American Airlines Flight Grounded After Passengers Complain About Men Speaking Arabic

According to the Associated Press, an American Airlines flight was grounded after passengers complained about 6 men who were speaking Arabic. The men had been hired by a company called Defense Training Systems to train Marines at Camp Pendleton.

American Airlines spokesperson Tim Wagner said that local law enforcement was called in to question the men but the TSA did not get involved. He also said that passenger traveling with two small children got into an argument with the men, but declined to say what it was about.

[Dave Stephens from Defense Training Systems] said some passengers complained after hearing the men speak in Arabic, but he declined to elaborate.

“I wish I could say more because I have personal feelings but this is what I’m allowed to say,” he said.

The plane returned to the terminal at 11:26 p.m. and was held overnight because of an 11:30 p.m. curfew at Lindbergh Field. The were 126 passengers booked on the flight.

The flight left San Diego Wednesday morning and arrived in Chicago in the afternoon.

People, let’s try to behave ourselves on the airplane? Shall we?

Plane bound for Chicago held after dispute involving Arabic-speaking men [Chicago Tribune]
(Photo:Kurmbox)

Comments

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  1. Ben Popken says:

    Methinks there is much more to this story.

  2. Hoss says:

    Chicago Tribune: Is “complaints” same as “concerns”?

  3. Youthier says:

    AA probably handled this as best they could, particularly if a passenger started a “dispute” with the Arabic men and then probably started getting other passengers riled up. San Diego to Chicago is a long flight to risk having passengers fighting even if this incident is all based on ignorance.

  4. kittikin says:

    That’s right, America. Everyone who speaks Arabic is a terrorist. Good going!

  5. enm4r says:

    @Hossofcourse: It’s a complaint if it’s just hearing the other language. There is nothing within reason that should concern anyone about simply hearing arabic spoken.

  6. @Ben Popken: There’s gotta be. I’m dying to find out what the argument was about.


    The men had been hired by a company called Defense Training Systems to train Marines at Camp Pendleton.
    I wonder if that will matter or if someone will still claim that they were only speaking Arabic to cause trouble like in the other posts about similar incidents.

  7. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    being scared of arabic people is sooooo 2002

    now I just fear clowns and anyone running for President (wait, same thing?)

  8. nweaver says:

    Especially those who speak arabic and who are helping to train the US marines in Iraq…

  9. not_seth_brundle says:

    I’m sure all the business travelers on that flight were THRILLED with the mommy or daddy traveler who were in the argument.

  10. @Hossofcourse: The airline probably considers anything that the passengers come to their crew with a complaint. For them what would be the difference between a concern and a complaint?

  11. scoobydoo says:

    Silly passengers. We all know only to complain when we see sub prime mortgage meltdowns on the flight.

  12. RottNDude says:

    This is ridiculously old news, folks.

  13. Red_Eye says:

    Umm its my understanding that these people were working for the marines with injured soldiers. Good job with the profiling there. And just how is acting like an a$$hat working out for you? Have a nice wait….

  14. spinachdip says:

    @RottNDude:

    The Associated Press
    August 30, 2007

    Shit, I know the news cycle is getting shorter and shorter, but an article published today about a story that happened late Tuesday/early Wednesday is not just old, but “ridiculously old”?

  15. spinachdip says:

    @not_seth_brundle: Here we go blaming the victim again.

    I keed, I keed.

  16. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    Seems to me we don’t have all the details. What provoked the fight? Someone with the mindset who would complain that the passengers were speaking Arabic and the flight should stop probably isn’t smart enough to know they were speaking Arabic or Chinese. And someone who could actually figure out they were speaking Arabic is probably worldly enough not to assume they want to blow up the plane. I find it hard to believe AA would stop a flight because one passenger told a flight attendant someone was speaking in some ‘furrin language.

  17. acambras says:

    Maybe the Arabic conversation, translated into English was really this:

    “Damn, I wish those parents would make their howler monkeys shut the hell up!”

    “God, I know! Don’t they get it? It’s called Baby Benadryl!”

  18. humorbot says:

    Thank God. Now we know how to de-plane next time your flight get stuck on the tarmac for 6 hours. Little racial profiling sends ya right back to the jetway.

  19. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    The Consumerist “Shoppers Fight Back”. What does this article have to do with being a consumer? Or is it because a consumer on AA literally fought back?

  20. Toof_75_75 says:

    @Ben Popken:

    I have to agree…there seems like a huge back story that no one is at liberty to talk about yet. If these guys were working for the government, couldn’t they just have proved that? Weird story; looking forward to the whole of it.

  21. humorbot says:

    @stanfrombrooklyn:

    I find it hard to believe AA would stop a flight because one passenger told a flight attendant someone was speaking in some ‘furrin language.

