Fighting the other terror
Frontier Airlines suit puts spotlight on racial profiling
By Curt Guyette
Published: January 30, 2013
Though entirely composed, Shoshana Hebshi seemed just a bit nervous as she faced a clutch of reporters gathered for a news conference at the Michigan ACLU headquarters in Detroit last week.
Itís understandable that someone unused to staring into microphones and television cameras might be a little tense ó especially when, as she claims, you are talking about something as terrifying and degrading as being hauled off an airplane at gunpoint at Metro Airport, thrown into a jail cell without explanation, and then forced to strip naked and told to bend over and cough.
Because, she claims, of her foreign-sounding name and her dark skin. Because, on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, she was sitting on a Frontier Airlines flight next to a pair of men of South Asian descent. Two men who some on board thought were possibly Arab and seemed to be acting suspiciously, spending too much time in the restroom. Because there are times in America when fear of those who even appear to be foreign can trump the Constitution and the protections it is supposed to guarantee.
It didnít matter that Hebshi, who lives in Sylvania, Ohio, is a solid American citizen.
The daughter of a Saudi man and Jewish woman, she was born in California and studied journalism at the California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, and attended Iowa State University as a graduate student. ..................(more)