Several prominent black women say the TSA’s screening practices are discriminatory. Now the TSA plans to do something about it.
The women claim that they are often singled out for special screening by TSA agents at numerous airports across the U.S., including LAX. Women with especially voluminous hair say that they’re frequently targeted by TSA agents who ask to search their hair for potential weapons. The TSA will now work with the ACLU to begin anti-discrimination training at LAX.
The problem first came to light when ACLU staff lawyer Novella Coleman reported discrimination in 2012. The complaint finally received a response after neuroscientist Malaika Singleton complained that TSA agents handled her “Sisterlocks” at LAX and again at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in 2013.
Many women who have experienced similar treatment have taken to Twitter to share their displeasure. Solange Knowles, sister to Beyoncé, started a social media firestorm after tweeting about her experiences with airport screeners.
Discrim-FRO-nation. My hair is not a storage drawer. Although, guess I couuld hide a joint up in here. *Blames "Romnesia" (my wigs name)— solange knowles (@solangeknowles) November 14, 2012
Lets play a little game called: "What did TSA find in Solange's Fro"?— solange knowles (@solangeknowles) November 14, 2012
Several other African American females have also tweeted about perceived discrimination:
Great news for my naturals #TSA will now stop searching our hair for bombs and weapons. Finally they realize our hair is not a shelf...— Brittani C (@Beautyfulbriit) March 30, 2015
Do you feel like you have been subjected to excessive screening? What criteria do you think was used: race, hair, headwear?
Hugo Martin, travel reporter for the LA Times; LA Times: TSA reaches agreement on pat-down searches of black women's hair