Yesha Callahan

TSA Ends Profiling of Black Women’s Hair During Pat-Downs

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If you’re a black woman, chances are going through TSA’s security check has been dreadful, especially if they decide to pat down your hair. But now, after reaching an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the TSA has agreed to stop racially profiling black women with natural hair and subjecting them to extra security screenings.

According to an announcement from the ACLU, TSA will provide trainings across the country with an emphasis on hair pat-downs of black female travelers. TSA has also agreed to specifically track hair pat-down complaints filed by black women at all airports they oversee to determine whether discriminatory practices are still occurring.

Novella Coleman, an attorney with the ACLU, has been on the receiving end of TSA pat-downs, and spearheaded the change along with other black women.

“The humiliating experience of countless black women who are routinely targeted for hair pat-downs because their hair is ‘different’ is not only wrong, but also a great misuse of TSA agents’ time and resources,” she said in a statement.

Coleman also told  BuzzFeed News she’s optimistic the new training TSA will hold for its employees. “I think right now we’re in a hopeful place,” she said.

Clutchettes, have you ever been subjected to a TSA pat-down of your hair?

 Image Credit: Nam Y. Huh / AP

  1. March 31, 2015 - Reply

    I have no problem with security measures especially with flying, I am an AVID traveler with natural hair that has been fingered and patted down several times, arrrrgggg. HOWEVER all measures need to be EQUALLY EXECUTED/APPLIED. What I am noticing with profiling and is NEVER mentioned in the media to capitalize on the voicing of the wrongful nature of profiling is how the majority of Profiling that occurs allows for those NOT BEING PROFILED TO COMMIT MORE AND EVEN MORE EGREGIOUS CRIMES/VIOLATIONS simply because they are not on the radar. eg INNOCENT brown lady with bigg hair being held up and patted down while caucasian lady with illegal substances or other contraband in her hairbun strolls by

  2. March 31, 2015 - Reply

    KUDOS to ACLU this time 😉

  3. March 31, 2015 - Reply

    I’m a civil libertarian by nature, so I agree with the ACLU on this issue.

  4. March 31, 2015 - Reply

    I’ve had my hair pat down. :-/

    • April 1, 2015 - Reply

      @Kema

      Which airport????

    • April 1, 2015 - Reply

      @Kema

      thats ridiculous. How many hair bombers have we had lol? They need to go stop actual terrorists.

  5. April 1, 2015 - Reply

    Y’all are trolling me right? Wtf? Ladies please tell me which airports you were in when you experienced this fkery?

    • April 1, 2015 - Reply

      @Love.tweet.joi

      Ft. Lauderdale Airport, Miami Airport, Boston Airport, Cincinnati Airport. They’ve checked me while I’ve worn straight wigs, buns, braids, and while natural. Its embarrassing and completely unnecessary and I’m glad they’ve stopped it.

      • April 1, 2015 - Reply

        @Billie Nye

        I’ve only traveled through MIA twice to PR and DR and I had cornrows so maybe that explains that. My longest flights lately have only been 1-2 hours and on the west coast. Thats humiliating. Off to bother a relative who is a TSA supervisor. I have questions.

    • April 1, 2015 - Reply

      @Love.tweet.joi

      MCO and BWI

      • April 1, 2015 - Reply

        @KnottyNatural

        Obviously, I’m just not paying attention becauseit hasnt happened to me.

        • April 2, 2015 - Reply

          @Love.tweet.joi

          Maybe it’s random. It’s happened to me on more then one occasion. In one instance, my hair was in a ginormous bun and in another, my hair was in a big fluffy fro. I’ve seen it happen to other women as well.

          • April 2, 2015 - Reply

            @KnottyNatural

            My cousin was like, they mushed up her fro! She wears wigs too sometimes.

            • April 2, 2015 - Reply

              @Love.tweet.joi

              My fro is too fluffy to get mushed 😉 Also the technique used to check my fro was one where a woman wearing gloves just put her hands through my hair and just shook my hair. Like I said before, if there were anything metal or liquid or any material really, my guess is the full body scan would’ve caught it.

              • April 2, 2015 - Reply

                @KnottyNatural

                Not all terminals in LAX have full body scan machines.

      • April 1, 2015 - Reply

        @KnottyNatural

        It’s so crazy since they have the full body scan at MCO.

  6. April 1, 2015 - Reply

    As one who has been hair checked on more then one occasion, I always felt it was a pretty silly practice as the metal detectors we go through would identify any foreign objects in our hair.

    • April 1, 2015 - Reply

      @KnottyNatural

      They patted me down when I had metal barrettes set the alarm off. There is no reason to do this.

  7. April 3, 2015 - Reply

    I flew out of IAD and had FRESH cornrows. My hair frisked and I was not happy about it.

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