Saturday, May 7, 2011

As A Nation We Have Come So Far

There's a recent news report about a pastor and a priest who were removed from a plane because the other passengers were uncomfortable with having them on the flight. They were both wearing what would be considered traditional garb associated with their religion or culture. Both had passed through security--even secondary security, whatever that is--and were allowed to board.

After the plane pulled away from the gate the pilot announced they were going back. Both men were removed from the aircraft and returned to the boarding area where they were informed of the pilot's decision. The pilot could not be convinced to allow the two men back on the plane and departed without them. They ended up catching different flights to their destination.

What would make passengers so uncomfortable with two of their fellow travelers dressed in a manner that identifies who they are that the pilot would have them removed from the plane? Should people be removed simply because they're dressed in such a manner? Was the pilot right to do this? How many complaining passengers does it take to trigger such an action? Can you imagine being removed from a plane under such circumstances? How would you feel? Can you think of an explanation would satisfy you that the pilot's action was the right thing to do?

If you check out the real story you'll find it was not a pastor and a priest but two Muslim religious leaders who live in Memphis.

Your sense of outrage didn't just fade, did it?

*** Update

Since we're on the subject of clothing being associated with terrorism, may I ask if you would fear this man?

He certainly looks like someone who would be involved in a suicide attack, doesn't he? I see people dressed like him at airports all the time.


Anonymous said...

Well, they aren't a priest and a pastor, at least not in the way that the majority of US residents would recognize. Is what the pilot did inappropriate? I think so. But pretending there are not differences between the appearance of the traditional priest's black shirt and collar and Imam garb is short sighted on your part. These men had the unfortunate experience to fall into the stereotype of terrorist and be denied passage on a plane. If they did not want this, they could have worn jeans/tshirt or a suit. Post 9/11, and shortly following the assassination of Osama, this type of thing is bound to happen.

Hank Greer said...


It's an unfortunate experience of falling into a stereotype that could have been avoided with jeans and a t-shirt or a suit. Really?

Thank you for clearing up my short sightedness.

Anonymous said...

First they came for the Muslim clerics, and we said nothing because why can't they dress in jeans and t-shirts anyway?

Then they came for the orthodox Jews praying with trefellin and we said nothing because, y'know, well, it's their fault for not accepting Jesus. And not wearing T-shirts.

Then they came to molest six year old blonde girls in the TSA line and we said...HEY just wait a goddam minute! We got civil liberties doncha know!

Anonymous said...

Good question. What does a terrorist dress like?

Atta wore a button down. All of the 9/11 hijackers looked like they shopped at GAP.
The Munich Olympics PLO guys wore black turtlenecks, if I recall.
The Unabomber wore a hoody.
Timothy McVeigh wore t-shirts (and a US military uniform).

Actually, I can't think of a single terrorist operative who dressed in Islamic clerical garb while committing terror acts. I mean, why would they? Isn't that a bit absurd?

"Let's see, we don't want to attract attention, so lets dress like imams and pray out loud in Arabic."

"That's genius!"

Unknown said...

remember, it's OK to be yourself. just be sure not to express yourself in public, unless you're in the majority.

Anonymous said...

I fear the mood in the US toward Muslims. It's really starting to resemble the attitude of Germans toward Jews by the mid 30s.

The gangland-style execution of Osama instead of capture and trial. Cripes, even Israel gave Eichman a trial.

The attempt to assasinate Muslim American citizens without due process (or even charges) and the casual bigotry at the airport and the streets which is excused as "inconvenience" and "vigilance".

Applause instead of prosecution for torture of Muslims, and kangaroo courts at Gitmo, where even the White House admits that some are held for no reason at all.

Even the FBI is in on the action, setting up pathetic losers as "bombers" and encouraging the violent blowback at mosques. Holder is worse than Hoover.

Maybe the better comparison is the racism toward blacks in the south.

Let's face it, bigotry is in style, and it's trickling down from our President. It's policy.

Anonymous 8:32 said...

It's typical for people to want the world to be just. But it is not.

Hank said: "It's an unfortunate experience of falling into a stereotype that could have been avoided with jeans and a t-shirt or a suit. Really?"

I think it is unfortunate that these two men ran into the wrong pilot. And who is to say why they were kicked off the plane (was it their clothes, were they causing some kind of disturbance, ws the pilot a racist asshole, did his wife just leave him for a man in a turban, who knows...) all we have is an online news story which is subjective. And this is why arguing about this stuff is so pointless. Unfortunate...yes...What would you call it?

Hank Greer said...

Anonymous 8:32

Like the main page header states, "Mostly just wonderin' about stuff."

Is it pointless to examine how we think or how our thinking has been shaped?

One example alluded to by a more generically defined Anonymous struck me. When we think of the 9/11 hijackers, do we picture them in suits or casual Friday clothing? I surprised myself with a negative answer.

So I wonder about that, too. Thanks for joining in.