After hours of questioning, it became clear that the only reason that the three of them were being held was that they looked vaguely as if they might be ... Arabic? Muslim? Brown. And just happened to be seated together. None of them knew each other. The seat assignments came from Frontier airline. The three didn't even talk until the plane had landed. However, that didn't stop the flight crew at Frontier from getting on the radio and calling for help. The suspicious behavior that warranted this action? Both of the men went to the bathroom. What landed Ms. Hebshi in handcuffs? She didn't know the men, didn't talk to them, didn't even go to the bathroom. But of course, she had ... a look.
No one is asking that either officers or airline attendants ignore threats. However, when pure racial profiling is rewarded by massive overreaction and hordes of attention, it only feeds on itself. The passengers go home shivering over the scare they got by sharing a plane with a brown person. Those taken in for no reason go home in humiliation, with poisonous looks from everyone they pass. Their stories are very different.
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