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Flying While Black

EVERYTIME I pass through customs in Norway, I get stopped. Every single time. No exceptions. And I don't play the race card game, but come on, being stopped 6 of 7 times (the one I was not stopped they had stopped an Asian woman at the height of the avian bird flu scare) is NOT coincidence. That is called targeting. But when I ask for anexplanation, none of the customs staff can provide one. Well with treatment like this at customs, I have no plans to in be Norway again anytime soon.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
rcornelius
Aug. 31st, 2005 10:59 am (UTC)
Re: a question
and here all this time you thought it was a copier ink accident that made me this way ;)
(Deleted comment)
rcornelius
Sep. 2nd, 2005 08:36 am (UTC)
Re: a question
Well I think I'm more Missy than Halle, but a compliment is a compliment!
sipho
Aug. 31st, 2005 05:49 am (UTC)
Well you do tend to take more booze than you're allowed to so in a way they are right :P
rcornelius
Aug. 31st, 2005 11:01 am (UTC)
i deny everything.
malte
Aug. 31st, 2005 09:03 am (UTC)
Are there countries that don't do that?

I think you should try accusing them of picking on you because you're gay...
rcornelius
Sep. 2nd, 2005 08:48 am (UTC)
Hahaha! That sounds like a good plan.

Of course every country does that. Including the US. In fact, I used to never be able to get through Denver airport without being searches, no matter if I was wearing my 400 designer suit, or a pair of speedo and flip fops (ok I never have done the speedo/flip flop thing, but I'm trying to make a point :) And even in Denver, after the fourth time in four weeks, I challenged the airport screeners and the security managers.

I come back to my concern that without understanding how I am seem as a threat, then I don't know what to do to not become a threat.

I am all for making sure airports are safe and laws are followed. That's fine. But if each time I walk through a Norwegian airport, and I left the customs area in a group of 10-30 people, and I am the only one who does not look like the others, then I think know it is not just because I look pretty.

It's like after 9/11, when people were actually "impressed" with the way the American Muslims "behaved". And their constant refrain was "we exceeded everyone's expectations but our own." It's tough to figure out how to move forward. And frustrating.
malte
Sep. 2nd, 2005 09:15 pm (UTC)
Who does the security in these places? If it's the state authorities, then I guess politics and media is the only way to go, but these days it might well be that they outsource it all to private security companies. In which case the airport/state authorities can conveniently pass the buck if enough people kick up a fuss.

Anywhere in Sweden ought to have some sort of a diversity plan, too, you'd have thought.

It would certainly be interesting to know how many of these people/companies/airports/ports would admit that they do racial profiling, and compare it with what travellers report. On the other hand, it's probably already been done and nothing happened.

talktooloose
Aug. 31st, 2005 06:01 pm (UTC)
Random jottings on race
For statistical comparison purposes: I think I have never been stopped for a spot inspection in the 16 or so times I've flown since 9/11.

Have you read Freakonomics? Interesting stuff about how people hide racism. For instance, in examining the data from online dating services, the vast majority of white users state in their ads that race is not a criterion for a potential partner. Yet 92% of white men and 97% of white women sent letters exclusively in response to white ads. The author's conclusion: being openly racist loses you dates but they still wouldn't want to date one...

I've been thinking a lot about race lately. Did you read my post on the movie Brother to Brother? The (black) main character drops his new (white) bf when he says, "I love your beautiful black ass". I understood that he was sensitive about someone objectifying him, but it made me wonder how you could ever discount somebody's race. Or sexual orientation for that matter. If someone said to me, "I don't think of you as gay," I'd wonder how close a friend they really were because it is an important part of my identity. And it seems that would be different than someone saying, "I like you because all gay men are so kind."
rcornelius
Sep. 2nd, 2005 08:42 am (UTC)
Re: Random jottings on race
I have never read the book, but I read your description and then read a book review and it sounds really interesting.

I read your post about the movie. And from my perspective, I would have reacted differently in his situation. The fact that I am black has *something* to do with people's attraction or non-attraction with me, but I also expect that it is likely just one of the many factors that people consider when dating me. But perhaps that is because I have also have boyfriends from other countries, and in some way, it tunes you in to be sensitive to the fact that culture and other differences should only be seen as part of the total package.

It really seems to be situational. Like when a black guy calls another black guy a nigger - it is no big deal (it is to me though because I take the literal definition). Yet someone non-black can't usually use that word unless they are Eminem.

I guess it just *really* bothers me because of all of the Nordic countries, I have never been singled out so much. I never get the problem in Sweden, Denmark, or Finland. It is just Norway. So one of these days I shall really challenge them and demand some answers.

It's hard to not be a threat when I don't understand or am not told what causes me to be a threat in the first place.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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