marginalizing entire segments of our population which in turn left us being unsympathetic to what we now see and hear are similar concerns they expressed about ‘invasive’ searches.

Many of us turned a blind eye reports surfaced about all the Muslim Americans in addition to being profiled and searched were also increasingly being put on NO-Fly lists resulting in more than a few being stranded after being rejected from boarding. Many found themselves in legal limbo when trying to remove themselves or even find out why they were put on a No Fly list in the first place. Sadly some mean-spirited pundits celebrated these No fly list violations because the resulted in the unintended consequences of Forced Exile

With all this in mind, one has to ask the hard questions; are folks crying about  TSA full body searches because they feel their constitutional rights are being trampled or are they concerned that they personally are being violated? We really need to be honest when answering this question. Whats really going on here?

Ron Paul just introduced the American Traveler Dignity Act

It’s interesting to note that two days ago (Nov 17th) Texas Congressman Ron Paul just introduced legislation called the American Traveler Dignity Act. He’s concerned that travelers are being subjected to humiliating conditions. He’s outraged. Here’s what he wrote

“Imagine if the political elites in our country were forced to endure the same conditions at the airport as business travelers, families, senior citizens, and the rest of us. Perhaps this problem could be quickly resolved if every cabinet secretary, every member of Congress, and every department head in the Obama administration were forced to submit to the same degrading screening process as the people who pay their salaries.” Perhaps the political elites would re-evaluate their position on the peeping and probing Toms at the TSA; perhaps they would be willing to support the Congressman’s legislation.

Paul wants the TSA and other law enforcement to be held accountable if they cross the line and that’s not only understandable, but appreciated. However, one has to wonder where was Ron Paul pushing a bill or  all these outraged people when several years ago, Black women were aggressively being stripped searched at airports by custom agents. Back in 1999 when this was at its height, we were fighting the  ‘War on Drugs’ . The overwhelming majority of Black women searched were innocent, yet they were subjected to these invasive body searches. Their cavities were probed and their bowel movements were monitored. Pundits who supported this policy were insistent it was necessary to stop the flow of drugs. ‘We had to protect America’.. Does that sound familiar?

People weren’t outraged back then if anything, many were dismissive of the concerns expressed by African-American women who were made to feel totally violated and unfairly profiled. Sadly we heard the same retorts back then as we do now toward Muslims; ‘If-they-have-nothing-to-hide-why-complain’.

Senator Richard Durbin introduced the Reasonable Search Standard Act in 2001

There were lawsuits and alot of pressure put on airports screeners and custom agents. Eventually in 2001 Senator Richard Durbin introduced the Reasonable Search Standards Act.

Reasonable Search Standards Act – Prohibits U.S. Customs Service personnel from subjecting travelers to detention or searches based upon race, religion, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation, except when acting upon specific information that a particular traveler suspected of engaging in illegal activity is described by one or more of such characteristics.

Requires Customs Service personnel, before a pat down or intrusive non-routine search, to document reasons to support a belief that an individual may be carrying contraband in violation of Federal law. Waives such requirement with respect to anyone suspected of carrying a weapon.

The bill was read twice and referred to the finance committee, well see where Paul’s American Traveler Dignity Act bill goes.

Rodstarz of Rebel Diaz was recently searched & detained for 10 hrs at an airport

It’s a shame that many of us have short memories and selective ways in which we like to see laws enforce or who we show concern for when rights are violated. Sistas being jammed up at airports where we had dead silence and people siding with custom agents is one example. Now that we have this new war on drugs south of the border quite a few Brown folks are going through  the humiliation. The popular Bronx-Chicago based rap group Rebel Diaz on a recent Hard Knock Radio show detailed what happened when they returned to the US from Chile. They were detained searched, questioned and made to feel violated when they returned from their native Chile. What folks are complaining about now is routine procedure in some communities

For folks who live in the hood, strip searches in public are not usual. belligerent cops ‘looking for drugs and weapons’  are always jacking people up, making them drop their pants in full view of others. In cities like LA, young teens have been made to strip in front of parents. Husbands and boyfriends have been subjected to watching their spouses and girlfriends be felt up and probed by police who turned a routine traffic stop into a nightmarish search.Parents have been made to undress or be felt up by cops looking for drugs and weapons in front of their kids.

