The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

3 November 2002

Sometimes I could just screen

Canadian author Rohinton Mistry has cut short his book tour and gone home, complaining about racial profiling at American airports. Alfred A. Knopf, Mistry's publisher in the US, issued the following memorandum:

As a person of colour he was stopped repeatedly and rudely at each airport along the way — to the point where the humiliation of both he and his wife has become unbearable.

Cato the Youngest comments:

Obviously, we need to start hiring more literature majors as airport security guards, because the only way to have known Mr. Mistry was not a terrorist, without searching him, was for the guards to have recognized him. Yes, we need more literate airport security guards, that's the ticket.

Mr. Mistry was born in India and has no ties of any sort to Islam.

For some lit majors, working as an airport screener might mean a substantial boost in pay. And Cato's quite-reasonable bottom line is this:

[I]t is unfortunate that law-abiding people such as Mr. Mistry are subjected to extra scrutiny at airports. It is unfortunate that we need any security at airports. Unfortunately, we do, and I would rather see screeners offend ethnic Middle Easterners and Indians than waste their time on 80 year old French grandmothers and elderly US Congressmen.

There's simply no way to do this with any degree of effectiveness without offending someone, a situation that likely applies just as well to blogging as it does to airport security.

Posted at 12:07 PM to Your 15 Minutes Are Up


"Humiliation of both he and his wife"?

Let me guess: Knopf, to save money for parent company Random House, has turned over all grammar-checking duties to a Borzoi.

Posted by: CGHill at 12:11 PM on 3 November 2002