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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SHOE ON THE OTHER FOOT

By Chris Miller


I’m white. Yep, I was born Caucasian. That is the way God made me. All of my youth spent lying in the sun cannot change my skin tone… it just fades back to white. It also doesn’t matter how many Black or Hispanic friends I have, I will never know what it was like to grow up or live today as a non-white citizen.

Airline flying in the United States, and around the world, is a privilege, not a right. After the attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001, the security process required for anyone to fly was forever changed. It has evolved over time as other breaches in security have occurred. Thankfully, nothing to the extent of that horrible September morning has been repeated.

Because of different events, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) last week answered the call for increased screening of passengers as they embark into the friendly skies. Problem is people, mostly Caucasian, are upset. Why are they upset, because they are now learning how it feels to be searched, patted down, or touched in places that another person should not touch someone unless they are partnered… all while they have done nothing wrong.

Ask any Black man, he will tell you that this procedure was either a normal part of his upbringing or he lived in fear of this happening just because he looked different or was in what someone else perceived to be the ‘wrong neighborhood’. Am I speaking ‘out of turn’? I challenge anyone to ask an ethnic male friend if this is true to see if I am right. I am!

Now you have leaders such as Congressman-Elect Alan West (R-Florida) talking about ‘Trend Analysis’ in determining who should be searched. As a man of African-American heritage, I challenge him to call it out for what it really is…’Racial Profiling’ Mr. West needs to take a step back and remember Timothy McVeigh and the “Shoe Bomber” were Caucasian.

If we, as Americans, do not want a repeat of that life-changing 9/11 event, we have to pay the price. If TSA caves to public pressure, removes some safeguards just because a ‘Professionally Trained Agent’ is trying to keep the skies friendly, and another catastrophic event occurs, who will be to blame? The President, TSA, or the people with the biggest voices who felt inconvenienced or violated.

Air flight is a privilege, not a right. The US Government, airline companies and TSA are charged with making it safe to fly.

If you don’t like it, take the train!!!

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