The movie CRASH depicted a scene where the character played by actor Terrence Howard had to watch his wife get felt up by police. Many thought it was just a dramatic scene for the movie, but for those who live in the hood especially in places like South Central LA, what was shown on the big screen was as real as day. It’s all too commonplace. It’s a reality and indignation that many have endured for years. Speaking out about this and detailing this is often met with disbelief or outlandish justification where folks rationalize that folks in the hood are all criminal and deserve to be searched.

LA rap star and longtime activist Mykill Miers who actually works with at risk youth inside the system noted the other night over the years he himself has been subjected to such humiliating treatment on 4 different occasions.

In New York City pat downs and invasive searches was the hall-mark of the police serving under former mayor Rudolph Giuliani. In one year alone more than 500 thousand people were stopped and searched on the streets of NY, over 70% of those stopped were Black and Brown men. We certainly could’ve used a Dignity Act type bill then..

How are police searches in the hood connected to searches and pat downs at airports? Well to start have large numbers of citizens who are being subjected to searches that they find invasive and in violation of their constitutional rights.  The overwhelming majority of those searched are obviously innocent. No weapons are found, no bombs are found, no drugs are found. Law makers insists such measures are needed to keep us safe and act as a deterrent. For the most part far too many of are willing to go along with this until they’re the ones made to drop their drawers.

Who should we be screening the thuggish looking Black guys who are Ice Cube & his crew or the Columbine shooters Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold?

As long as we have scapegoating caricatures that fits into our collective stereotypes like the Black thug, Mexican drug dealer, or a Arab terrorist, then we don’t mind the searches. In fact, as I mentioned before, we actually insist that they take place. But as soon as it things land in our direction we wanna have mass protests.

The bottom line is this, the constitution should apply to us all. If anyone has a hard time accepting that then they deserve this mistreatment they want imposed on others. It doesn’t matter how big your boobs are, how sagging your butt is or how small your ding-a-ling is. It doesn’t matter if you’re grandmother 80 years old or outstanding pillar in your community, if its ok to search Mr Muhammad, Ray Ray and Jose ‘to keep us safe’ then it’s perfectly ok to profile and search Mr and Ms Cleaver as well. After all, some of the worst terrorist this country has seen are those who are homegrown and blend in with the mainstream population. From Oklahoma City bomber Ti mothy McVeigh to American Taliban John Walker Lindh to Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to members of the Ku Klux Klan.

If this really is about protecting our 4th amendment rights, then let’s be principled. Stop all invasive searches of innocent people everywhere, both at the airport and in the hood. If this country truly stands for freedom then let’s make sure it applies to all sectors of our society. Until then as long as innocent young Black and Brown men are being humiliated and strip searched in their own neighborhoods, and we’re advocating for Muslims to be singled out and searched then one should not show an ounce of sympathy or be concerned when someone cries out about being ‘their junk being touched’ by a TSA agent at the airport.

As the loud mouth pundits like to say.. ‘If you have nothing to hide, why complain…’

Something to ponder

-Davey D-

 

Comments

  1. Why the TSO’s gotta be college drop outs though? I worked for the TSA for two years during undergrad and am now in a top graduate business school. HA!

  2. Well said Davey D. Everyone is fair game for search is there is reason for it. Also, you forgot to include the likes of Joseph Stack (crashed his plane into a Texas IRS building) and Ted the Unabomber.

    And I agree with Dunn about the TSA personnel at the airports. However, the purpose was to hire most of them as young and/or cheap labor with the impression that they are more aggressive (some with attitudes) and could deal with potential attitudes of the passengers. Kind of like parking enforcement cops.

  3. My bad M Dunn. I knew there was a handful.. but seriously, they was looking for young cats to exploit..Props on ur Grad school endeavors

  4. Nothing new under the sun. Whether it’s draconian sentencing laws targeting lawbreakers of color or technically extreme airport security measures, “presumption of guilt” is all good, for as long as that presumption falls on someone else, on one of “us.” You know, “those people.”

    It’s a different story entirely when it lands on “them” — and sooner or later, it nearly always does.

    Like it or not, America, people of color and religious minorities are part of the American social fabric. Tear too hard at individual threads and the whole garment suffers for it.

    g.

  5. Thanks for this blog post. I hadn’t been to concerned with the latest TSA complaints circulating the internet and a few of my favorite sites, but I am always wanting to be concerned with issues involving racism and politics, among other things.

