Do TSA agents have a problem with afro wigs? Several cases have been reported in the press of agents searching afro hair and wigs all in the name of airport security. Solange Knowles can now add her name to the list of black women whose afros have been searched by TSA.

The “Losing You” singer tweeted that TSA agents patted down her afro, while she traveled yesterday:

To her credit, she managed to have a sense of humor about the ordeal, even playing a game with her followers of “What Could TSA find in Solange’s afro?”

But discrimination is no laughing matter. It appears that TSA agents have an issue with voluminous, textured hair when it’s on African-American heads.

I wonder how many non-black women get their hair searched by TSA. Or women who have “big” hair that isn’t textured like an afro. The number of black women, famous or not, who have to deal with their hair being patted down by TSA agents is too high for it to be anything but discrimination.

What are your thoughts on TSA agents searching afros, Clutchettes? Is it discriminatory in your opinion?

Source

  • Fo’real?

    Oh, Solange… It’s not YOUR hair.

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    Yes it is discriminatory – and I am sure it is is more than embarrassing for the victim….search EVERYONES hair if it is that serious…

  • AM

    They can search all they want, so long as I don’t miss my flight on their account of searchomania.

  • AM

    Oh my, heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy girlfriend!!

  • Starla

    I just went through LAX and opted out of their scanning machine. The did pat down my curly hair too. It’s big and curly, though not a fro. It would be interesting to know if Solange had opted out of the scanner, or they patted her hair even after going through it.

    It kills me how vigilant they are at the airport and they can’t prevent you from getting shot up in a theatre or school. Just giving ppl a false sense of security…kmt.

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    Hey sweetheart!!!! How are you girlie???

  • http://gravatar.com/kailasmith kailasmith

    Thats happened to me twice and its only when im coming FROM the states, they dont pat my hair down in the Canadian airports
    Kaila

  • eh

    in all fair game, they check BLACK hair because women are using it as “storage.” There are many news reports lately of women trying to smuggle drugs through the airport in their hair. smh. They gave me a few head massages as I traveled within the past 2 years. I just say can you rub a little harder and thank you :)

  • http://twitter.com/RachelGettingIt Rachel Wilkerson (@RachelGettingIt)

    I wondered the same thing! I get asked about my hair whenever I go through the scanner (apparently the braids that secure my weave raise suspicion).

  • http://gravatar.com/rena215 Nina Gougis

    This is why they have to search wigs/hair.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2208965/Women-arrested-trying-smuggle-kilos-cocaine-airport-WIGS.html

    Two nutjobs can ruin things for everyone.

  • Yb

    The TSA would do these hair pat downs before that event happened and what I want to know is: Do they search they wigs and hair of non-black women or only us and why are Afros veiwed with disdain and suspicion?

  • http://twitter.com/MarisolCorrea Mama Naturalista (@MarisolCorrea)

    WHAT?! SMH

  • C

    I want to know if they are searching all curly-types of hair, or just Black women. On that note, I’d like to say that I wear my hair in a french braid or two when traveling for that reason (although I shouldn’t have to do so).

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.

  • Downsouth Transplant

    I once had my hair in a Erykah Badu sky high wrap kind of look and the TSA lady asked me to take it off for a search, of course i did & this was a no name airport more like a airstrip in MI, She was more than amazed at the Afro that came out she thought i was kidding her when i said it was all my hair, what do you know she wanted to touch it. uuhhhmmm NO Ma’am unless you get a court order for that!!**SMH**

  • Willow

    Yeah…my fro clearly got the pat down this weekend. I thought maybe its because of the bobby pins…then I recalled the many times i’ve flown with my hair pinned up and no pat down. Did they really think my fro could be nesting weapons of mass destruction?

  • Apple

    Because you can hide much of anything in flat straight hair. Maybe they check Indian hair? It’s usually long/thick enough to make wrap it in a ponytail

  • Keepitreal

    Ugh, this is oh so damn political correctness run amok stupid, as if little old ladies, women with afros have been the ones to blow themselves and others up. RMFE, instead of putting everyone’s lives at risk, how about the TSA grow some ‘nads and target those who fit the MFin profile, that’s right, when a certain group has been responsible for almost every single terrorist act in the US in modern history..how about, IDK, you look out for them in particular.

