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hp blogger Simran Jeet Singh's Comments

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Touching Turbans and Airport Security

Touching Turbans and Airport Security

Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 14:59:48 in Religion

“Thank you for all your comments. You all are right to point out that I should have been more clear about standard policies in airport security checkpoints.

In addition to the usual screening (which one would expect to see right through the turban, just like any other article of clothing), I am usually asked by the officer to undergo additional screening. I stand in plain view of all other passengers while an officer waves a metal detecting wand over my turban. I am then given the option to pat down my own turban and have my hands swabbed to check for chemical or explosive residue. While this is embarrassing in and of itself, it is not nearly as upsetting as to have someone else touch my turban.

With a bit of cultural awareness and sensitivity, I believe I could be treated with much more respect. I am not asking for a free pass, nor do I expect one. I am simply asking for us to develop policies that are less alienating and offensive.”

LintLass on Feb 19, 2013 at 19:38:25

“I'm generally pretty sympathetic to Sikh concerns about stuff like this, though as security issues go, I think one really could pack a lot of dangerous stuff into a turban. (Hence, doubtless, the residue tests) There's litlle sense in me describing what I know of stuff like like this, but I can think of a fair bit of mischief a bad guy could use that for.

There's got to be a technical solution for the cultural sensitivity issues, but such things are always a race between detection and evading detection. A lot of the new detectors that could cope better have the problem of creating modesty issues all around. It's not just about explosives, either: as someone who used to have the archetypal Siouxsie hair once upon a time, I know you can hide a lot of stuff in there. Not that they'll be finding any missing paintbrushes in there *these* days, but as a white gal, I've had a head-pat down at some point along the way. It's still kind of a lot of hair, I guess, just not as cool. :)

Still, I sympathize: for Pagans, any TSA troubles are usually just if someone objects to the *symbolism* of say a piece of jewelry, not any particular obligatory garb being a source of screening issues.”
huffingtonpost entry

Including Ourselves: A Lesson From an Elevator-Ride

Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 15:00:25 in Religion

“Thanks for your question. In my experiences, most parents don't actually know about the turban. It's nothing malicious or hateful when they don't explain it to their children. Instead, it's a simple lack of awareness.

I also find that there's a sense of discomfort in talking about religion publicly in modern America. It's become such a polarizing issue that people don't want to say something wrong because they don't want to offend anyone.

In my opinion, it's all well-intentioned. However, true strengthening requires a lot more thoughtful and constructive communication. That's why I love when people ask me questions. It's so much better than when people assume or ignore!”

victowrites on Jul 10, 2012 at 01:01:14

“Hi, thanks for the article, its just so touching. I would really like to know: Say that in the same situation, I would tell my boy "not sure, love, why don't you ask the gentleman about it?" I to tend to do this, but I am always scared to actually offend the person in question. Children are naturally curious, and they feel very proud when they get an answer (and they usually do not forget it... whereas whatever I say does not linger in their head more than a minute)

Also, not sure if this is a good suggestion, but when I see children that are just too polite to ask about somethind that really interest them, I make it easier for them (I was carring a sword the other day) "Do you like it? its a sword! I use it for sports!" , but I do not live in NY, so not sure what the social code is. :D”

Secondbecky on Jul 6, 2012 at 15:11:56

“Interesting.  I'm here in NY as well and it just doesn't occur to me that people aren't exposed to the diversity as we are.
 
I find it sad that we don't discuss religion in public more often.  I also  find it sad that most of the comments in the religious section of HuffPo are along the lines of "you are dumb because you believe in God." ”