    Well I dunno. Regrettably I don’t have the links to prove it, but this is not the first time this has happened. And I’m not just referring to all the fear-mongering in the air immediately post-9/11.

  22. Buran says:

    Meg… it’s ridiculous to hint that speaking one’s own native language is “misbehavior”. That is much as I hate to use the word, racism and discrimination.

    I thought we moved past such things decades ago. At least in public, polite company.

  23. Buran says:

    @stanfrombrooklyn: I now have a third category of annoyance:

    1. “Get a credit union” people who think that’s the answer to any financial problem;

    2. “Blame the victim” people who think that someone must have done something wrong to have gotten screwed by profit-minded megacorps;

    3. “I don’t think this should be posted on this site even though it’s not my site and not my choice” whiners.

  24. warf0x0r says:

    @kittikin:
    10 START SARCASM
    20 WRITE: In America we speak American, DERP!!!
    30 END SARCASM

  25. thepounder says:

    @Toof_75_75: If they work in pretty well any capacity for the US Gov’t, they’d have some form of Gov’t ID. I work as a Gov’t contractor and have always had a Gov’t ID… So I wholly agree, there has to be a lot more to this that’s not being said yet.

    And I know Army Soldiers who sit around speaking Arabic… because they’re linguists. Oh, the joys of profiling.

  26. TPIRman says:

    Not only do I concur with Ben’s sentiment that there must be a lot more to this story, but it feels like the Arabic aspect of things may not even be the central point in the actual dispute — feels more like the reporter played it up because it touches a nerve and s/he couldn’t get the rest of the details.

    @Buran: Meg was pretty clearly referring to the complaining/arguing passengers when she said “let’s try to behave ourselves,” so let’s rein in the accusations of racism.

  27. Heyref says:

    Imagine if they’d been speaking French. The Horror!

  28. TPIRman says:

    @Buran: (Re: annoying commenters) On the other hand, I wholeheartedly agree with this comment. What’s especially perplexing in this case is that a mere one minute earlier, stanfrombrooklyn found this post interesting enough to post a substantial comment on it. Yet at 12:56, the story magically became unworthy.

  29. @stanfrombrooklyn: I believe the “Unruly Passengers” tag can be considered a subset of the “Bad Consumers” posts.

    This sort of thing is a consumer concern because:

    1) It affects the ability of anyone who looks Middle Eastern to fly anywhere

    2) It affects the ability of anyone on a plane with someone who looks Middle Eastern to get where they’re going

    3) It keeps happening


    @Buran: I think Meg was referring to the people complaining about the men speaking Arabic. Or at least the passenger who got into a fight with them.

  30. laddibugg says:

    @thepounder:

    Would they have had Gov’t id if they hadn’t started working yet?

  31. not_seth_brundle says:

    Plus, would they be issued government IDs if they were working for a private government contractor?

    BTW, there’s a press release on the front page of [www.defensetrainingsystems.com]

  32. DjDynasty says:

    Heck, Anytime I go threw security, I’m wearing Prada Flip Flops, No Socks, And I keep walking for the most part. if they get rude or try to stop me, I tell them I’m a white American with Canadian Citizenship. If they touch me one more time I’ll scream rape.

  33. nctrnlboy says:

    cmon! who WOULDNT get a little nervous/wary about 6 arabs on YOUR flight these days? Speaking a foreign language just adds to the problem.

    Yeah, I know I am gonna get blasted for this comment, but you’d think arabs would realize that bringing attention to themselves aboard a US flight is going to end badly. Its like walking into a bank with a hat pulled low, sunglasses on & a gun-shaped bulge in your pocket. You are just asking for trouble!

  34. Erskine says:

    @not_seth_brundle:

    Speaking as a private government contractor, the answer is “no, they wouldn’t.”

  35. Erskine says:

    @nctrnlboy: “BLAST!!!”

    Moran

  36. thepounder says:

    @laddibugg: I suppose that’d depend on the company and/or the company’s interface with the Gov’t. (some are just much more “in bed” with the Gov’t than others)
    I work with a smaller contract company and I waited to get my ID… But I’ve known people with bigger (read: huge like KBR or CACI) companies and it seemed to me they had their Gov’t ID’s well before I would’ve been able to get mine…

    Now I’d personally assume that if they had just accepted their job offers and were heading to Pendleton to begin their jobs then, no, they’d have no form of Gov’t ID at that point. They’d possibly have some form of company Offer Letter though, but that’s not ID per se. If they did have Gov’t ID at that point I’d think something fishy was up. (no profiling, it’s just that Gov’t ID’s are typically treated as “sensitive items” and they’re quite difficult to get unless you really do have the right paperwork to get one)

    All this makes me really really wonder what the whole story is here.

