We arrived at the airport at about 3:30am. Zach had discovered that we could look online and see the wait times at the different security gates. We scurried to the south side of security since the wait was listed at 6 minutes which is the absolute fastest I have ever been through but to be fair, I don’t think I have ever been through security at 3:30 am.
When we got there, they were just closing it down. I put my backpack though and stepped towards the scanner when a woman from the other side yelled “STOP”. I did and she yelled something at me. She was nearly 20 feet away on the other side of all the scanner machines and I couldn’t hardly see her.
I put my hand to my ear to show her that I couldn’t understand what she was saying. “Take off your scarf!” She yelled. She looked as if she was about to draw a gun. I took it off and literally put my hands in the air. “Put it in the machine!” She yelled again.
I looked down and both of the conveyor belts were turned off and trays were propped up over the front blocking the machines. An Indian security guard that was only 8 feet away motioned for me to come forward thru the body scanner. I tried to hand him my scarf and he barked “put it in the machine”. “It’s closed” I said. When I tried to hand it to him he held his hands high in the air, refusing to touch it .
Finally, attracted by all the yelling, a younger white dude on my side of the scanners figured out what was going on and took my scarf (with his hands no less!) and put it with my backpack. By that time, the body scanner was also closed so I just walked thru the metal detector.
That must be similar to what it feels like to walk around the US as a black man. Just trying to follow the rules but seen as an imminent threat. It was truly traumatic. She was yelling and had her hand on her gun. Zach had already gone through so I was alone. The only answer in a situation like that was to shrink and get really meek. I didn’t have time to regroup. The airport was loud and bright and overwhelming.