  • Wow

    I almost have no words for your ignorance. I simply cannot agree with racial profiling in any shape form or fashion. We want to march and rally about stop and frisk, yet here you are condoning the profiling of another minority group. Wake up. Who trained these people anyway? Oh yeah, we did, and unfortunately, innocent Americans had to pay the price for our governments folly. And please provide some statistics for your claim “when a certain group has been responsible for almost every single terrorist act in the US in modern history” I would love to find out where you pulled that one out from

  • Hmm?

    I almost have no words for your ignorance. I simply cannot agree with racial profiling in any shape form or fashion. We want to march and rally about stop and frisk, yet here you are condoning the profiling of another minority group. Wake up. Who trained these people anyway? Oh yeah, we did, and unfortunately, innocent Americans had to pay the price for our governments folly. And please provide some statistics for your claim “when a certain group has been responsible for almost every single terrorist act in the US in modern history” I would love to find out where you pulled that one out from.

  • Hmm?

    @Keepitreall

    I almost have no words for your ignorance. I simply cannot agree with racial profiling in any shape form or fashion. We want to march and rally about stop and frisk, yet here you are condoning the profiling of another minority group. Wake up. Who trained these people anyway? Oh yeah, we did, and unfortunately, innocent Americans had to pay the price for our government’s folly. And please provide some statistics for your claim “when a certain group has been responsible for almost every single terrorist act in the US in modern history” I would love to find out where you pulled that one out from

  • http://gravatar.com/gsutiger2 gsutiger2

    I feel like the TSA has a hard job and everyone is always kicking them down. However, I have noticed in the past year my hair is now a cause for extra scrutiny. I don’t mind you patting my hair . . . .However, Becky over there seems to fly through security without a glance. The Becky’s are the main one’s getting away with smuggling. It’s just annoying.

    Plus, I don’t want you touching my hair with those dirty gloves!

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Right! I would just wear my hair in a braid if that is the case. But I don’t have a problem with having my hair checked per se (because as mention a few bad apples messed it up for everyone) but as mention what is the criteria for having your hair checked… is it just afro textured hair getting checked, is it people with thick curly hair in general, certain hairstyles, those with so called “Jew fros” getting checked too? I think there needs to be a guideline so people know what to expect.

  • Keepitreal

    “Who trained this people”………I see, thousands of Americans deserved to be blown to smithereens at work. You terrorist apologists sicken me, so fast to run to the defense of those who hate your very existence and would not hesitate blowing your ass up. “Oh no, don’t profile those who fit the aesthetic 99.9 percent of terrorist filth , profile my black ass instead b/c we are all minorities!!!” GTFO,they don’t see you that way RMFE I’ve never seen a race of people so self defeating.

    1979
    Nov. 4, Tehran, Iran: ***Iranian**** radical students seized the U.S. embassy, taking 66 hostages

    1982–1991
    30 US and other Western hostages kidnapped in Lebanon by ****Hezbollah****. Some were killed, some died in captivity.

    1983
    April 18, Beirut, U.S. embassy destroyed in suicide car-bomb attack; 63 dead, including 17 Americans. The ****Islamic Jihad**** claimed responsibility.

    Oct. 23, **** Shiite suicide bombers**** exploded truck near U.S. military barracks at Beirut airport, killing 241 marines.

    Dec. 12, **** Shiite truck bombers**** attacked the U.S. embassy and other targets, killing 5 and injuring 80.

    1984
    Sept. 20, truck bomb exploded outside the U.S. embassy annex, killing 24, including 2 U.S. military.

    1988
    Dec. 21, N.Y.-bound Pan-Am Boeing 747 exploded in flight from a terrorist bomb and crashed into Scottish village, killing all 259 aboard and 11 on the ground. . **Libya ***formally admitted responsibility 15 years later (Aug. 2003) and offered $2.7 billion compensation to victims’ families.

    1993
    Feb. 26, New York City: bomb exploded in basement garage of World Trade Center, killing 6 and injuring at least 1,040 others. In 1995, militant ***Islamist Sheik Omar ****Abdel Rahman and 9 others were convicted of conspiracy charges, and in 1998, Ramzi Yousef, believed to have been the mastermind, was convicted of the bombing. Al-Qaeda involvement is suspected.