  37. royal72 says:

    what did the german neo nazi say to the irish republican army member in first class?

    “yah i agree wiss you, itz a good sing vee are vhite.”

  38. revmatty says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: I’m still a bit stunned that people think that a group of people speaking their native language is done for the express purpose of aggravating people. By that same logic if I go to France and speak English they should view that as a hostile act and treat me accordingly. Idiots.

  39. Youthier says:

    @nctrnlboy: They can be nervous, I’m not going to stop them. However, they probably shouldn’t start a dispute serious enough to keep a flight from leaving.

    Let’s say you’re a woman walking through a dark parking garage at night and there’s a man walking in the same general direction. Obviously, women have been raped and killed in this situation before so I wouldn’t blame her for being nervous and wary in the situation. However, I would blame her if she picked up a heavy, blunt object and knocked him out just because there’s a precedent.

  40. hubris says:

    @nctrnlboy: Seriously. And all those black people who went around with their skin all hanging out and stuff 50 years ago…they were *totally* asking for anything they got.

    You, sir, are an idiot.

  41. Youthier says:

    Here’s the article from the Sun Times. Little different take.

  42. thepounder says:

    @Erskine: I work for a private contractor and have a Gov’t issued ID, even when I’m not deployed. It’s because of where I work though.
    I’d assume that these guys on the airplane would’ve gotten Gov’t ID’s at some point, assuming they’d actually be working on Camp Pendleton.

    But yeah, there’s lots of weird Gov’t rules about ID’s and such… it seems like the same rule is never applied twice sometimes…

  43. nctrnlboy says:

    @omerhi:

    I think there is a bit of a difference between outright acceptable racism that happened 50+ years ago & the current high awareness/sensitivity to the REAL possibility of middleastern highjackers on a US flight. Add in the fact that it was a group (speaking arabic) of 6 of them & an altercation ON the plane…. what do you expect? Just being midleeastern isnt reason for suspicion…. a group of them speaking arabic ramps it up a bit though (throw in an altercation & the level gets even higher).

  44. bedofnails says:

    It’s interesting to read these comments, and not wonder if every single one of you, would not at least do a double take or raise an eyebrow seeing 6 Iraqi men (middle-eastern) waiting in line for your flight, speaking a language unknown to you. I’m not incinuating anything, but rather pointing out how every American’s mind works post September 11, 2001.


    Where the story doesn’t make sense/jive – if they are liaisons to the US government and US soldiers they obviously all know English, (unless our military is just plucking any Iraqi residing in the US to elaborate on their former culture) why raise irrational unjustified fears for no reason? Would speaking English have prevented this? Maybe not. But, my point is that the story isn’t all jiving.

  45. spinachdip says:

    @nctrnlboy: Lesson learned then – if you’re middle eastern (or even if you’re not and simply could pass for middle eastern), split into pairs and travel separately. Problem resolved.

  46. alhypo says:

    “People, let’s try to behave ourselves on the airplane? Shall we?”

    I’m assuming you are referring to the people who made the complaint, not the Arabic-speaking folks. Or perhaps you mean both parties as they did engage in some sort of argument. I’m just saying, someone new to this site could interpret your comment any one of these ways.

  47. bedofnails says:

    @spinachdip:

    Yes.

  48. GuruSteve says:

    I’m sorry, but in today’s day and age, six Arab men having a lively conversation in Arabic is going to make people nervous. You can either, A. Ban all Arabs from riding in groups greater than 3 on planes, or B. Deal with occasional incidents like this one. You are not going to change whether people get nervous or not.

    She got nervous and wanted to get off, should they have prevented her from getting off the plane? Not allowed her to complain? Once someone complains they have to investigate it or there will be MASSIVE witch hunts if something actually does happen on the flight.

  49. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Erskine: Methinks before you blast someone you should learn to spell Moron correctly.

    I see his point, when I travel overseas I keep the American attitude real low. And it’s not just here that it could happen. I was in Poland and I accidentally spoke to one of my friends in english instead of the German we were speaking….you could of heard a pin drop in the bar. Lets just say we left quite quickly under the glare of the locals.

  50. bedofnails says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer:

    This is an excellent point. America is the only country that seems to use the term “racial profiling”, (probably created by some leftist housewife living in her Orange county suburb) every where else in the world, it’s called, “life.”

  51. bedofnails says:

    @not_seth_brundle:

    If I read that press release right, it says, “we thank the 6 Iraqi men who help us to more effectively occupy their former country, and kill our mutual enemy’s…in combat”

  52. not_seth_brundle says:

    @GuruSteve: “She got nervous and wanted to get off, should they have prevented her from getting off the plane? Not allowed her to complain?”

