Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Suntan Menace

I've posted a few times recently about the rapidly spreading anti-swarthiness mass psychosis. Via The Independent, the latest example:
Seth Stein is used to jetting around the world to create stylish holiday homes for wealthy clients. This means the hip architect is familiar with the irritations of heightened airline security post-9/11. But not even he could have imagined being mistaken for an Islamist terrorist and physically pinned to his seat while aboard an American Airlines flight - especially as he has Jewish origins.

Yet this is what happened when he travelled back from a business trip to the Turks and Caicos islands via New York on 22 May. Still traumatised by his ordeal, the 47-year-old is furious that the airline failed to protect him from the gung-ho actions of an over-zealous passenger who claimed to be a police officer. He has now instructed a team of top US lawyers to act for him.

The London-based interiors guru, whose clients have included Peter Mandelson and the husband-and-wife design team Suzanne Clements and Ignacio Ribeiro, said he felt compelled to speak out to protect other innocent travellers from a similar experience.

"This man could have garrotted me and what was awful was that one or two of the passengers went up afterwards to thank him," said Mr Stein. He has since been told by airline staff he was targeted because he was using an iPod, had used the toilet when he got on the plane and that his tan made him appear "Arab".
The hysteria the rest here. As someone who travels a lot, owns gadgets, is dark-complected, and even uses the restroom, I keep waiting -- with anticipation, I must admit -- for some overeager vigilante/Charles Bronson-wannabe to try this crap on me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This item may bother you and many others, but I can tell you at least one person who likely smiled and pumped his fist when he read it: Karl Rove.

10/02/2006 12:49 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

C.R. - Maybe you could open the link to the Iranian president's website when you are on the plane to get heat going.

Being mugged on a plane because someone thought you were an Arab would be so cool!

10/02/2006 8:32 AM  
Anonymous kilfarsnar said...

This is a predictable outcome of the fear that Americans have been fed for the past 5 years. I am disappointed that so many people seem to lack perspective. But perhaps that is not reasonable to expect. This type of behavior is certainly nothing new. We are all driven by fear in our own way. I fear for our nation though. Many who read this 'blog understand what lies down this road if we continue on it.

10/02/2006 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

once again you have hit on a topic that is so pertinent & so scary & one that crosses the lines of whether or not one is a conservative or liberal, muslim or jew or catholic (like me...) i have olive skin, dark hair, a big nose & sometimes i forget to shave for 2 or 3 weeks (i'm a musician...) :) i'm mostly French & German. i have always gotten dirty looks in European airports from the soldiers w/ machine guns, but it's only been since 9/11 that i have been scrutinized in my own country, IN MY OWN NEIGHBORHOOD! police, by TSA employees, & even a few stewardesses. nothing like what happened to this man has happened to me... yet - but at this point i wouldn't be surprised by anything. where have we gottten to in this country that open hostility is justified by suspecting a person on the basis of their looks? forget about the niceities of the Bill of Rights, the way things seem to be going, we're headed right for Salem witch trial territory.

10/03/2006 4:54 PM  
Blogger Arcanum Veritas said...

My complexion is lighter, being in IT and rarely seeing the sun, but I have a full beard (neatly trimmed) and when I travel in full suit and tie, I get stopped for the 'bomb chemical' trace test 3 out of 4 times ... It doesn't pay to have a beard and travel ... Thankfully Aussies are less gung ho, so I wouldn't expect to be tackled in a plane ...

10/03/2006 11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well.. it's like I knew!

12/13/2009 7:42 AM  

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