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Racism won't stop terrorism


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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Zack Armstrong

By Zack Armstrong
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 30, 1999
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Racism is alive and well in these United States of America. Two graduate students, one from the University of Arizona and the other from Arizona State University, were handcuffed and removed from an America West airplane last week for no definite reason. The plane made an unscheduled stop in Columbus, Ohio for what the airline personnel called an "inspection of the plane." They gave no reason as to what the inspection was for. Before the students in question knew what was happening, they were placed in handcuffs and removed from the plane. The only possible reason that these two particular passengers were singled out was because they were both of Arab descent. So much for the friendly skies.

Everyone knows the whole situation is ridiculous, but it happened, and the only thing left is to deal with it. There is absolutely no good reason for this kind of thing to happen, but it still does and probably won't stop for a very long time.

All the diversity groups in the world will never eradicate the fact that people are afraid of what they do not know. It is a sad fact, but a fact nonetheless.

I can just imagine what it must have been like for those stewardesses or flight attendants or whatever they like to be called these days. Right before they got on the plane they made sure that they caught the news to find out the latest in the EgyptAir catastrophe to find out which big bad Arab was responsible for it. Better yet, I would not be the least bit surprised if America West put together a little informational video on how to properly identify and neutralize the Arab threat. If you have a passenger of Middle Eastern descent on board, he should immediately be a suspect. If he asks three questions you should immediately alert the pilot. If he exceeds the three question threshold, land the airplane as soon as humanly possible and have the suspicious passengers removed for questioning.

Asking a few questions was the only thing that these gentlemen did. They asked a few questions about their seats and their meals and got a little lost on the way to the bathroom. They did no more than any other passenger would. Apparently that was enough to make the airplane's staff nervous enough to ground the plane.

This is yet another example of complete ignorance in America today. Ignorance and American have long been synonymous in most parts of the world, and I'm starting to think that a move to Paris isn't such a bad idea. If ignorance is American than the only retaliation that I can think of is another modern American institution: Sue the heck out of these people.

Immediate action is needed here, but the students in question are still undecided as to what their next move is going to be. This, to me, is lunacy. Suing these people for everything that they can get sounds like a fine idea. A suit like this is a guaranteed winner. The only negative thing that I can see coming from this line of action would be that the policies involving possible terrorists might become so relaxed that actual terrorists may be able to slip onto planes. But hey, there are six billion people on the planet. We could use a little thinning out here and there. But that's just the anger talking.

Our airline security in this country should more than adequately protect our planes from the threat of terrorism. The fact that the people who are working for our airlines don't trust the security makes me more frightened than the racism in question. Well, not really. But it's a very close second.

Racism is not going to prevent a terrorist attack. Metal detectors, X-ray machines and a variety of other proven methods will. We have just about every ethnicity in the planet represented legally in this country. It is completely illogical and totally absurd to suspect any given person of any given crime simply because of their ethnic background. Use the technology that is available to stop the bad men. The flight attendants of the world just can't compete.

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