Racial Profiling in Security Systems – by Kylee Boone

Growing up, I never realized the privilege that I inherently had due to the color of my skin. I was aware that we were all unique, but never thought twice about it due to the bubble that was my home town. I had and to this day still have many friends from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. One in particular is my friend Naveed who I consider one of my closest friends since childhood.

Naveed comes from a Muslim family and his parents were both born and grew up in the middle east. We have hung out with each other a countless amount of times throughout the years ever since the third grade and have grown closer as we get older. We are obviously both of a different skin color, but I had never witnessed me being treated differently from him, likely due to the very privileged town that we live in Middle Tennessee. That all changed when we went on a vacation one summer to a music festival with a group of our friends. 

This group was eight people we have known since high school who all come from an American background and family. With Naveed being the only one who is not American, I was aware that it was a possibility he could be viewed differently than me, but never expected to really see any racial profiling happen since I never had experienced it first hand before. What I witnessed during this music festival forever opened my eyes to the problem we have in this country on racial profiling and stereotyping people of different races. 

To enter this concert it was required that you check in through security. The security was not strict whatsoever and I could blatantly see people bringing in stuff that were not permitted. Security continuously would turn a blind eye to this and pretend like they were not noticing anything, but we noticed that they were treating our friend Naveed in a very different way. We were on this trip for four days and he was pulled aside and checked in a separate security area each of the four days all because the security guards said he looked “suspicious”. From what I saw, the security guards never pulled anyone else aside other than my friend and the only thing separating Naveed from the rest of our friends was simply the color of his skin. They were continuously rude or hostile to him and made it very clear that he was being treated differently than the rest of the group I was with and everyone else who was attending this festival. 

There must be a change in our nation’s security systems in regards to these social events because racial profiling is an issue that is happening much more often than it ever should be. Such vague policies such as pulling aside people because “they look suspicious” leaves way too much room for racial biases and mistreatment based off the color of their skin. Since Naveed was middle eastern, he was labeled as a potential terrorist and this is not okay. It is turning a blind eye to the real threats by focusing the attention on race. I believe policies should be in place that you can only search someone if you have probable cause or if it is by random selection to ensure that no racial biases or profiling is occurring during these security checks. So many people believe that racism is not an issue anymore, but underestimate the power that subconscious biases have in the lives of people of color all across the nation. 

Kylee Boone
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