When I was in the line Saturday at the airport in Minnesota (returning to Oregon) having to have my bags checked so I can get to my gate, there was a Middle Eastern-looking gentleman ahead of me with a full beard, waiting for the containers they give us to store our carry-ons that go through the ex-ray. The TSA guy asked him tons of questions. He asked him where he was going, what he did for a living, and asked how terrible the tragedy was in Boston. My guess was he did that to gauge his opinion of it. The Middle Eastern-looking gentleman was a Sunday School teacher, a pastor of an Episcopalian church in Minnesota, and was headed to Berkeley, to speak to an Episcopalian class there. The TSA guy tried to guess the gentleman’s ethnicity by guessing 2 or 3 Arab countries when the guy said Sicily, that he was 100% Sicilian and raised Catholic but converted to Episcopalian to please his wife. Every bit of prejudgment the TSA guy had was disintegrated. I was personally bothered by how he was treated. The gentleman didn't seem to mind. He smiled a lot and answered every question. It wasn’t an interrogation it seemed, because we were standing in line. The TSA guy just walked up to him and started asking questions. And when the TSA guy saw me he just said good afternoon and walked further down the line. Even after he stood in that chamber they have us to stand in with our arms raised above our heads-they pulled him over to the side to waive a wand over his body, front and back and between his legs and underneath his arms. It seemed they were determined to find something on the man, but he remained cool and calm and very obedient. Then eyen re-scanned his items. They found nothing. They had to let the Sicilian gentleman with olive skin and a thick beard, who was not a Muslim, but a Christian, pass.
Unfortunately, this is the times in which we live. We can’t be too careful, though I know how it feels to be prejudged based on how I look. I remember when it was just black folks that white people felt they had to look out for.
Unfortunately for CNN's John King as well , it's white folks as well. His characterization of the suspect(s) as "dark-skinned"...inflammatory, appealingto prejudice, as it turned out, was incorrect.
I have yet to hear an apology from him.