Hazuri California

Inequality at the TSA

Inequality at the TSA needs to be stopped and this is why

November 8, 2016

Dear Future President of the United States,

I believe that the safety of the public is in your hands. Once you win all those states, billions and trillions of lives depend on your choices. When you are elected president, you are given the responsibility to improve our safety, and I think I know where to start. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is in every public airport. I am writing this letter to tell you that TSA should have more advanced ways of making background checks to find the people with weapons. I say this because close to six billion people have been caught with firearms. And yet every time my family goes to the airport, we get stopped to take a backround check?

Since 9/11, TSA has been tighter and stricter than ever.The 9/11 hijackers were from the Middle East, and men from the Middle East, are often times associated with wearing turbans. Both my dad and brother wear turbans, but we’re are not from the Middle East, and even if we were, that should not have been a problem. In fact, everyone in my family was born in the U.S. But wearing a turban is a part of the Sikh religion. The main reasons that Sikhs wear turbans, are to take care of the hair, promote equality, and preserve the Sikh identity. That is why it really frustrates me that the TSA stops us every time we fly.

Wearing a turban is a part of our faith, a part of our identity. And being stopped and being “investigated” every time you go to the airport solely for your appearance, is borderline racism. It is not just my family that it happens to. I know many people, and have many friends who struggle with the same thing. But it is not just average families that struggle with this. According to CNN Sikh model, Waris Ahluwalia, had a very hard time with airport security. As he was going to his home in New York, he had declined to remove his turban in public.(February 9, 2016). Though it was his right under TSA guidelines, an Air Mexico employee informed him that he would not be able to board the flight, and would have to fly with another airline, so he went to a hotel, and told his story on Twitter.

Another scenario, is with a popular Canadian Youtuber, who goes by the name of Jus Reign. He has over 750k subscribers on Youtube, had a similar experience. On February 24, 2016, he was about to board a flight back when he was asked to go through an extra layer of security, he did a pat down and they ran a metal detector, and everything was clear. But then they took him into a separate room and said he wouldn’t be able to catch his flight if he didn’t take his turban off. When he asked for a mirror to re-tie his turban, the person told him to walk to the bathroom without his turban on.

I understand the concern, and that they are just trying to be through, but according to the Sikh coalition, in 2008, 40.54% of people were told that it was mandatory for them to take their turbans off, which is only true if the alarm for the walkthrough metal detector goes off, and the hand wand alarms. After all, a turban is just a piece of cloth. In the scenario with Jus Reign. it is like making someone take off their pants, then having to walk to the bathroom to put them back on.

It is something thing that has not been a problem since the segregation aria. But racism and segregation are making a comeback. So future president, I would really appreciate it if you took my ideas into consideration to help improve airport security.


Hazuri Dhillon

Lobo School of Innovation

LSI World Arts

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