The Internet’s favourite do-rag, the Huffington Post, where the real housewives of Jim Carrey go to “educate” people on the dangers of getting their children vaccinated and actual writers are forced to sit in a slave shop under Arianna Huffington’s desk and write for free, encourages people to racially profile their fellow passengers while boarding a plane.
In an article published a couple of days ago, written by the wife of David “Axis of Evil” Frum, Danielle Crittenden. goes all Mike Huckabee and masks her ignorant bigotry as with “concern for her children”. Not surprising, because these days even David spends his time trying to unsuccessfully pass of as a reasonable person!
In January and February, 2004, there was a flurry of terrorist threats against international flights between London and Paris and Washington; some flights were canceled; aircraft were grounded and searched; in one instance, F-16 fighter jets escorted a British Airways flight from Heathrow to Dulles.
In March, my husband and I took our three children on a holiday in Europe: our return flight, aboard Air France, connected through Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport. We had a three-hour layover before we could board our homebound jet to Washington-Dulles. After clearing international security and poking around the terminal for a bit, the five of us settled into benches in the empty departure lounge -- empty, that was, except for two suspicious-looking men in a bench opposite ours.
Let’s see what those suspicious men looked like:
I say suspicious because they matched almost every profile of a terrorist I'd ever read: Both looked to be about 25 or 26, of Arab descent, beards, dressed in the modern Atta traveling fashion of jeans and t-shirts. Neither had any carry-on bags for an eight-hour flight. One of the men was reading an Arabic newspaper while the other seemed twitchy -- he kept looking around, and repeatedly kept pulling out his documents from a small bag to check them over again.
So, apparently, dressing in jeans and t-shirts is now part of the terrorist garb. Why couldn't those Muslims be conspicuous and wear “Death to America” t-shirts, instead of dressing like normal, harmless white people?. Also, how dare they pretend to act like every other bored airline passenger and keep checking their documents? So what if a middle-aged white woman kept staring at them like they were terrorists? They should have simply sat there silently, and not act twitchy and roam around the lounge making fragile people shit their pants!
Gradually more passengers began filtering into the lounge as the flight departure grew closer. Then, promptly at three o'clock, the two men went over to a large window, fell to their knees and began elaborately praying to Mecca.
"That's it," I told him. "I'm not getting on this plane."
Elementary, my dear Watson! That’s a sure-fire tell-tale sign. Not only were those two wearing the latest terrorist chic, they were praying TO Mecca, instead of in the direction of Mecca, just like the Catholics pray TO the Vatican and the Jews pray TO Jerusalem!
But, hey, maybe talking to security can allay her fears?
Spoiler alert: It doesn’t!
There was a very French-looking security man: white bushy hair, a big white mustache, and a girth that suggested he enjoyed his duck confit and lunchtime Bordeaux as much as his other fellow citizens of the Republic.
Okay, now she has a problem with the French? Then, what the fuck were you doing in fucking France? If you really are so afraid of everybody, why step out of your house at all? And, seriously, being an American, the capital country of obesity, you’re going to snark on the girth of a Frenchman? Also, just because he’s fat, does that make him incapable of being a proper security guard? He has to check people’s luggage for shampoo , not run a half-marathon! I’m beginning to think this lady might have a problem with people in general!
He listened to my husband, nodded, glanced over at the two men, then came over to speak to me. I stepped away from the children, who were all preoccupied with their electronic playthings. I reported everything I'd watched and he listened gravely -- I could not tell whether he thought he was dealing with a hysterical mother or not.
"Madame, I can assure you that no aspect of security has been overlooked on this flight."
"Why are you so certain."
He smiled slightly. "Because I am privy to security measures that I cannot discuss with you. French security is not so -- ahh -- let me say it is different from American security. Let me repeat: this is a very safe flight."
Over his shoulder I watched the two men join the boarding queue: they looked actively jumpy by this point.
Yes, jumpy! That is so suspicious. Because terrorists are known to attract attention to themselves while boarding a target. This woman is so smart, my brain hurts!
My husband and I discussed it between us. He was prepared to go ahead but equally okay to cancel out of the flight if I was that nervous; I felt a little embarrassed by my fears. Then I looked at the bent line of the heads of my children, fighting imaginary enemies on their toys. Was I going to trust their fates to the assurances of an airline security guard?
"If we stayed, we could get a room at one of the airport hotels, take the train in to Paris for dinner, and return here tomorrow morning," I proposed. "That wouldn't be so bad --"
"The alternative," I continued, "would be for you to have me digging my nails into your forearm for eight hours..."
We waited for our bags to be removed from the plane. The children were delighted at this turn of events. They had never seen Paris
Bigot McGee is right! It’s all about the children. That was her only concern. This wasn’t about her at all. She just didn’t want to see any of those evil looking, jeans wearing, Mecca praying “terrorisors” to harm her children. So what if her children grow up to be brown people hating bigots too? Isn’t that what’s American conservatism is all about? Passing on your own deep-seated fear of the “others” to your children, as inheritance?
But, hey, as Racist Barbie will tell you, just because she looks at brown people in a funny way, she ain’t no racist!
Three years after the shoe-bombing incident, I experienced my own episode of terrorist profiling (and maybe that's what we should call it: not "racial" profiling but "terrorist" profiling, because the two are completely different. The latter does not arise out of irrational prejudice).
Yes, it’s not “racial” profiling if you don’t call it that. Just like if you are for “family values” & “traditional marriage” doesn’t mean you hate gay people and want them to remain second class citizens. You just want to protect your children. And it’s not that you think women have a right to make choices about their own bodies, you just love believe in the sanctity of life. I mean if God didn’t want that baby to be born, he wouldn’t have let that frat boy date rape you! It’s that simple, people! God probably has a plan for you. It might include you spending your after-life in “eternal damnation”, but hey, a plan’s a plan!
Why is that so hard to understand?
However, let’s find out what ugly fate was wrought upon all those people who were stupid enough not to say something.
The flight we had rejected landed without incident.
So that means that you’re not going to do that again right? I mean, once bitten, twice shy, right? Right?
Now, nearly seven years later, and in the wake of the Juan Williams incident, I ask myself: Would I make that same decision again?
Without question. And I hope I would still have the guts to report a troubling passenger to an airline clerk without fear that I might be branded racist.
Basically, what she’s trying to say is: I was wrong. But I’d do it again, because of terrorism!
* Post headline written in the style of Huffington Post articles!