I Think It’s Right That I’m Racially Profiled at Airports

Nirpal Dhaliwal, Evening Standard, May 11, 2012

Far from ending prejudice, political correctness has expanded the pool of people discriminated against: it now includes everyone. That, at least, seems to be one result of the chaos of lengthening immigration queues: white passengers have been detained by officials at Gatwick simply because of their colour.

John Vine, chief inspector of the UK Border Agency, says in a report this week that when dealing with flights from the Caribbean, official policy involved “detaining white passengers purely to avoid potential race discrimination complaints when there was an intention to question black passengers”.

This tactic points to our increasing malaise in facing racial sensitivities. It is a dilemma that makes officialdom either sink its head in the sand or skirt around issues. The same nervousness  contributed to the near-wilful blindness of the authorities when accusations of sexual abuse by British Pakistanis in Rochdale first emerged 10 years ago — cases that resulted in convictions this week. The fact that the abused girls were deliberately targeted by men from an ethnic minority made this a can of worms no one wanted to open.

I’ve been racially profiled in several countries — in Britain, America and, most of all, India. And I have no problem with the process.

While in the West, I’ve noticed that officials make a point of hiding the racial aspect of their inspection, checking white passengers too. Indians have no such qualms. Flying out of Mumbai, I was assiduously searched no less than three times after I passed through the scanners — even at the very door of the plane. On each occasion, white people strolled by unquestioned.

I didn’t mind in the least because I wanted to arrive back in Britain alive rather than be blown out of the sky. India has suffered horribly from terrorism and as a young brown-skinned man travelling alone, I knew and accepted that those fitting my description were more likely to be jihadis than, say, the elderly kaftan-clad white woman who sat beside me on the flight home.

The same happened after bombs went off in my neighbourhood in Delhi. For days, I couldn’t get into a bar or restaurant without being frisked, while white people walked straight in. But in India, no one would be accused of racism for this; in Britain, many would cry foul, even though the inconvenience to me was only slight. After all, the plane didn’t leave any earlier for the white passengers.

One of the Gatwick officials is quoted as saying that there was a “problem” when they realised the one passenger they wanted to intercept was the only black passenger on the flight. Several white people were then detained, to avoid exciting the lawyers and professional race-wallahs who would seek advantage from a discrimination claim.

Meanwhile, the rate of absconding by immigrants in the UK has risen. Terrorism remains a threat. And the resources on our borders are so stretched that the lines at passport control make a Soviet queue look prompt. Political correctness is one more added burden.

I look forward to a white person making a racial discrimination claim one day. The authorities’ embarrassment will be exquisite — and might just offer clarity on our tortuous attitudes to the issue.

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  • Francis Galton

    Yes, as an unapologetic White man, I think you should be racially profiled, too!  Thank you for saying out loud what I’m only allowed to think!  I appreciate it… really…. 

    • ogese

      Francis – speak your mind.  Don’t live a lie.  Just be reasonable and considerate with your observations/opinions/beliefs and you won’t insult the vast majority of people.

  • TFD123

    Your solution is too simple and full of common sense.

    The roundabout method of spending trillions of dollars of our nation’s wealth on foreign wars, global intelligence, and homeland security is much preferable.  That way we don’t offend anyone.

  • JackKrak

    The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have profilers for serial killers, don’t they? How many tv shows have you seen where the profiler tells the audience straight up that they work on the assumption the killer is a white male between this and that age with such and such a career, etc.? Why is that seen as a normal, reasonable response the problem but even suggesting that Mohammad from Algeria with his one way ticket and no baggage should be treated the same as a grandmother travelling to her her family on Thanksgiving?

    • IstvanIN

      Don’t you that the 80 year old woman, pushing her invalid 90 year old husband in a wheel chair, who gets upset over her husband being molested and man handled, is just as much a danger as the little crippled boy in steel legs braces who “refuses” to walk through the scanner and falls down repeatedly.  THESE people are the real danger, old white people and white handicapped children.  Just ask Ms. Napolitano.

  • JohnEngelman

    I am a white man. On several occasions I have been stopped and frisked by the police. I did not get angry. I was glad they were doing their jobs. I would rather be stopped and frisked than mugged and robbed. 

    • ogese

      For the record Engleman – I’m obviously black and have had the same thing happen to me on rare (very rare) occasions.  Never had any trouble.  Probably because I appreciate the police doing their job and I act polite and friendly.  

      The flip side of this coin is when a person like the Anonymous writer above (who says he would get beaten up by black guys) goes looking for trouble in a poor black community.  His getting beaten up is the same as the black guy who goes out to rile up the cops.

      • JohnEngelman

        I am glad you are posting here. I hope you continue. 

        • ogese

          Thanks for the kind words. Glad to be here to learn and contribute.

  • ogese

    Please don’t succumb to the  “I’m white so I am afraid to speak up” thing.  You can be assertive without being hurtful or hateful.   And if you tell people like it is, keep your decorum, avoid racist slurs, inappropriate threats, or rude presumptions – you are doing nothing wrong. 

    For example, you can say “Sir, stand aside. We are checking all Somalian nationals for small arms and you look Somalian”  and be telling it like it is.  You should not feel wrong for saying that just because you are white. Don’t let anybody tell you different.If you say “You bunch of towel headed [racial slur]s had better produce the weapons you’re hiding right now or I’ll blow your [expletive] head off” would be insulting his subjects and inviting accusations of racism.

  • ogese

    I agree.  A person can pass as a “normal white American” and be a terrorist.  There were quite a few “white people” fighting for Al Qaeda at the beginning of the decade.