Racism in Boston or Flying While Black?!

What?  Good thing I was sitting down when I read the front page story in today’s NY Times: “Racial Profiling Rife At Airport, U.S. Officers say.”  The piece noted that 32 officers, working in the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)’s “behavior detection ” program filed written complaints about racial profiling at Boston’s Logan Airport.

Be still my beating heart.  Racism in Boston?  C’mon, not in Boston!  Can’t be.

Anyhow, wait.  Wait until my shock subsides.

It subsided.

Anyhow, the article notes:

“In interviews and internal complaints, officers from the Transportation Security Administration’s “behavior detection” program at Logan International Airport in Boston asserted that passengers who fit certain profiles — Hispanics traveling to Miami, for instance, or blacks wearing baseball caps backward — are much more likely to be stopped, searched and questioned for ‘suspicious’ behavior.

“’They just pull aside anyone who they don’t like the way they look — if they are black and have expensive clothes or jewelry, or if they are Hispanic,’ said one white officer, who along with four others spoke with The New York Times on the condition of anonymity.”

One person interviewed for the piece was Dr. Kenneth Boatner.  I knew Ken back in the day when we were studying for the psychology licensure exam.  Great guy.  Great, tall, black guy.  The article notes: “In a formal complaint he filed with the agency afterward, he said he was pulled out of line and detained for 29 minutes as agents thumbed through his checkbook and examined his clients’ clinical notes, his cellphone and other belongings.  The officers gave no explanation, but Dr. Boatner, who is black, said he suspected the reason he was stopped was his race and appearance. He was wearing sweat pants, a white T-shirt and high-top sneakers.”

I knew about being pulled over for DWB–driving while black–and now what?  Is it FWB–flying while black?


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