TSA To End ‘Hair Checks’



Dear black women with natural hair, “good news” awaits you (side eye).

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has agreed to stop singling out women for screening based solely on their hairstyles. For years, several black women who wear their hair in its natural form have been repeatedly subjected to unfair targeting by airport security.

Raw Story reports that the decision comes after several complaints, one filed by the ACLU about the practice. The agency agreed to conduct a series of anti-discrimination training sessions with its staff to avoid what they called “racial profiling of hair.”

“The first time I was on a trip with colleagues, some other attorneys who were white and Latina,” said Novella Coleman, the ACLU lawyer who filed the complaint. “The woman said, ‘I need to search your hair now,’ and she just started grabbing my hair and squeezing it from top to bottom.”

Her white and Latina colleagues did not undergo such searches.

Coleman said one officer told her that all passengers with hair extensions were searched, but Coleman wasn’t wearing extensions. Another officer said people are searched if they possess “abnormalities” in their hair, she said.

A spokesman for TSA had no immediate comment. The type of training planned by the agency for its staff also remains unclear.

It’s a shame that such an offensive practice has to be spelled out. The fact that this is new speaks volumes about how far we still have to go when it comes to race relations in America. Hopefully biases go out of style like the Jheri curl.