    I say no to the second question, but yes to the first. In fact, I would go so far as to say that she and/or AA should have to pay a fine for having caused the flight delay if her complaint really was only that they were speaking Arabic. The flight was supposed to take off Tuesday night but because of her unreasonable nervousness and AA’s pandering it didn’t take off until the following morning and arrived in the afternoon. That is a huge disruption to all the passengers on the flight who had to sleep in the airport or secure accommodations nearby. Business travelers undoubtedly missed important meetings or court appearances. All because people were speaking Arabic and it freaked Mommy out. I don’t think she should be able to delay over a hundred passengers without there being some kind of consequence.

  53. crnk says:

    @Buran:
    I think people sometimes are concerned with the content of the site, since the site’s reputation, and therefore usefulness/power rest on it. Thus, if all posts become “china poison train,” “airlines are evil,” and “the RIAA hunts down people who are generally doing something illegal”……then letting a company know they made it onto the site won’t do a single thing for resolving the issue.

    Who cares about the complaints about a company when the site that posts them has a reputation of crap?

  54. TPIRman says:

    @bedofnails: “It’s interesting to read these comments, and not wonder if every single one of you, would not at least do a double take or raise an eyebrow seeing 6 Iraqi men (middle-eastern) waiting in line for your flight, speaking a language unknown to you.”

    It’s a fair point, and one that shouldn’t be ignored. I think that most of us would be unlikely to escalate that raised eyebrow into a full-blown altercation, which is why there is a general sense that a big piece is missing from this story.

    “Where the story doesn’t make sense/jive – if they are liaisons to the US government and US soldiers they obviously all know English, (unless our military is just plucking any Iraqi residing in the US to elaborate on their former culture) why raise irrational unjustified fears for no reason?”

    I can’t get on board with this, though. It isn’t the Arabic-speakers’ responsibility to mollycoddle irrational fear; it is their fellow travelers’ responsibility to deal with their emotions in a civil manner. (I realize that you meant your comment in a practical sense, not an idealistic one; my reply is offered that way as well.)

  55. spinachdip says:

    Shit, I think the terrorists have won. All you have to do is get six dark skinned guys together (make sure there are six, because that’s a key number according to commenters here), have them speak in Arabic (actually, does it even matter what they speak?). Do this often enough, you can easily paralyze the US airspace.

  56. bedofnails says:

    @not_seth_brundle:

    What about the hundreds of thousands of missed appointments, birthdays, court appearances, anniversaries of the 2,974 that happen to go to work in New York 6 years ago?

    Precaution never kills anyone, as annoying as it may be, those people here in San Diego still get to wake up the next day.

  57. ekthesy says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer:

    In Poland it’s OK to speak German, but not English?

    2007 – 1939 = 68 years

    So I guess the answer is, in 2069, you can speak Arabic on a plane.

  58. nctrnlboy says:

    @HeyHermano:

    I wouldnt consider that a valid comparison.

    Now IF the woman went to talk to security personnel about said man that gaves her reasonable cause to be wary/suspicious…. that’s a different story. In THIS day & age (post 9/11)… it is not beyond reason IMO.

    Hell! With the current pedophile scares in today’s society I have even had people call the cops on me for sitting in my car in a park’s parking lot (I was eating my lunch on my lunch break). I cant blame them if parents feel a bit wary about a middle-aged man sitting in a parked car in a park (seemingly doing nothing)… ESPECIALLY with the current “pedophiles are everywhere just waiting to snatch your child!” mindset foisted upon us by sensationalist news stories (to catch a predator anyone?).

  59. bedofnails says:

    @Johnny:

    Well said Johnny.

  60. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Oh boy, are the freepers here again?

  61. mk says:

    @bedofnails: I don’t understand these comments about them speaking arabic. I work for a company that’s owned by a French bank, ergo, we have a lot of French speaking people here. Should I get nervous when they all sit around speaking French (when I know perfectly well that they all know English)? No. It’s their right to speak what ever language they want to. They could be speaking pig latin for all I care. I saw this story early this morning in the Trib, and I’m sure there’s a lot more to it. But to say that they in someway brought this on themselves because they were speaking Arabic is insane.

  62. @kittikin: Welcome to America, kid.

  63. WindowSeat says:

    In my mind it went down like this

    Arabic Speaking Men: “Blah blah blah”

    Nervous Woman: Oh my God honey, there’s terrorists on this plane!

    Arabic Speaking Man: “Mind your own business there’s no law against speaking your own language in this country, yet.”

    Nervous Woman: “Get me off this plane! We’re all going to die! 9/11!”

