It's Generally A Bad Idea To Fly On 9/11 If You're Brownish...

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A young lady of Jewish and Arab ancestry takes a flight to Detroit. She has the misfortune of being seated with two other brown people, both of whom had the temerity to use the bathroom during the flight. 


She didn't know the men seated next to her. Her skin said otherwise:

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 rest. The most infuriating thing about incidents like this is you don't really know who reported you for "suspicious activity." You don't even know how many people said anything. Indeed for hours she didn't know why she was in bracelets. 

The writer ends by noting that she felt "violated, humiliated and sure that I was taken from the plane simply because of my appearance." Probably. But it's a charge that will do nothing to satiate those who need proof of the "Hey sand-nigger!" variety.

There's always a good reason to look away. AP story here. Apparently they scrambled fighter jets to deal with the issue.

I've been seriously considering boycotting flying. There's something very wrong about the entire institution of commercial flying, right now

H/T Gawker.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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