Over the winter break I went to Maryland to visit my roommate. I live in Columbia, South Carolina so in order to get to Potomac, Maryland in a quick and speedy way I decided to fly. I’ve been on a lot of plane rides before in my life but this one was different because I was flying alone for the first time ever. I was fine with the entire idea of flying alone until I got to the line for airport security, at that point I started to wish that my mom or my best friend (both accompanied me to the airport) would have flown with me because I was terrified of what was right in front of me. I took one look at all the fancy machines and the long and winding line of people, each with a glum look on their face, and I realized this was no joke and I definitely did not want to go through with it all by myself. Continue reading
I am so glad I waited to this blog tonight rather than do it Tuesday; the discussion today was really good and got me thinking about airport security. Airport security seems ridiculous but it’s there for just that: security. I mean it seems to be lame when you obviously do not look like a terrorist when you are going on vacation, but then again the United States learned a hard lesson in trusting people after 9/11. And like losing the trust of a close friend, it is hard to gain that trust back. In addition to that, the United States has gotten a lot of criticism for basically “randomly” asking to further investigate a passenger who happens to look Middle Eastern. Continue reading
After we discussed today’s reading from Acting Out Culture and airport security, I thought about a scene from a movie I saw recently. In the movie, the two main characters are of Asian and Middle Eastern/Indian descent. There is a scene where the two men are going through airport security to take a trip to Amsterdam, and the Middle Eastern man, Kumar, is pulled aside for a “random security check”. Kumar immediately starts to accuse the man of pulling him aside because he is of Middle Eastern/Indian descent. The employee is confused, and then the two of the men start to get into an argument. I remember one of the quotes from the employee being something along the lines of, “What are you talking about man, I can’t be racist, I’m black.” Eventually the employee’s boss steps in, apologizes profusely to Kumar and asks the employee angrily what he thought he was doing, upsetting a Middle Eastern man like that. Later on Kumar reveals he only made the scene so that he wouldn’t have to go through security – he had drugs on him that he wanted to smuggle into Amsterdam.
I didn’t think of this example until after class, but I think that it makes a really good connection to what we discussed today. In a way it can be viewed simply as ridiculous as the scene was itself, however, I think it makes a very profound statement about both today’s airport security and racism. Personally, I think the makers of the film were poking fun at the state of security today, but also, at the way Americans perceive terrorists. We talked in class today about how as individuals we hold a subconscious fear against those from the Middle East, only because of how the media has portrayed today’s terrorists. Like Devin mentioned, for example, people wearing turbans makes us uneasy.
My point is that I think this scene summarizes how I feel about the way airport security has evolved in today’s times, and I felt a strong connection between that and the discussion we had today. I think that, of course, we do need some precautionary measures in airports, however, I really don’t think that a lot of what is in place today is absolutely necessary. I also hold a real pity towards those who are automatically prejudiced against in today’s airports. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be judged based on my skin color, or my cultural upbringing. It really is racism in its truest form.