    Rest of Passengers: “Oh fuck.” (they all simultaneously punch buttons on cell phones)”Hi, I’m going to be delayed. No, I don’t think I’ll be there today.”

  64. …speaking a language unknown to you…

    Perhaps it is from living where I do but someone speaking a foreign language just doesn’t bother me. That’s every day for me. It’s all background noise. I’m not going to become afraid of someone I wasn’t afaid of before just because they start speaking something other than English.


    Where the story doesn’t make sense/jive – if they are liaisons to the US government and US soldiers they obviously all know English, (unless our military is just plucking any Iraqi residing in the US to elaborate on their former culture) why raise irrational unjustified fears for no reason?

    @bedofnails: That doesn’t make English their first language. It doesn’t even mean their English is that good.

    If you have two or more people together who’s first language isn’t English guess what? They aren’t going to speak to each other in English.

  65. GearheadGeek says:

    @bedofnails:, @Nemesis_Enforcer: Having lived and worked in a country where my native tongue (English) is not the local one, I can assure you that it is very easy when speaking to someone from “home” to slip into your native tongue, even if you’re fluent in the local language. The example about the bar in Poland is a perfect case in point. Do you somehow think it’s ok that you felt the need to run out of the bar for speaking a phrase or sentence in English? Do you think it would be ok for me to feel like I had to leave a restaurant here in the US because I answered a call from a friend overseas and spoke to him in Italian? (never mind the cell-phone-in-public cracks, let’s assume I’m not shouting into the phone.)

    Saying this is OK because that’s “how it is” is akin to whites in the old South thinking it was OK to discriminate against blacks because that was “how it was.” It’s bad enough that we’ve developed a reputation worldwide as a nation of narrow-minded, poorly-educated war mongers (thanks W), we don’t have to say the attitudes and behaviors that reinforce that reputation are OK.

  66. spinachdip says:

    @bedofnails: Yes, by all means, throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Listen, if dark people, oops, I meant a group of *six* dark men talking in strange tongue make you nervous, then don’t fly and save the rest of us the trouble. How’s that for precautions?

  67. nctrnlboy says:

    @Johnny:

    But I think it IS their responsibility to reasonably conform to the current situation. That means, to NOT bring attention to themselves. AND to understand that a group of middleeasterners traveling on a US flight will make people nervous. IF I aproached a woman in a dark parking garage…. should I not expect her to have her finger on the mace button?

  68. @HeyHermano: They left out that the men were questioned and released but added that it was a woman and that she said they had “odd behavior”.

    “Odd behavior” – That’s so wonderfully vauge. We don’t even know if the odd behavior was speaking a different language or something separate.

  69. SOhp101 says:

    Everyone knows that the captain should have made them all strip down to their underwear, put bags over their heads and made them form a pyramid. After all, everyone that speaks Arabic is a terrorist.

    Yes there’s probably two sides to this story, but unless the other side was speaking extremely loud, the flight was delayed for a dumb reason.

  70. Jim says:

    Thank goodness they were just speaking Arabic and not spreading flour… Oh the horror…

  71. bedofnails says:

    @GearheadGeek: @WindowSeat: @melking1972:

    I understand and agree with all of your points regarding “native languages”, etc. Although I would like to avoid the “this is America, speak English dammit” black hole; I’m assuming these are intelligent men, obviously sensitive to the current level of fear and irrationality associated with their ethnicity and origin.

    It’s impossible to predict how others (a plane load of Americans in this case) will perceive your actions and words, but something certainly must be said for sensitivity to the situation at hand.

    That said, it also sounds like the woman and child referenced took their fears to the next level. I wasn’t there, it’s impossible to speculate; however in the end it appears even though they were all delayed for 10 hours, it all worked out and everyone got where they were going safely.

  72. bedofnails says:

    @spinachdip:

    They don’t make me nervous, as long as they don’t have box cutters.

  73. Egakino says:

    @nctrnlboy: Ooooookay wow thats one hell of a leap for an analogy. Lets break that down shall we:
    person dressed as a bank robber = probably a bank robber.
    Arabs speaking their language in a public setting = grounds to suspect terrorism.
    Look I know you are skittish but come on people. FFS people let me break this down for you, ARABIC IS NOT A RELIGION OR ORGANIZATION. For that matter terrorists are worldwide and have different ideologies. If it is skin color or religion you are looking at that idiotic. Every single skin color, religion, and economic class has produced terrorists through out the centuries (wow really omg there were non Arabic terrorists centuries before 9-11?!?). Lets all remember as Americans we have produced our fair share of terrorists and blown up our fair share of buildings/offices (and not just Mcveigh). Talk to the Japanese or Irish/English next time you think terrorists are only Arab speaking.

