The delicacy of the UK airport security

So here’s the story: it begins with an iPad and ends with lacy knickers with a flowery print. (I trust this is not too risque for philosophers.)

Heathrow has been inconsistent about iPads. I’ve taken one through concealed in carry on luggage about 4 times, and nary a word. But this spring it all changed. I was stopped and put in a line where one gets to watch the fate that awaits you.

At the same time, you may want to know that I didn’t have a direct flight and half expecting my luggage to get lost, I put a change of some basics in the carry on.

Now, what they do when your bag is seen as suspicious is to have you stand by it while they locate the most obvious offending object. In this case, the iPad. They take it out and send the bag back through the scanners. This is not enough, though. They then go through the bag, removing all items and, holding each up for all to see, and drop it in a container. The woman before me was in tears. I was pretty sure the items I had were very innocent, so I wasn’t worried as each was displayed before all those waiting. Then I was handed the bag and told to fill it. But it obviously had one more thing left in it. One thing that had not been displayed for the amusement of the audience. And that was – you guessed it – a pair of lacy, flowery knickers!

(Could it have been that they thought knickers for grandmother type are just too disgusting to display. That’s just occurred to me. O dear! Anyway, do know that we have today possibly identified two terrorist tools in the posts on airports: garlic and old ladies’ knicker, even if lacy and flowery.)

How do we know?

A couple of weeks ago I posted a claim by a muslim man that his 4 hour detention at Miami airport was racist. That claim was challenged. How could I know his account was right? Well, I still don’t have more evidence for that case, but there is new evidence of racial profiling in another part of the TSA (see below). To many of us, this will be no surprise.

Here’s a tentatve Account of how and what we know: whether or not we’ve read up on the theory, many women in philosophy are all too familiar with the operations of implicit bias in people with power. We have a practical expertise at spotting its operation.

How to turn this into an argument that could support interpretations is something I am thinking about. Maybe someone could help?

The new news about the TSA in Boston:

BOSTON — More than 30 federal officers in an airport program intended to spot telltale mannerisms of potential terrorists say the operation has become a magnet for racial profiling, targeting not only Middle Easterners but also blacks, Hispanics and other minorities.

In interviews and internal complaints, officers from the Transportation Security Administration’s “behavior detection” program at Logan International Airport in Boston asserted that passengers who fit certain profiles — Hispanics traveling to Miami, for instance, or blacks wearing baseball caps backward — are much more likely to be stopped, searched and questioned for “suspicious” behavior.

“They just pull aside anyone who they don’t like the way they look — if they are black and have expensive clothes or jewelry, or if they are Hispanic,” said one white officer, who along with four others spoke with The New York Times on the condition of anonymity.

The T.S.A. said on Friday that it had opened an investigation into the claims.