    1996
    June 25, truck bomb exploded outside Khobar Towers military complex, killing 19 American servicemen and injuring hundreds of others. 13 Saudis and a Lebanese, all alleged members of ***** Islamic militant group Hezbollah****, were indicted on charges relating to the attack in June 2001.

    1998
    Aug. 7, Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: truck bombs exploded almost simultaneously near 2 U.S. embassies, killing 224 (213 in Kenya and 11 in Tanzania) and injuring about 4,500. 4 men connected with ***** al-Qaeda ****2 of whom had received training at al-Qaeda camps inside Afghanistan, were convicted of the killings

    2001
    Sept. 11, New York City, Arlington, Va., and Shanksville, Pa.: hijackers crashed 2 commercial jets into twin towers of World Trade Center; 2 more hijacked jets were crashed into the Pentagon and a field in rural Pa. Total dead and missing numbered 2,9921: 2,749 in New York City, 184 at the Pentagon, 40 in Pa., and 19 hijackers. *****Islamic al-Qaeda**** terrorist group blamed.

    2oo7

    June 1, Little Rock, Arkansas: ****Abdulhakim Muhammed****, a Muslim convert from Memphis, Tennessee, is charged with shooting two soldiers outside a military recruiting center. One is killed and the other is wounded. In a January 2010 letter to the judge hearing his case, Muhammed asked to change his plea from not guilty to guilty, claimed ties to al-Qaeda, and called the shooting a jihadi attack “to fight those who wage war on Islam and Muslims.”

    —–

    This isn’t even a full list! But silly me all of these examples don’t count oh and Americans deserve it.

  • Karisa

    I’m 30 year old white woman with naturally curly hair. I had this happen to me last year. It was more of a pat down than anything. It was really strange, but I mostly thought it was funny.

  • LemonNLime

    Screw TSA, they violate my civil liberties under the guise of “protection”. There is no reason for half the crap they do, all it does is provide some false sense of security and allow them to steal and molest people people. Guess that Constitution means nothing.

  • Kema

    That would be considered profiling if its only black women they are checking. They can check everyone’s hair. I have short sisterlocks and I have had my hair checked.

  • Tryagain

    Oh, a group that has been responsible for almost every single terrorist act in modern US history? Who could that be?

    Oh, you must mean White people, too.

  • Bredhead

    Im a black woman with natural hair and several months ago coming back from North Carolina To New York I had my bun patted down. I emerged from the scanner, which apparently wasn’t sufficient, and was told to come to the side so that the TSA agent, a fellow black woman, could examine my hair. I think she squeezed my bun for a second and let me through. I found it more amusing than anything. Was my hair too dense to see through in the scanner or was there something suspicious looking in there! I immediately texted my best friend who has very curly dense long hair, though she’s not black, and she was appalled and surprised. So it’s not just fros. It appears to be all types of curly kinky hair, and mostly like-though not always-those hair types of black women. But people are getting devious with this drug smuggling racket. Drugs in weaves/wigs, never though I’d see the day. New lows.

  • __A

    There was a woman who had drugs or something in her weave, so I think TSA agents have been trained to be on the lookout for all of us. They think that we all have something going on under there.

    But, it’s definitely possible for straight-haired women to hide something in their hair. I doubt they get checked.

  • JN

    EXACTLY. It’s the small incidents of stupidity that really mess things up.

  • http://gravatar.com/janschild janschild

    TSA agents as a rule are ridiculous.

  • PC newbie

    A good friend of mine, a cute Southern blonde from Florida, recently had her hair checked as well. It isn’t always racial profiling.

  • EST. 1986

    Who are ‘they’? And an airport is a totally different place from a school or movie theater?

  • Girly

    Coming back from Jamaica I saw security checking a white lady with long locks wrapped up in a bun. I agree, it’s not always discrimination.

  • Girly

    In Jamaica I saw the security checking a white lady with long locks wrapped up in a bun.