  74. adminslave says:

    Hopefully there is much more to this story. Honestly, you cannot ask a group of people to avoid speaking their own language in public in hopes of settling the nerves of xenophobic people. I grew up in DC and many of my friends growing up were Persian and spoke Farsi. I happen to be half Jewish (though not religious), I don’t consider myself particularly PC. I have been exposed to other groups of people and cultures and as a result, I don’t heckle people for speaking their own freaking language when it is not my own. If the story is just an issue of a couple of Americans freaking out over flying with Arabs, then honestly, those Americans should bury their heads in the sand and avoid flying anywhere, ever.

  75. Buran says:

    @Johnny: If that’s what the “behave” comment was about, then it should be clarified. Standing alone, it looks like it is a response to what language was being spoken.

  76. Buran says:

    @bedofnails: People can’t exactly control their nationality, so telling them to be “sensitive” about it is silly. We should instead be considerate of the fact that there is more to this world than stereotypical American-Idol-worshipping me-first SUV-driving America.

  77. phobs says:

    Really shows you have far we have to go in some parts of the country. Go live in a city where you interact with “Arab looking” people everyday. Then its not so shocking when you realize that sometimes these scary people also need to get places by airplane.

    If the article is taken at face value, the men speaking Arabic were punished for someone else’s ignorance. I have to say, I’m just glad I don’t look or speak Arabic.

  78. sncreducer says:

    @nctrnlboy:

    What exactly is “the current situation”? A state of paranoid xenophobia that views all people of Arab/Middle Eastern descent as potential terrorists? Why exactly is it their responsibilty to conform to that? Why is it not the responsibility of the average American traveler to realize that there are thousands (millions?) of Muslims living in America who are not terrorists?

    As far as your analogy about women with their finger on the mace button – I have no problem with her putting her finger on the button, so long as the can stays in her pocket/purse/whatever. When she pulls it out and points it in my face – or even sprays it – simply because she thinks I might be a threat – she’s in the wrong.

  79. CumaeanSibyl says:

    I would actually assume that, these days, an Arab terrorist group would a) select the whitest-looking guys possible to send onto a plane, b) instruct them to speak only English, and c) caution them not to do anything that might possibly arouse suspicion, including going to the bathroom, leaving their seatbelts unbuckled, and/or looking at people funny.

    A bunch of dark-skinned guys speaking Arabic are probably not going to be terrorists, precisely because they’re too obvious and the likelihood of them getting kicked off the plane is so high.

  80. dextrone says:

    I think security concerns aren’t doing anything(statement a bit exaggerated), trying to maintain AND raise the standards* (moral/education) of the US will. I wonder why nobody tries this….. If I own an advertising company, I’d run an an ad in the entire D.C. area advertising this……(provided I won’t go broke for doing this).

    If people are smart I think they can detect REAL suspicious behavior, not just “OMG, he’s talking Arabic”. Whatever way you put it, this is a situation of discrimination where everyone (who can turn this situation around) is quiet, even the victims [“I wish I could say more because I have personal feelings but this is what I’m allowed to say,” he said.]. So much for freedom of speech.

    I know a few people who have been discriminated by how they speak their language.

    The laws are starting to get really {un}effective these days. How many years does it take for people to realize this. Everyone always considers the law to be the problem, but in reality it’s fine BUT no one’s enforcing them so anyone can take advantage (even unknowingly).

  81. bedofnails says:

    @Buran:

    I call bull-shit, when an American flys to a foreign country, it’s always with a sense of sensitivity to their surroundings.

  82. Egakino says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: Exactly, no white college students have ever gone to the training camps. Nope, didn’t happen, nu uh, not seeing any, didn’t find any in Afghanistan or anything, nooooppers totally safe on the front.

    Now lets go find those people shouting ALAHA ACHBAR MOHOOOOMUD JIHAD!!!!! ALLLLAAAAHHAAALLAAAA!!!!

  83. Hoss says:

    The situation seems logical A woman hears a number of arabic speaking men talking near her on a plane. She says something to the American Airlines steward about this. She says they are behaving oddly. Maybe they are having a disagreement, or maybe they had 4 martinis before the flight, or maybe they were mixing the word “Bush” in the concersation, who knows.

    The men hear the woman talking to the steward and confront her. The steward is unable to defuse the situation. The woman wants off the plane. Others may have expressed their opinion (who knows which side they were on). American Airlines decides not to fly — either there was too much commosion — or they believed the woman, that the men were acting oddly.

    Why all the hubbub? American Airlines should have had more control, or in fact may a security decision which they are now regretting.

