I think I might be discriminated against - what can I do?

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  1. melbel profile image95
    melbelposted 12 years ago

    Every time any of my family members go to Canada, our car gets fully searched and we're put in holding. (This has happened four times, but only upon entering Canada.)

    Every time we're on a domestic flight, our luggage is ALWAYS searched. round trip flights means the luggage is searched twice. I'm not talking about carry-on luggage either, I'm talking the stowaway luggage. One time, the TSA misplaced and then mailed me my luggage. I'm always picked out for additional scanning and questions.

    The only thing I am think is that my last name is very similar to a middle eastern last name. I'm not middle eastern, but even if I were, I would still think I'm being unfairly targeted. My friends, who are middle eastern, don't get put in holding or questioned, but their checked luggage is always checked. They said that most of their problems occur from other passengers on planes making complaints or staring at them. One of my friends, who is half middle eastern and half native american got told to go back where she came from. She responded, "I'm Native American. YOU go back to where you came from." Lol.

    I don't do anything illegal other than sometimes driving a little too fast and, okay, I used Napster when it was cool. The rest of my family is really straight-edge. We don't even really drink.

    I just find it kind of strange, though, that the Canadian authorities would search me on an International trip, but the Americans don't upon my return. However flights within the US, I'm always being searched.

    Is there anything I can do? What are your thoughts?

    1. MelissaBarrett profile image59
      MelissaBarrettposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I used to make trips both by car and plane to Canada pretty regularly.  Same thing happened to me (which leads to an embarrassing story involving bungee cords and candles that we wont get into) almost every time.  All my official paperwork and such has my maiden name (which is about as UN-middle eastern as you can get) and I certainly would have to be the palest jihadist in the world.

    2. profile image49
      Jesus was a hippoposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      You're probably just gonna have to put up with it. I'm sure this is much better then having a security system that didnt bother checking anyone.

      Ok you may be targeted because of your name but if all terrorists have names like yours, then it makes sense to focus attention on people with names like yours.

      Just imagine if all terrorists dressed themselves like buddhist monks. Wouldnt you search every buddhist monk that came into your airport?

      1. melbel profile image95
        melbelposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        That's profiling. I don't think I should have to put up with it just because my name is Middle Eastern-ish. I'm just sick of being put into holding, going through extra security lines, receiving luggage days after getting off a flight, and being questioned.

        My family (on my dad's side) been in America since the 1860s and my mom's family since the 1600s and even still, during WWII, my dad's family was forced to register into something because their last name was German sounding!

        We're Polish and can't help it that our name was changed when our family came to America! It's unfair for us to be continually be added to "lists" because of a name that's not even really ours! Even so, I don't think a person who really is middle eastern should be suspected as a terrorist because of their race.

        1. profile image49
          Jesus was a hippoposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Maybe not, but it is logical to do so. For example, if you noticed that out of your shopping, a certain product that was supposed to contain 10 items, more often than not only contained 8, you would check that particular product more often wouldnt you?

          It is unfortunate that you have to put up with it, but at least you know that security are doing their job to help protect you from someone who wants to kill others.

          You know, it could just be that you just look suspicious smile

  2. melbel profile image95
    melbelposted 12 years ago

    Lol, it's at the point where I don't even fold my clothes when I pack them because I know they won't be folded when I receive my luggage.

    1. MelissaBarrett profile image59
      MelissaBarrettposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I can beat that *grins* on the same trip as the bungee cord and candles thing, the border guards actually pulled my..erm...personal massager from my bag, screwed off the bottom and emptied the batteries. With those three items laying out ON THE TRUNK LID of my car, the border guard actually then asked me what the reason I was visiting Canada was.

      I was very tired (it was 7 hours into a 9 hour drive and I had just driven through Buffalo during rush hour) so I decided to go with blunt to save time and reduce the chances of being mistaken for a terrorist...  I told him "To get laid".

