…and the fact that I took note of not having someone treat my hair like some exotic contraption in need of thorough public inspection got this bitch thinking.
Let’s jump right on in, shall we?
Last Monday my sister began a trip that was supposed to end in Boston. At the airport she encountered a TSA agent who told her that they were going to have to inspect her Afro.
Pause…allow the incredible affront of that shit to marinate…continue.
Since my sister was traveling for business, she went to that calm detached place women of color know all too well…and endured a rubber glove wearing TSA agent searching through her Afro as if black women’s natural hair is some unmarked package left sitting unattended for over 15 minutes in the gate lounge.
I found out about the Afro search via text, and I immediately felt concern over the humiliation, anger, and frustration my sister had just endured.
I also thought about a recent flight where a group of blue haired white women of a certain age went through security before me. I remember them because they had huge hair…1980’s soap opera hair…hair teased to within an inch of its life and then sprayed as if hairspray is life support in a can.
At the time, I thought their hair looked like cotton candy…and I enjoyed seeing them in their big hair clique as they teased and talked loud and easily moved through the security check.
But now…after hearing about my sister’s treatment at the airport…I couldn’t stop wondering why the hell those women didn’t have some TSA agent dig into their hair.
Hell, you could have hidden a small child in that shit!
I checked in on my sister but then became distracted by breaking news on Twitter.
There had been an explosion in Boston…and then another.
My sister was en route to Boston, so I quickly sent her word of the breaking news and asked her to check with security in Chicago. And it didn’t escape me that I was asking my sister to reach out to airport security as a resource less than an hour after they treated her like a freak.
C-Money’s flight was cancelled and she returned home to decompress from a tense day of travel coupled with knowing that some sort of terrorist incident was going down in a city we both called home during our college years.
It’s hard to see a place I spent years enjoying and exploring deal with violent death, bombs, and an armed lock down…just as it is hard to imagine the heartache of those who lost someone dear or the pain for those who struggle to recover.
I can’t even comprehend what it would be like to have my face and name go viral for some shit I didn’t do.
Now, tis true that having some asshole at airport security indulge in a public display of racial intolerance is a far cry from having major newspapers and a gaggle of wanna-be online investigators erroneously convict you via article and post of a horrific act of violence.
But I can’t help but think that these things feed into each other. The notion that people of color are fair game for false accusations and humiliating scrutiny…the commonly held belief that all that this is okay and we shouldn’t complain if we didn’t do anything wrong…the big fucking lie that an apology washes it all away.
Several people were physically assaulted after the bombings…many others were threatened and taunted.
I guess I should be glad that my sister wasn’t held under suspicion of flying to Boston while black…just like I’m pretty sure I’m expected to feel relief because I made it through security at the same damned airport without having someone demand a public fingering of my Afro. Are they just inconsistent or does my sister have a more militant 'fro?
Anyhoo, I’m stuck on angry disgusted that folk are physically inspecting black women’s hair or patching together bullshit to accuse innocent people of color of shit they didn’t do…while other briefly inspected folk are putting together motherfucking bombs.