    This has opened up a new discussion for me! =)

  6. I think it’s a bit problematic to frame the problem as “Husbands and boyfriends have been subjected to watching their spouses and girlfriends be felt up and probed by police”, as opposed to “women being subjected to being felt up and probed by police”.

    • ally i think we’re all intelligent people and clearly understand what’s being said here..I get the whole thing of power dynamics.. but lets not distract from whats being said here bc you wish to make another point as if we ‘dont get it..

      The point I wanted to make was many men have gone to jail or gotten they butts beat over the police having to search women who are kin and do it as a way to show who has power in a situation where men are traditionally expected to protect..Far too many have gone to the aid.. I know how I felt when my mom was man handled by some cop..

  7. I find this hard to imagine seeing my mom, older women, & men being patted down publicly or stripped searched. I can’t see myself taking this from any police officer in any situation.
    When I saw the movie “Crash” & the scene with Terrence Howard, I thought it was an isolated incident. I came from a household of men that would not allow any man to do anything like that to girls, wives, or mothers, even if they had to go to jail. And I was raised in Alabama.
    I think rules should apply to all. My problem with this patting down a person anywhere is, you don’t know what traumatic event this person has been through. What if this person (male or female) has been molested or raped before? What if they are leaving town because of a sexual assault and you have someone wanting to feel them up for security reasons? Have they not thought about that terrorists can use trains too?
    The government have to take responsibility for al of their fail to do the right things to prevent attacks as well. Like when the father of young man was calling to say he was not right, and don’t let him fly. How much of a warning can you get?
    Politicians have a selfish reason to look into anything that has no benefit to them. Ron Paul is a liar, and I don’t trust him, and someone is paying him to bring attention to the TSA, like Davey D said there have been problems for years.

    Peace!

  8. First, it was not enough security after 9/11, then it’s too much in current times. I just can’t put too much stock coming out of mainstream USA anymore. Yeah, being hypocritical is a big part of the lamestream…

  9. asian american says:

    well I have to say that it is definately not a sham. It is however a SHAME what people must go through, or like the article said “who” is harassed before it hits a line. but as the fight for black right, the fights to stop war, and everythi…ng else… it always goes on for too long before it reaches a high and everyone is aware of the problem too late. The reason why people are aware now is not only because of the “intrusive pat downs” or that your naked image is stored in a database, but also because of the HIGH dosage radiation caused by these new machines. This is why people are “opting-out” and being introduced to these horrible searches in the first place.

    “It’s a shame that many of us have short memories and selective ways in which we like to see laws enforce”

    This right here was a great line in the article, 100% true. But this is what we are trying to change. When this was going on a couple years ago to the blacks, muslims, etc… people may have known there was a search, but most people probably didn’t believe, understand, or even hear about how badly they were actually treated. No one really knew or had the technology to get information to find out this was happening to many people. The news didn’t brodcast it, aol didnt have it on the their top headlines. It’s actually pretty sad that people dont go out of their way to find the truth when the internet makes it so simple to do so. The only reason people are up in arms about TSA now is because we had leaders beside us: Alex Jones and Ron Paul. If it wasn’t for Alex spreading the news about the radiation, the saved images, the invasive pat downs, it would still be quiet. This has been a debate for almost half a year now and finally people are hearing about it and it was forced on the news because Alex kept having his listeners put in key search words on Google for a very long time so that it would be the number one searched item.

    I just want to say that this is definately not a race war, it is unfair what certain people had to go through to finally get this in the headlines, but it is not because of race that we are finally in arms about it. Just like when Martin Luther King decided to stand up, in a smaller spectrum, Alex was the leader of the TSA movement. If anything, it is a tragedy that these people had to suffer years ago, however it is now going to be liberating that everyone can stand together stronger than ever against the government. In the end it’s all about being one nation. Articles need to be careful to make sure that in the end we dont create more hostility, racisim and hatred towards each other but to gather our stories and fight as one nation against the control of government.

    yes I am probably blacklisted…. and I really dont care

  10. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Advanced Imaging and Body Scans: Information and Resources About Airline Security Procedures

    http://www.thefreeresource.com/tsa-body-scans-information

  11. yes you’re right….and that’s the mistake’s kind I do not accept……