  84. nctrnlboy says:

    @Egakino:

    BUT the current situation (in this country) IS with middleeastern terrorists. NOT IRA & other known terrorist groups. That means, groups of middleeastern men on a flight will be looked at with suspicion (and will make people uncomfortable… & possibly even make them want to deplane). Its just the reality of the current situation. Yeah, it is idealistically wrong/unfair, but it is reality.

    If there were bands of mexicans firebombing subways (just an example) in various cities…. would it not be reasonable to be wary of groups of mexicans in subways? Or is that just racist? :rolleyes:

    And what is so wrong with erring on the side of caution?

    You know… not all middle-aged overweight men who are alone by himself in a park (where parents & kids are/frequent) are not pedophiles…. but is it unrealistic to expect some overprotective parents to suspect I am? And possibly inform the police? SHould I be pissed because it happens when I know full well the current state of “pedophiles are everywhere” fear mentality here in the US? You have to reasonably understand the current situation & either refrain from activity that will scare people (irrational or not) or just deal with the consequenses. I realize that if I am alone in a park… there is a possibility that some overprotective parent will call the cops on me. I can either stay away from parks or deal with the consequenses (being cops checking me out)… yeah it sucks… but it is the reality of the situation. I accept that. Middleastern traveling on US flights should as well.

  85. spinachdip says:

    @bedofnails: Ha! That’s a good one. Ever been to Prague in the summer?

  86. bedofnails says:

    @sncreducer:

    But it IS the way the world currently is. Running around with a dumb expression on your face, pointing out supposed injustices is useless. We get it, their are millions of Muslims (btw, lots of words being uncomfortably interchangeably here, muslim, arab, middle-eastern, all which have drastically different meanings.) in the world. We get it, New Orleans has a lot of blacks in the poverty level, politicians usually come from money, they take money from lobbyists, etc.

    Although these are amazingly cognitive observations, pointing out that people shouldn’t be afraid of a group based on their language or appearance is off base – what that women was afraid of was that her plane was going to be over taken by 6 Iraqi men. This is not an unjustified fear.

  87. GearheadGeek says:

    @bedofnails: “what that women was afraid of was that her plane was going to be over taken by 6 Iraqi men. This is not an unjustified fear.” I saw nothing that indicated that the 6 men were not allowed to travel on the flight the next morning. It did not explode. It was not flown into a building. As near as we can tell at this point it was not used to sprinkle some biological warfare agent along the route between San Diego and Chicago. This would indicate that the it was EXACTLY an unjustified fear.

  88. phobs says:

    @nctrnlboy:

    “If there were bands of mexicans firebombing subways (just an example) in various cities…. would it not be reasonable to be wary of groups of mexicans in subways? Or is that just racist? :rolleyes:”

    If you describe Meixcans as a race and not a nationality, what you are describing is the definition of racism. [www.answers.com] However, this is America you are free to be as bigoted as you want in your own mind. Once you start acting on your irrational fears thats when it becomes a problem. Thats when you are deciding your views/rights supersede those of another race of people.

    Its also pretty astounding you can think you can’t go to a park alone whenever you want. Thats pretty paranoid. You are innocent until proven guilty. If a parent called the cops on me for simply going to a park alone I’d laugh my ass off.

  89. not_seth_brundle says:

    @Hossofcourse: If they were drinking martinis, that should actually calm her fears that they were Muslim extremists.

  90. phobs says:

    “But it IS the way the world currently is. Running around with a dumb expression on your face, pointing out supposed injustices is useless.”

    You’re right we’ll get nowhere, socially, by pointing our problems in society. We should just accept things as they are. Thats how we solved colonialism, slavery, unequal suffrage, etc. People always had reasons why these traditions should continue, yet we were able to move past them because we were first able to recognize them as a problem.

    “pointing out that people shouldn’t be afraid of a group based on their language or appearance is off base”

    This is not off base. In our society racism and discrimination are NOT socially acceptable. Therefore, it should not be socially acceptable to be afraid of on the basis of people on the basis of the way they look or which language they speak.

    “that women was afraid of was that her plane was going to be over taken by 6 Iraqi men. This is not an unjustified fear.”

    Please justify this fear to me. How is it rational to fear that men from Iraq pose an imminent threat to the safety of US air travel?

    Bottom line is this. You are rationalizing the discrimination of a largely unrepresented minority.

  91. phobs says:

    .

  92. sncreducer says:

    @nctrnlboy:

    “What is so wrong with erring on the side of caution?”

    OK, no problem. I think all rich executives are corporate criminals (plenty of evidence to back THAT up). So their finances should all be completely opened to government scrutiny.

    I think christian conservatives want to blow up abortion clinics (again, plenty of evidence for that). So we should be able to search their homes for explosives and weapons at will, without warrants.

    I think white men are all potential serial killers and rapists (again, look at the statistics). So we should have them under 24/7 surveillance.