  • http://passionistaplace.blogspot.com jenna pearle

    it is a huge deal. two months ago, the tsa agents pulled me aside to check my hair. i thought they would scan it but before i knew it, hands were all up in my scalp. the thing is my hair is loced and they are fairly thin. they were freshly groomed so you could see my scalp clearly. plus, they were down (as in not in a ponytail or bun). i felt out of anybody there, it would be visible to see if i was holding a bomb or whatever in there. i watched as person after (white) person with all kinds of hairstyles walked through w/o a problem. they also checked my husband’s hair. he has long silky hair just like them but with brown skin (of guyanese descent). i don’t know if that was to make me feel better or he too was being profiled. needless to say, i felt violated. it was VERY thorough but quick enough that i couldn’t protest in time.

  • Nixie

    Yeah, I’m hispanic and have thick, stick-straight, waist-length hair and I had mine searched too. They did ask if I had “extensions or a weave” and when I said “um…no?”, I got complimented on my locks. Weird lol

  • Barbara

    I don’t see how anyone can argue against facts anyway I don’t appreciate being frisked and those scanners can’t be safe.

  • http://gravatar.com/cmilbourne C

    Yeah, I’m an out of state student and everytime I’ve gone home for a break/back to school this semester I’ve gotten my hair checked. Whether it was natural (3b curls) or straightened (with keratin and no volume), I’ve hat a head pat down. My mom assumed they just wanted to see if it was real, but hearing that other people have this happening to them, white women included puts me at ease.

  • EST. 1986

    It isn’t always racial profiling but that doesn’t mean this situation here wasn’t.

  • Nic

    But what I want to know is, do they search Beyonce’s wigs, b/c I swear that chick must sleep in hers…

  • Nic

    It’s interesting to see b/c I usually travel in a knit cap with a scarf underneath and it’s pretty big(big enough to think something was stuffed in there b/c I have a lot of hair) but so far, no one has tried to touch it or ask me to use it, and I think I set off the metal detectors b/c of bobby pins(my hair was straightened and wrapped) and the checker (black male) got it and didn’t bother me.
    the only time they made me remove my cap was in S. America.
    hopefully I didn’t jinx myself with this comment b/c i definitely remembers being subjected to lots of shenanigans right after 9/11.

  • http://gravatar.com/dreamer215 dreamer215

    yup, my head was patted down once. my hair was in twists, in a ponytail. not bulky at all, and completely flat against my head. i went through the full body scanner, came out and was told to wait for a moment. ten seconds later i felt hands patting down the back of my head. i felt violated and bewildered about how anyone thought i could be hiding something in my hair. there is definitely a racial element to this.

  • Humanista

    I try not to fly in my big fro for this very reason. However they slice it, this practice literally INFURIATES me. The first time it happened, I had not opted out of the scanner, but they pat me down, which doesn’t really bother me. The woman who was patting me down was white but when she got to my fro, she called over a black woman to do it. …not sure what that means, but it seems that if it wasn’t racially motivated, there would be no need for racial sensitivity.

    …but that’s just my take. Glad to hear it’s not just us, though.

  • Mademoiselle

    I have a teeny tiny fro, and have had my hair patted by white and black agents. Same thing when my hair was long and I used to braid it up and throw it under a hat for every flight. Any time I opt out of the body scanner it happens. Considering “briefly grazing” my privates is a part of the procedure, checking my hair seems incredibly minor to me.

    Also, wasn’t there a recent story about women who sewed drugs into their weave trying to make it through customs?

  • Gail

    I always get my hair searched now. I understand a few women have been caught with something in their hair so hence why it started in the first place. But i have noticed it primarily being black women. I personally have never seen a non minority/arab searched so I hope they do this equally before a lawsuit appears sometime down the road because it doesn’t appear “random” that they pick these particular women out and i find it borderline out of bounds. Funny though, they always ask me if it is ok if my hair is patted down. So if I say no, what would happen? Has anyone ever said no to the TSA hair search? Because imagine a woman going through chemo being searched under a cranial prosthetic. Its absolutely humiliating in front of hundreds of people to have that done especially when she is going through enough already in her life. They need to be able to scan for this instead of this kind of embarrassing procedure.

  • sweetypie09

    maybe it’s because a black woman is supposed to know how a fro feels? lol

  • scyren

    I went through the body scanner for first time in July and I was pulled aside to check my hair. I had one row in my hair, the rest was mine and it was flat ironed. So, it wasn’t flat at all and trust me, they were gentle with it. I was kind of annoyed.

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