Do not wear humorous t-shirts on a plane. Do not mock the absurdity of the TSA security theater. And most of all…
Having been booted from our flight, the transit police now began to aggressively question us. At one point, I was asked where my brother lives (he was the one who gifted me the shirt). A bit surprised by the irrelevant question, I paused for a moment before answering.
“You had to think about that one. How come?,” she asked. I explained he recently moved. “Where’d he move from?” “Michigan,” I respond. “Michigan, what’s that?,” she says. At this point, the main TSA agent who’d questioned me earlier interjected: “He said ‘Michigan’.” Unable to withhold my snark, I responded with an eye-rolling sneer: “You’ve never heard of Michigan?”
This response did not please her partner, a transit cop named Mark. Mark grabbed his walkie-talkie and alerted his supervisor and proceeded to request that he be granted permission to question me further in a private room. His justification?: “First he hesitated, then he gave a stupid answer.” Michigan, my friends, is a stupid answer.
And then, he decided to drop any façade of fair treatment: the veil was lifted, this was about who I was and how I looked: “And he looks foreign.”
…do not look foreign.
Arijit got to experience the full weight of our stupid airport security system: he was thoroughly screened, held over and questioned at length, and ultimately kicked off a flight because he made the bigot sitting at the controls feel “uncomfortable”.
(A prediction: someone in the comments will blame the victim. He shouldn’t have been wearing a scary t-shirt, they will say, or he should have been deferential and cast his eyes downward and answered every stupid question politely. Just so I don’t have to reply to every such inanity, I offer you this preemptive reply: fuck you. Attitude is not and should not be a crime. Nor should be flying while brown.)