I think it’s safe to say that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) holds the title for the most outwardly racist agency in Homeland Security. But that isn’t stopping the folks at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from giving them a run for their money.
NBC News reports that on Monday, Tara Houska, a Native-American attorney and activist, was going through security in Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport when a TSA agent grabbed her braids, snapped them and said “Giddyup!” When Houska confronted the agent about it, she simply responded with “Well it was just in fun. I’m sorry, your hair is lovely.” The TSA’s federal security director in Minnesota, Cliff Van Leuven, sent a memo out to employees confirming the incident happened as described. Leuven reached out to Houska and apologized on the employee’s behalf.
I really don’t understand white women’s inability to simply not touch people’s hair. Just don’t do it. First off, it’s invasive and disrespectful. It’s not hard to keep your hands to yourself. While the TSA agent has a job that requires her to pat people down, there’s also this thing called basic professionalism. Secondly, it’s like you’re just asking to get swung on. Maybe it comes from being raised by a black woman but one of the earliest lessons I learned was that you don’t touch a woman’s hair, let alone grab her braids and act like she’s a goddamn horse. In what world is that an okay thing to do to someone?
This is yet another bad look for the TSA. Earlier this month, reports emerged of numerous Iranian-American travelers being stopped and held in private rooms for hours at a time after the assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. If it’s not violating your civil liberties, then it’s violating your space. Happy travels, folks.