TSA Searched Black Women's Hair, But is Agreeing to Stop

Illustration for article titled TSA Searched Black Women's Hair, But is Agreeing to Stop

The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) is vowing to change its ways after two black women complained about having their hair searched at multiple airports during screenings. Both women wear their hair in a style known as "sisterlocks," hardly a vessel for storing WMDs.


From Business Insider:

Malaika Singleton, a neuroscientist based in Sacramento, said she was on her way to London last year for an academic conference on dementia when a TSA agent at Los Angeles International Airport began pulling and squeezing her hair.

"I was going through the screening procedures like we all do, and after I stepped out of the full body scanner, the agent said, 'OK, now I'm going to check your hair,'" Singleton said on Thursday.

The same thing happened when she passed through the Minneapolis airport on her way back home, Singleton said.

Singleton took her complaint to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) where she met a lawyer with same experience. Coincidence that two black women with the same hairstyle are violated? Doesn't sound like it. Harumph!

Novella Coleman, the ACLU attorney, had already filed a complaint about the practice in 2012, to no avail, Coleman said on Thursday. She filed another complaint based on Singleton's experience, and on Thursday the two women said that the agency had agreed to conduct anti-discrimination training sessions with its officers to avoid what they called racial profiling of hair.

"The first time I was on a trip with colleagues, some other attorneys who were white and Latina," said Novella Coleman, the ACLU lawyer who filed the complaint.

"The woman said, 'I need to search your hair now,' and she just started grabbing my hair and squeezing it from top to bottom," Coleman said. Her white and Latina colleagues underwent no such searches, she said.

According to Business Insider, the TSA has not yet announced how it plans to deal with the profiling.

Photo via Shutterstock



Cue the "but i am white and i had my hair searched" and people missing the point that the TSA screening process is based on racial profiling (many reports have stated that).