The TSA has been under fire recently for their alleged aggressive and discriminatory practices while examining fliers at airport security. Critics were in an uproar when a 20-year-old black college football player, Deshon Marman, was rejected from the plane for wearing sagging pants that revealed the top of his underwear especially when news hit that a white man in Womens underwear flew undisturbed less than a week prior. This time, however, the TSA may have finally taken it too far.

When flying to Texas, Laura Adiele became the TSA’s newest target. After going through the Advance Imaging x-ray system, she was told she needed to be pat down—not her body, but her afro which was tucked in a bun.

From The Grio:

“When I first heard her say, ‘We’re going to have to pat you down,’ I thought she was talking about my body. I was turning around and putting my arms out and she said, ‘no, we’re going to have to examine your hair,’ and I said, ‘no, we’re not going to do that today and you’re going to have to get security or your supervisor,’” Adiele said. Adiele claims she looked around, saw plenty of other women with “big hair, ponytails” who weren’t being searched, and it made her mad. She felt it was discrimination, that she as a black woman with an afro tucked up into a curly bun, was being selected for hand-screening when women of other races weren’t. She had nothing to hide but just didn’t want strangers feeling her hair.

“The supervisor shows up and she says, ‘It’s our policy that we examine anything that poofs from the body,’ and I’m looking around me at all these women with bigger hair if you will and I’m thinking ‘why am I the only one being singled out here for poofy hair?” Adiele said. [...] She laughs just thinking about it. “They are required to investigate and examine anything that poofs from the body? That sounds like a bogus policy to me. It just sounds bogus. Poofs?!” said Adiele.

Adiele believes she was discriminated against for the texture and style of her hair and has filed a complaint about the incident. I can only imagine the outrage I’d feel if my hair was examined before I could board a plane. It just seems a bit excessive and discriminatory in nature. Why not search all individuals with long hair then, whether “poofy” or straight?

Do you believe it was discrimination? Have you ever witnessed a hair examination or had your hair examined at the airport? Is the TSA targeting certain races in their invasive searches? Discuss.

Source

  • GODIVA

    I kid you not–the exact same thing just happened to me last week in Minneapolis and I tweeted about it. I had my arms out and everything and lo’ and behold, she says “are there any sore spots on your head” and proceeded to pat down my natural hair (it was in a ponytail, as well)

  • chanela

    WOW!!! i honestly think it was just a white lady who made that excuse just to touch her hair.lol

  • Former TSA employee

    As a former TSA employee, and proud African American women with natural hair… I do not believe she was targeted. Even I as an employee, flying out of an airport (other than my own), I was asked to remove my hat or to go through the body scanner. It applies to everyone. It is a policy to pat down “bulky” features. However, depending on the style or the “bulk” of her hair, it might not have been that serious (in my opinion). It is a discretionary policy. Not to mention, sadly, different airports DO have different policies. And every Supervisor should back their employees, whether, right or wrong. Sadly many people feel targeted in the airport, and sadly it is a safety precaution that we must take. I wish this women well and some closure to this incident. Hopefully she has more pleasant experiences in the future.

  • Former TSA employee

    Correction: As a former TSA employee, and proud African American women with natural hair… I do not believe she was NOT targeted. Even I as an employee, flying out of an airport (other than my own), I was asked to remove my hat or to go through the body scanner. It applies to everyone. It is a policy to pat down “bulky” features. However, depending on the style or the “bulk” of her hair, it might not have been that serious (in my opinion). It is a discretionary policy. Not to mention, sadly, different airports DO have different policies. And every Supervisor should back their employees, whether, right or wrong. Sadly many people feel targeted in the airport, and sadly it is a safety precaution that we must take. I wish this women well and some closure to this incident. Hopefully she has more pleasant experiences in the future. -Sorry grammar error.

  • Former TSA employee

    I sincerely apologize as I am reading this article and blogging. I thought I mistakenly wrote some when I did not. The moral is I DO NOT believe she was targeted. However best wishes. The second post can be removed. Thank you and I truly apologize again.

  • sunshyne84

    She could have been acting strange or even her airline could have selected her for advanced screening. There are many layers of security and things won’t be the same at every airport because then it will be easier for those who wish to do others harm to learn and work their way around procedures. Getting pissed is only going to escalate the situation.

  • Zoe

    I believe she was discriminated against. There is no other explanation. On a funnier side:

    Yes! I my hair was once searched at an airport. I was at JFK flying out of NYC, heading to Miami and my long hair was wrapped and had bobby pins all over to secure it. When I kept going through the body scanner it kept going off but no one could figure out why since all of my jewelry, electronics, belts, etc. was collected in the bin and sitting to the side. They then took me to the side and said that they would have to do a thorough body search. I was soooo scared that someone may have planted something on me while I was waiting in line blah blah blah (all types of crazy movie thoughts)…Anywho at just that moment, I told one of the guards (who happened to be a sistah): “OMGEEE I forgot! It’s my wrap!!! I have about 45 bobby pins in my head!” LOL….I rarely ever get my hair straightened so that was the last thing to cross my mind! lol I took it in stride!

