So... I was at a local fast food place when I saw two young African-American couples, their children, and a couple other African-American adults sitting waiting for their meals to arrive. I was seated nearby and just so happened to hear them discussing something, where would a "good" place in town be for them to go "enjoy" the day in such nice weather.
Obviously I was distraught. Blacks would only possibly "enjoy" dealing/using drugs or involvement in some kind of crime! I went to the counter and immediately flagged down the manager, "oh my! You have got to get the cops down here, those.. people over there are planning something bad!" I said. Of course, with crime rates going up in town the manager ran to the phone and the police arrived soon thereafter.
The police questioned them and decided there was nothing wrong and assured everyone that there was a mistake and everything was alright. Just before the police left they went to the counter wondering if they could get their food, the manager informed them that the fast food restaurant no longer would allow them to purchase food there and they could go elsewhere. Even after the police spoke to the person at the counter, still the black family & friends couldn't get their food and were asked to leave.
Great Story right... I mean that makes me sound like a racist. It makes the fast food place and its manager sound damn near crazy and racist as well. Also, it just isn't rational. Although I'm sure that sort of thing does occur, that story is not true I just wanted to illustrate a point.
My point here was that when a US-born but foreign-looking (six Pakistani, two Turkish, one black) group of Muslims got booted off a plane because they were overheard looking for the "safest" place to sit on the plane. AirTran has a policy that you get to choose your seat essentially and on their way to the back of the plane the two males were heard discussing how they wouldn't like to sit near the engines because if there was an accident it wouldn't be safe. Not exactly the kind of talk you'd expect to hear from hardened terrorists but they got thrown off the plane, interviewed by the FBI, then for several hours not allowed to fly to their destination or home... by AirTran, even when FBI agents spoke to attendants at the counter on the family's behalf telling them that the family was cleared to fly and there was nothing to fear.
Really sad. If this were a story about a bunch of guys joking about killing people or committing terrorist acts, I'd say these folks are dumb... but they still should have been allowed to fly thereafter. This family group however was doing no such thing and the FBI understood that but still AirTran balked for hours about either refunding tickets or giving them a later flight. Despicable. I'm no bleeding heart but when people are treated completely different in our paranoid society just for looking different it really cooks me inside. If it can happen to them today.. it can happen to you tomorrow.