      Try it sometime.  I was out of there 5 minutes later.

      1. melbel profile image95
        melbelposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        OMG! That's hilarious! I was with a group of friends and, well, they always ask you "Why are you coming to Canada?" And they don't take "We thought it would be cool, something different" for an answer. They're always like, "Why don't you go to Wisconsin or Ohio" or something like that. So my friends and I were like, "We need to come up with a reason, something good so they don't give us trouble." So one of the girls we were with looked in our Toronto guidebook and saw that something called... I don't remember... some festival was going on so we said to the border patrol that we're really looking forward to this festival, blah blah. So we get MEGA searched, holding for all of us and they seriously like take the car apart.

        We get to Toronto and from our hotel we could see the festival... pot leaf designs EVERYWHERE... on flags, blankets, tshirts. Great choice... pick THAT festival!

        1. MelissaBarrett profile image59
          MelissaBarrettposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          LOL, nice one!  Did they bring the dogs out on you?

          The one that always works for me (now that I'm used to it) is "I'm going to Kensington market to go shopping".  I believe it's closed in the winter, but next time you are in Toronto you HAVE to go there.  Saying you are going to the CN tower would probably work too. (unless there is a current bomb threat going on, then you are truly screwed)

  3. CASE1WORKER profile image61
    CASE1WORKERposted 12 years ago

    At least you didnt have my embarassing husband with you.

    On our way to France via the ferry we are pulled in.
    Can we look in your car?
    It is a Ford Galaxy packed full of people and cases with three cycles strapped to the back
    Husband - "if you really want to"
    Official- "No"
    Official- "empty your pockets"
    Husband produces- knuckle duster ( he uses it to hold his cards down at poker) then he produces lethal knife-( used it to tie the bikes on to the car and left it there.)
    At this point I thought  "that's it"
    Official looks at me with a sympathetic smile and says "have a nice holiday"
    Mind you we were going out of the country. Needless to say they were not in his pockets on the return.

  4. recommend1 profile image60
    recommend1posted 12 years ago

    You both look so criminal is the problem !!! big_smile

    I never get stopped and frequently walk through security barriers without anybody stopping me.  I put it down to the fact that I believe I have the right to do anything I like, look at anything I want etc etc, and because there is no question in my mind there appears no question in theirs.

    1. ShawnB2011 profile image60
      ShawnB2011posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Lol, probably nothing more than a bunch of dudes thinking your hot or something so they would "check" your luggage in hopes to "check" you out more. lol

    2. Wesman Todd Shaw profile image82
      Wesman Todd Shawposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      That bit really works too.  I do it sometimes.

  5. LoriSoard profile image64
    LoriSoardposted 12 years ago

    I sort of wonder if maybe your name is similar to someone they have on one of their lists of suspected terrorists. That might explain why they always search your luggage and car. It may just send up a red flag for them. Then again, my last name is "Soard" and I am blue-eyed and pale and I got frisked last time I went through security. They actually felt my hair like I might be hiding something in there. LOL It may just be a coincidence. Sorry you're feeling targeted, though. I hope whatever it is that it ends.

  6. melbel profile image95
    melbelposted 12 years ago

    Yeah, but I have no criminal history, not even a speeding ticket, and I can't think of any reason I would look suspicious. No one in my family has ever been arrested for anything. Heck, my brother was a police officer! Not that a police officer is necessarily a good person or anything, but it should have SOME merit in the eyes of the TSA if I AM on such a list. My dad works for the government and my mom is a contractor for the government. Not saying that, for this, I should receive special treatment, but I shouldn't be subject to a full search every time I board a plane.

    Maybe we're on the list because we seem "too normal" lol!

  7. thebigbagblog profile image60
    thebigbagblogposted 12 years ago

    My guess it has less to do about profiling your race, and more to do with a previous trip to a pot festival! lol I think you are being looked at as a drug smuggler! lol


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