    But had that happened when my hair was out! Ohhh bess believe I would see something wrong with that picture!!!

  • LemonNLime

    I’m not surprised. TSA agents frisk children and required older cancer patient to remove her diaper so why not search your hair? People running this country use “terrorism” as a excuse to violate your civil liberties. I’m sure we are just steps away from being forced to bend over and spread ‘em just to fly from Boston to DC.

  • Pingback: TSA Searches Afros Under “Poof” Policy | Hair Politik

  • fuchsia

    Yup I believe she was targeted. I get searched every time because I simply have a Muslim name. They always say it’s random, but as a frequent flyer I know it’s not. I make sure I get to the airport extra early and am always prepared. I had to learn not to get mad, because they believe they are doing their job, and flying is already inconvenient on so many levels. Yet it’s a necessity for me and I have to do it. I think the searchers are set up by the misguided policies and have no choice but to follow procedure.

  • concerned flyer

    I agree with the other commentators : I do believe groups of people are being targeted by security. I have had my hair searched at an airport – which was of added embarrassment than a regular pat down because it wasn’t happening to anyone else – yet when i wear my hair up, usually slightly wet so straighter – I have never been approached to have it searched. No friend of mine with straight hair had even heard of having hair searched. I have a Muslim last name and am often pulled out of line after an agent has viewed my boarding pass. What is more frustrating are the lies/ excuses made to justify the behavior that seems to be made up whenever needed – i.e ” we search all things poofy”. Letting individual airports/agents make up rules has led to people being abused before with TSA agents in Newark unfairly targeting specific ethnic groups: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/06/15/report-newark-tsa-airport-screeners-targeted-mexicans/.

    No wonder we are all anxious and annoyed at the airport – oh wait thats also grounds for suspicion…. I do find comfort though in the previous comments here – letting me know that people share my experience, understand the frustration, and extend well wishes for future flying :)

  • Krissy G.

    LOFL! Somewhere the terrorists are bent over in laughter at their continued success in scaring Americans out of their wits. Literally.

  • MissMoj

    My hair was once patted down at the airport. I realized that it was because of all the bobby pins in my hair. I do not feel offended that they searched my hair. I have no clue how clear the images are from the full body scanner, but perhaps they thought the bobby pins were some kind of weapon. If my hair was bobby pin free that day, however, I may be singing a different tune.

  • JoeClyde

    She has nice hair.

  • Hey!

    I don’t think she was targeted. I had the TSA check between the toes of my bare feet. I’m not joking:-( smh

  • lynn

    I am a white female with 4 and a half feet of thick hair. I get my hair physically checked every time I go on a flight. Where is the discrimination? Give me a break!!!

  • Me27

    I don’t know if it was racially motivated, but I do believe TSA is going way too far. The woman went through the x-ray imaging system; the image on the screen would have shown if there was anything suspicious in her hair. Also based on the video I watched last night, her curly bun just doesn’t appear big enough to have been hiding anything.

  • BAS

    I definitely believe it was discriminatory! I have NEVER heard of such an incident happening. What an embarrassment! If those types of ridiculous rules apply, then they need to apply to EVERYONE, curly or straight. What next? If someone is obese, will the TSA have to examine their fat rolls (no offense)?

  • OhSoNattral

    I have locs and the same thing happened to me. I was at the airport in Charlotte and they just install the new body scanners. After walking through the scanner, the TSA employee said something didnt look right on the screen and asked to search my hair. I stood there as she literally took her hands and patted my locs. I was appalled. My locs were a little pass my chin at the time. If they were fearful I had a weapon or something in my hair then it should be a policy to check EVERYONE’s hair.

  • Chica

    I’ve never had my hair searched (thank God!) but I can relate to the people who have been “randomly” searched because of their names. Ever since 9/11 and especially after that Nigerian underwear bomber fiasco, my mom and I are always pulled aside for random searches because of our Nigerian last name. The crazy thing is is that my mom isn’t even Nigerian! She’s been living in the good ole US of A all her life. I understand TSA has a job to do, but operating on pure stereotypes isn’t getting them aaaaanywhere.

  • Renee

    I do not believe she was targeted. I am white and this happened to me just last month while flying from AZ to PHL. Yes, it was a little embarrassing but they’re just trying to do their jobs and keep us all safe.

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