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Racial Profiling Rampant at Boston Airport

Racial Profiling Rampant at Boston Airport

To further prove that racism and stereotyping is not a thing of the past in the United States, more than 30 federal officers have complained that a security training program implemented in a Boston airport encourages racial profiling. The New York Times notes that through a series of complaints and interviews, officers have affirmed that policies employed at Logan International Airport in Boston encourages stopping people based on specific racial profiles and stereotypes.

One officer told the New York Times, “They just pull aside anyone who they donít like the way they look ó if they are black and have expensive clothes or jewelry, or if they are Hispanic.” The program was supposed to help uncover crime by studying mannerisms of passengers in airports. It was supposed to spread to other airports as a model program that would allow TSA officers to stop anyone with behaviors that seemed suspicious.

Ideally, the program categorized suspicious mannerisms as avoiding eye contact, sweating or acting out of sorts. Many officers estimated that about 80 percent of the people they stopped were racial minorities. The reports also noted that at least two dozen officers focused their attention on detaining racial minorities exclusively in order to increase their numbers.

In this new report, officers complained that the policy quickly devolved into racial profiling after supervisors encouraged a heightened number of stops and criminal referrals in order to improve numbers and to appear as though officers were doing their jobs. One passenger filed an official complaint against the treatment he received at Logan. Kenneth Boatner, a black psychologist traveling through the airport, was stopped for more than half an hour as officers searched through his materials, the Associated Press reports. Boatner told an interviewer that he felt humiliated and that, “I had never been subjected to anything like that.”

While the TSA has no way of tracking the numbers of people stopped based on their appearance, officials have agreed to start an investigation over the charges of corruption. The New York Times notes that the Government Accountability Office has been skeptical about the validity of the entire program over the last two years, long before any accounts of racial profiling surfaced. As the New York Times piece points out, “until the agency is able to better study and document the validity of the science, Congress might consider freezing tens of millions of dollars budgeted for the programís growth.”

While this specific program at Logan International has the potential to reveal racial profiling practices because of the explicit nature of the training and detainment practices, racial profiling continues throughout the United States, and not just in airports. A Phoenix woman was arrested and held in jail for over four months in Arizona this year because she was Latina and officials did not believe she was a citizen of the United States. She undoubtedly was a citizen, with a home, a child, and a job who was illegally detained by law enforcement.

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54 comments

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11:09AM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

1:21AM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

Profiling, Racism or else????????


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8:11PM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

Paranoia my great aunt fanny! Numbers, drive behavior. Get high numbers, get rewarded. Bigotry is also helpful in the endeavor I feel sure.

10:21AM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

Pure paranoia on their part, driven by the fact that they fyooked up on 9-11-01...

Let it go, Boston! Harrassing people now won't make up for your poor performance then!

9:19PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

TSA needs to go.

8:21PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

I can't believe some of these ignorant comments. Am I really on Care2?

7:27PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

David, when you say that it is young Muslims doing the hijacking, many people interpret it as "young Muslims are hijackers." Profiling happens that way. Let's just remember that many of the terrorist acts in the USA have been by white red necks. The KKK, white supremacists, and most anti-government or paramilitary groups in the USA are composed of white red necks, not Latinos, Arabs, or blacks.
White Supremacist ‘Serial’ Bomber, Dennis Mahon, does not look Arabic, black, or Hispanic to me. Perhaps my eyes are failing me.
For the idiots that think that the authorities should waste their time harassing Latino, Arabic, and black people, think! While security is bothering some inocent darker people, that nice white boy, Dennis Mahon, and many others like him, walk freely smiling at the thought of killing you.

3:14PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

its about time.i can tell you its not 70 year old white women hijacking planes .its young muslims. open your eyes .

3:11PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

nothing news.. RACIAL PROFILING still exists everywhere in USA. I live in jacksonville, FL. Still racial profiling in Jacksonville.

1:52PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

Any terrorists out to destroy America probably are....
ALREADY HERE !!!!!!!!
IF they should find the odd maverick....OK.... but they would be the ODD MAVERICK.
Recent stopped attempts were NOT CAUGHT at Airports.
True terrorist organizations are NOT STUPID.
They are intelligently integrated ORGANIZATIONS.
It is stupid stupid PROFILING to think of them in any other way.
Harassing common travelers beyond the machines and pat downs boarders on the absurd
Not to mention the waste of time and MONEY to pay for this absurdity.
Personally, I do NOT feel safer for having to endure these procedures and to think that SPECIFIC PEOPLE must grow through even GREATER humiliation makes me ashamed.
STOP IT !!!!!!!

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