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The TSA Takes On A New Security Threat: Updo Hairdos

August 1, 2011 at 1:15 PM | by | ()

Last month there was yet another brouhaha surrounding the TSA's security policies when a women accused them of being racist for pulling her out of the security line, after she had already gone through the full body scanner, simply so they could check her hair.

Laura Adiele felt she was being discriminated against after seeing women of other races with their hair pulled up passing through security with ease, while as a black woman with an afro tucked up into a curly bun, she was being being pulled aside.

"It's just totally a violation of my personal space and my biggest question is if I'm going through a full body X-ray what more do you need to find, after that?" Adiele said.

I can feel Adiele's pain. After going through the full body scanner at the San Diego International Airport last Wednesday, I was also pulled aside and asked to wait until a female TSA agent was available to go through my hair. What? I chose to go through the scanner so I wouldn't have someone touch me, but in the end, I was still going to have a stranger fondling my hair?

A TSA agent did come over (with gloves on) a few minutes later and started digging through my hair, which was pulled up in a tight bun on the back of my head (for the record I am a thirty-something white woman). I didn't want to cause a scene so I didn't say anything at the time, but I did wonder how the full body scanner could see me naked but couldn't manage to see if I had something hidden in my hair?

After the incident with Adiele, the TSA posted a statement on their blog about the incident saying, "As is the case with all imaging technology screening, the officer viewing the image is in a separate location and cannot see the passenger being screened when determining whether he or she needs a pat-down...Anybody who travels through our checkpoints may undergo additional screening if necessary to resolve alarms or anomalies. This could include additional screening of clothing, headwear or hair. These are all places where dangerous items can be hidden and our policies are in place to keep the traveling public safe."

My guess is after being accused of racially profiling Adiele, the TSA will be checking more and more buns and braids to prove they aren't racist. So, you may want to keep your hair down until you actually board your next flight, or at least brace yourself for a possible updo pat-down.

[Photo: sfcitizen.com]

Archived Comments:

Am I the only one who does this?

When I have to go through the full-body scanner, and we have to put our hands up, I simply extend my middle finger on both hands a slight bit more than all my others. I've yet to be noticed. I doubt I ever will be, but hey, doing it three or so times a week gives me a nice, I'm-as-mature-as-a-six-year-old sense of satisfaction.