I’m sure we all remember when singer Solange announced that she had her hair searched publicly by TSA officers while traveling through the airport in 2012. Well, now thanks to two women the TSA has agreed to give up the practice altogether.
Neuroscientist, Malaika Singleton of Sacramento, CA was on her way to an academic conference in London when she was accosted by TSA officers who declared the need to publicly screen her sisterlocks:
“I was going through the screening procedures like we all do, and after I stepped out of the full body scanner, the agent said, ‘OK, now I’m going to check your hair,’”
The TSA agents pulled and squeezed Singleton’s hair on her way to the conference and again when she returned home. Singleton then proceeded to contact the American Civil Liberties Union only to learn that a complaint had been filed by Novella Coleman, one of three black lawyers working there who also wore sisterlocks.
Coleman recalls having her sisterlocks searched on two separate occasions. When she asked the TSA officers for the reason of the search, she was told they needed to screen extensions and hair that was deemed to have “abnormalities.” Coleman then proceeded to file another complaint on behalf of Singleton’s incident.
The TSA soon issued an e‑mail to the ACLU to announce their plan to begin conducting training to eliminate discrimination of black female passengers:
“MB (Multicultural Branch) will also commit to conducting an onsite training at LAX, subject to coordination with TSA LAX leadership, during the 2015 calendar year. In addition, even though TSA does incorporate nondiscrimination principles into its regular training, MB will work with the TSA’s Office of Training and Workforce Engagement to make certain that current training related to nondiscrimination is clear and consistent for TSA’s workforce. Furthermore, in light of recent concerns, MB will diligently work with TSA secured airports and monitor them for consistent implementation of DHS and TSA policies. MB will specifically track hair pat- down complaints filed with MB from African-American females throughout the country to assess whether a discriminatory impact may be occurring at a specific TSA secured location.”
What do you think of the TSA’s announcement? Has your natural hair been searched by the TSA in the airport?