Via the ACLU and the Boston Globe
, a first-hand account of how "security theater" makes us no safer, and a lot less free.
Massachussetts-based folk musician Vance Gilbert (Twitter), a law-abiding citizen who is black, 6 feet tall, and loves poodles, was harassed and humiliated on a flight out of Boston—apparently in part because he was reading book about old-time airplanes.
The TSA scanners and screeners had no problem with him. His problems began after he boarded his United Airlines flight, and appear to have been the work of the flight crew.
Here is his account, shared with the ACLU. He titled it "Racial Profiling First Hand," and signs the essay, "Flying While Black & Reading Antique Aviation Books." Snip:
Policeman: "Did you have a problem with your bag earlier?"
Me: "No sir, not at all. The flight attendant wanted it secured elsewhere other than behind my feet, and I opted to put it under the seat in front of me. It's my wallet, even though there's only 30 bucks in it…And all that was done without belligerence, or words for that matter…it was all good.
A few beats...
Policeman: "Sir, were you looking at a book of airplanes?"
Me: "Yes sir I was. I am a musician for money, but for fun I study old aircraft and build models of them, and the book I was reading was of Polish Aircraft from 1946."
Policeman: "Would you please go get that book so that i can see it?"
I go back onto the plane - all eyes are on me like I was a common criminal. Total humiliation part 2.
After a couple of minutes he says, "Why, this is all Snoopy Red Baron stuff..."
Me: "Yes sir, actually the triplane you see is Italian, from 1921 a little after World War 1..."
"Racial Profiling First Hand
" (boston.com, via @lizditz)
Vance Gilbert's music is pretty great. You can buy it and support the guy here.
The ACLU is pretty great, too, and you can support them here.
Related: this Boston Globe item, "Musician ‘humiliated’ on flight." James Fallows wrote about Gilbert's ordeal in The Atlantic.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
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