Racial Profiling At Airports, A Viable Option?

This post was inspired by an article over on The Huffington Post. Much to my disappointment, the author of the article never bothered to reply to my comment, so I decided to make a post here to preserve my position on racial profiling.

“Dr.” Rachel Ehrenfeld wrote a piece that was published on the HuffPo where she made the argument that in order to have safe airports and safe air travel, the US government needed to engage in racial profiling.

To “prove” her point, she engages in some fear mongering:

On Christmas Day, we were faced with a terrorist who made his way onto an airplane headed for the U.S. How many others like him are boarding planes heading to the U.S. right now?

Then she calls upon the herd to back her up saying that in a USA Today poll done on January 13, 2010:

over 70% of Americans would support profiling passengers who fit the profile of terrorists based on their age, ethnicity or gender

Like Samuel Clements once said: There are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics.

I think racial profiling is a stupid idea. I said so, in the one and only comment to the article:

Sure, this is all fine and dandy. I’m sure a lot of Americans agree with profiling, as long as they profile other people.

The problem with your proposal, is that it assumes that all the terrorists look like Abdulmutallab (the Christmas day would be bomber) instead of like Joseph Stack (the guy that flew the plane into the IRS building in Austin). Stack was a terrorist, simple as that, better start profiling all white people that have a beef with the government.

On a different note, El Al is a tiny airline, with very few flights to anywhere, so their entire security model is not practical at this point in time. The real secret to their success, is limited exposure.

What do you think?


Rafael is an aviation geek, a consumer advocate, a dad, a multiple personality blogger, a photographer, politically opinionated, a videographer and many other things as well.

One thought on “Racial Profiling At Airports, A Viable Option?

  • April 29, 2010 at 11:59 am

    This is a tough issue for me. I completely understand your position. I’ve heard stories of innocent people being racially profiled, and how traumatic that experience was. The bigger issue for me is those in authority being corrupt. If someone innocent proves they’re here legally, then end of story. If those in power, take it a step further… that’s when there are BIG problems.

    But, let’s put the shoe on the other foot. What if racial profiling saved your life? I’m not saying it ever will, it probably won’t. But what if it did? Then, would your position change?

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