I must come across as someone to be feared. Or maybe my massive size intimidates people. Maybe, just maybe, my smile exudes something that makes people want to walk on the other side of the street. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but I was recently viewed as a national threat.
And of all the places it happened – I was in Las Vegas. Yes, the home of crazy people who go to blend in with other crazy people. Yes, the birthplace of drive-through marriages and unlimited booze and gambling. Of all the people that look suspicious, little ole me (sober and pregnant) gets picked out.
Now, I didn’t get noticed until we were leaving Vegas. As a matter of fact, we were at the airport getting ready to fly home. Although every line was packed, Milton and I were in the line that had the state of the art security machine. Not the one that looks like a bridge and you just walk under it. No, this was the one that is a circular device where you put your feet on the mat, hold you hands high and then the machine moves around your body taking an image to make sure you aren’t concealing anything.
Minus the fact that they probably now knew the sex of our unborn child, I passed with flying colors and was shuffled on through. Or so I thought! As soon as I stepped out, the TSA agent standing there said, “M’am I love your natural hair, but I’m going to have to pat it down.” Now, of course I’m sitting here wondering what in the world could I be hiding in my hair that wasn’t visible on the security image. My natural hair is not that long and I doubt I could smuggle any drugs in it. So I asked the lady (who was of a non-white decent) why she had to do it. In a very apologetic voice she said, “I’m so sorry, my sister has hair just like yours and I love her hairstyle. But I’m required to do this for my job.”
I knew the charge came down from powers much higher than her so I let it go. All she did was place her gloved hand on top of my hand and press down once. And I was on my way. As we arrived at our gate, I reflected on the situation. Was I offended by what happened? Yes, to an extent. Do I think it’s discriminatory. Yes, to an extent. Do I blame the woman that did it? No. I just find it interesting that the bump on my stomach is way larger than the puff on my head, but not one person stopped to pat down my stomach. It’s sad that we still live in a culture where certain ethnicities have certain stereotypes attached. I understand protecting our country….. but when is the last time an African-American woman was on the news for terroristic threats?!