The Ethnically Ambiguous Presidential Terrorist
Ever since I can remember, I have been targeted for special airport security screenings. Actually, let’s be real, I’m targeted for special screening in real life all the time.
I’m an ethnically ambiguous girl that has a penchant for the alternative.
For most close-minded people, that means I’m a freak from a unknown country (but probably one they hate)
I didn’t take my first trip until I was 18 years old. I had never flown before, and I was in a post September 11th world, so security had already been heightened quite a bit. My unfortunate racial/personality profiling woes began then.
Now, I don’t want to jinx my record or anything, but…
I have been stopped for special screening on every single trip I have been on from 2006 through the present.
I understand that security measures are necessary, but it is pretty hard for a frequent traveler to believe in this whole “random checks” bullshit with a streak as impressive as mine.
This is what tends to happen:
A family decked out in crocs and Hawaiian T-shirts pass by, then a couple of gaggles of older women enjoying their retirement. A swarm of businessmen toting their wheelie laptop bags shove their way through like the entitled assholes they typically are in airports (that’s a whole separate rant) and then, I walk through, with all my items neatly set out in the proper bins, nothing in my pockets, ready to follow the rules.
Ma’am, we’re going to need you to step aside for a random screening
Oh really, now? A random screening, you say? How very interesting that you chose the tattooed, olive-skinned, solo traveler for your screening and none of the equally suspicious (or unsuspicious, I should say) people whom just whizzed right past you.
It’s rarely just a simple pat down. We’re talking the works. My hands are swabbed for bomb residue, I’m sent through the crazy X-Ray machine (which is probably slowly giving my cancer) and then forced to have an invasive pat down anyway. Once they finish accosting me physically, they move on to my carefully packed bags. “To hell with your organization system! They seem to yell at me with their beady little suspicious eyes as they rip out my clothes and check my books page by page, as if I would have itty bitty envelopes of cocaine hidden between the pages of my novels.
Always a disappointment
I feel I am enraging these people by letting them down. They want to hate my race, but they can’t figure out what it is. They want the fact that I am traveling solo to justify their suspicions. They truly and deeply want to find that half-consumed bottle of water long forgotten at the bottom of my bag so that they could order an intensive interrogation in a room with a lone flickering light bulb. Half the time, when they are finally forced to wave me through, I can almost picture them shaking their fists at me saying, “Curses, foiled again!
President or a terrorist?
One would think the distinction between president and terrorist would be a pretty clear-cut one, but I did not find this to be true in Argentina. My last name is Kirchner, which just so happens to be the same last name as the current and former presidents of Argentina, Nestor and Cristina Kirchner.
This is perhaps why my issues with security began so early
Kirchner is not a common name in Argentina. In fact, it’s pretty rare, seeing as it’s of German origin. I understood the fascination with my last name, but never the suspicions. Sure, it’s a little weird that a traveler has the same last name as the president, but does that really make it any more likely that I am a terrorist? The Powers That Be in Argentina sure as hell seem to think so.
Endless bag searches. Extra questions at security. Birthday presents sent by my mother ripped open so that they could interrogate me about every single item, down to the Airhead candies and jeans.
Aggressive pat downs that were reminiscent of horny high school boys just trying to cop a feel before their hands could be slapped away.
I mean, sweet Jesus Argentina, why would a criminal change their name to match the president’s?! And if I were, in fact, related to the president, what makes you think I would even have to deal with you? Don’t you think Auntie Cristina could hook me up with a private jet, or at least first class?!
So I would like to officially declare something once and for all:
I call Bullshit on the “random” searches
Random my ass, airlines. And let’s go ahead and throw foreign post offices into this collective “F you” as well. If you are going to search me because you think I look shady as shit, just say so. As it stands, you are simply insulting me with your lies.
And for the record, I’m a Cherokee Japanese American. Yep, that’s right, once upon a time a Cherokee Indian decided to procreate with a Japanese immigrant and thus the Ethnically Ambiguous Presidential Terrorist was born. So hate me for my tattoos and independence, and if you want to hate me for my race, you damn well better make sure you are hating on the right one.