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Thread: Profiling

  1. #1
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
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    Profiling

    I have posted about this subject before... Profiling...

    An incident today (actually yesterday... Saturday) reminded me of this subject.


    I'm talking about "Profiling" regarding security procedures in airports. The term "Profiling" is usually used in reference to a person's race or appearance, but actually, true profiling goes deeper than that, or, at least, it should.


    Even as a lifelong travel professional, I don't have a problem with True profiling. That is, I don't have a problem with extra scrutiny of people who truly represent a potentially heightened threat, such as young solo travelers on short visits to potential "target" countries, or certain travelers using one-way tickets. Profiling potentially saves lives, although it is impossible to tell how many lives profiling saves, since any lives which profiling saves can never be identified. It's a part of our future that never happened, so to speak.

    Unfortunately, profiling remains a crude and inexact science, and not nearly enough attention and resources are devoted to it. I am constantly reminded of the consequences of profiling. I speak with clients, friends, and colleagues on a daily basis about it. My own brother... a tall, thin white guy from the southeastern USA... used to get pulled aside for "extra screening" almost every time that he went to the airport. Why? He was a single male, under 25 years old, traveling alone, with no checked baggage, who bought his airline ticket within 3 days of travel. Of COURSE he got pulled aside every single time that he traveled. That was a foregone conclusion. He never did listen to me about that, and so it continued to happen to him. He did like complaining to me about it, though.

    The reason that I'm thinking about this subject right now is because of two clients who flew in yesterday. These are two long-time clients of mine... A Black Guy and a Mexican Guy. They travel to Costa Rica together about twice each year. They're good friends, and they work together. They visit Costa Rica together to get away from the wives and get their freak on, if you know what I mean.

    Now... a few years ago... despite my best efforts... they would occasionally get pulled aside by security or CBP in the USA. But they don't get pulled aside any more. Why not? Because they now book their tickets together, and several weeks in advance of travel. But it's still a young black guy and a young Mexican guy traveling together. Why don't they get pulled aside? Quite simply... Because they're not Arabs. And the comments yesterday said it all...

    "Thank You, Osama!" they said. Of course they do. Who looks at black guys and Mexicans, now that Arabs are the demons?

  2. #2
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
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    I inadvertently got profiled once...

    I had two checked bags, and got to the bag claim before anyone else on my flight. My two checked bags were the first two bags on the bag claim, and I cheerfully grabbed them and secured them quickly with the straps that I had in hand, so that I had two rolling bags. I then headed towards the customs area. Unfortunately...

    There was a CBP agent waiting for me, right next to the bag claim...

    "Hi there! You must be some kind of professional flyer, to get your bags that quickly!"

    I thought, "Oh! Bugger Me! I'm an Idiot!"

    Then I said, "Well, yeah. I'm a frequent flyer with United. I get my bags first all the time."

    He said, "I see. Come with me, please, sir."

    That was a long time ago. Since then, I have learned to look a lot less efficient, and to hold up the line a lot more. I am an inept traveler who creates chaos at the bag claim... "Oops! I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get in your way, there." It works. I never get pulled by CBP any more.

  3. #3
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
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    I've been pulled in Panama twice for being the first person at Immigration. Nowadays, I make sure that I'm number 3 or 4 at Immigration, and I make a big deal out of pulling my Passport out of my Passport wallet... "Oops! I'm sorry. I should have had my Passport ready for you. I'm such an idiot."

    This tactic works very well in Japan, China, and the rest of Southeast Asia. Their Immigration Guys love to "Lord it Over" the "Stupid Americans" who don't have their Passports ready. So... Don't have your Passport ready. They'll say, "Sir! You really should have your Passport ready for inspection Before you approach Immigration!" At which point you say, "Oh! I'm So Sorry, Sir! I will certainly have my Passport ready the next time that I approach Immigration!"

    Clueless Tourist = No Secondary Inspection. Look Stupid... Breeze through Immigration and Customs!

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