The Great Equalizer

at 11:35 PM

I've never been trifled with at the airport, and I love it. I feel almost American shuffling through the lines and dodging passersby on my way to a flight. As a black man with dreadlocks (post-Afro), I blend in at the airport. In any other situation on the streets of Oakland or San Francisco, I would be the hunted one. The other.

In the airport, I'm a native-born, God and country-loving patriot compared to potential stereotypical terrorist-looking cats.

The outcry over profiling in airports and intrusive body scans and pat downs are coming from folks that are used to thinking of themselves as protected people in America.

Those of us on the other side of that paradigm -- the ones least-protected and least-trusted on the streets of this country -- might think that the airport is the great equalizer in America. The one place where everyone is suspect. And people like me are a little further down on the list of the most suspect behind Arabs, those-that-look-Arab or dress in Arab-looking outfits, Mexicans, Africans from Muslim countries, South Asians and maybe white boys with Muslim names.

Welcome to our world, everyone who has no problem with racial profiling on the streets. The treatment everyone is receiving at the airport is what many African-Americans and Latinos have to face in our own neighborhoods. Before New York Governor Patterson signed legislation banning the "Stop and Frisk" practice, 500,000 people were stopped and frisked by the NYPD, 87 percent of them being black or Latino.

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My slave name, my born-in-the-USA tone of brown skin and my Bay Area native accented Ebonic English allow me to slide through SFO. Kevin Weston is one of you now. An American. Finally.

With a Perspective, I'm Kevin Weston.

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