    Still think there’s nothing wrong with “erring on the side of caution”?

    Same ? to you, bedofnails.

  93. bedofnails says:

    @GearheadGeek:

    Huh? By your reasoning, suspicion, and prevention are absurd unless an incident occurs.

    I’m no longer wearing a condom, because the last time I didn’t, nothing happened.

  94. bedofnails says:

    @sncreducer:

    I wouldn’t know, I am not a conservative, or a serial killer (I think.)

  95. Egakino says:

    @nctrnlboy: Yes i say it is unresonable because yet again I have to spell this out for you ARABIC IS NOT A RELIGION OR ORGANIZATION. Beyond that if you think that people who speak Arabic are the only terrorist organizations that what to do us harm then you far beyond anything I can help you with. It happens that Muslim terroists (see what I did there – that is a sect of belief within a religion not a language spoken worldwide) were JUST the last ones to hit us. Last time I checked as soon as the planes hit there was a lot of speculation if it was another McVeigh.

    Yay for bad analogy time:
    Mexican Firebombers would not equal all spanish speaking people. If you were afraid of people it might be Mexicans and even then it would be stupid.

    If someone is scared of an overwieght guy on a park bench I feel for them words can describe.

    Should a Middle-Eastern man feel that he should take precautions about his heritage on a US flight, possibly, but not from me. I will take a couple of lines from great literature and say I am the Lorax, I speak for trees. Remember kids butter battle wars are bad.

  96. bedofnails says:

    @not_seth_brundle:

    Awesome.

  97. nctrnlboy says:

    @sncreducer:

    Yes, sadly that IS the current situation for the most part. It sucks I agree. But you have to realize that the average american IS going to be effected by the government, sensationalist newsstories…. etc. etc. Is it unrealistic to expect arabs (or arab-looking people) to expect a bit of apprehension by other people when in the environment of an airline flight? And to adjust their behavior? Given the current post 9-11 climate? I think not.

    And I somewhat agree with your example of the wary woman spraying me if I “technically” havnt done anything wrong. But it is not unreasonable for her to contact security on me if she feels threatened or uncomfortable about my presence. However if I get too close for her comfort…. I really cant blame her for pointing the mace at me (possibly even threatening me with it)… given the situation of me approaching her in a dark parking garage. Its the situation that warrants the action. Common sense would also tell me to contact the woman from far away & remain at a reasonable distance to ensure her comfort level & to keep her from POSSIBLY overreacting (spraying me in the face). Should I conform to her fears & change my actions to prevent such a situation? I think its reasonable.

  98. GearheadGeek says:

    @bedofnails: I didn’t declare suspicion and “prevention” absurd (whether or not I think they may be.) I took exception to your labeling of her irrational fear as “not unjustified.”

    How many Iraqis have hijacked airliners in the US in the last 30 years?

    McVeigh was a white Libertarian. Should I fear any white guy I see with a Ron Paul pin driving a U-Haul? Would that be “not unjustified?”

  99. bedofnails says:

    @GearheadGeek:

    The ratio of “white guys” that have declared jhiad on America and it’s citizens to the ratio of all other “white guys” is more likely a little lower than the same ratios applied to men of middle eastern birth.

    But you have a good point in that you can never hope to know who may be the next attacker, who has some beef, etc. I agree 100%.

    All you can do is hedge your bets based on all of the information provided, past history, etc. It’s really no different than investing or real estate, in that your making a suspect assumption to what you feel to be the right reasons.

    More often than not, people are wrong, money is lost, lives are lost. But it is when the right assumptions or guesses are made, when lives are saved, catastrophes are prevented, (money made), that we all seemingly forget about the “racial profiling”, or harassment.

  100. nctrnlboy says:

    @sncreducer:

    Searching Corporation’s financial records, searching christians homes/persons, etc. etc. That is nowhere NEAR the same thing as deplaning people because one person (or others) feel uncomfortable about certain passengers. Now if they took every middleasterner off the plane, physically searched them, detained them … with out ANY cause… then that would be wrong. Fact is that there WAS cause (made by the flight personnel) to deplane. Flight personnel have wide lattitudes on what they can call justification for stopping a flight…. ANY kind of disturbance can have a plane land, deplane etc. etc.. The flight environment is a highly controlled one … as it should be. ANY question whether or not something is unsafe, a passenger is disruptive, creeping out other passengers etc. etc… the flight crew has the right to do something about it (like landing the plane or making someone deplane).

    @phobs:

    Its not racist to be “wary” of a group of people who fit a profile of known terrorists. If there was a terrorist group of red-headed white guys bombing train stations…. it would be prudent to scrutinize them IN that environment. THAT is racist? The fact that it is more likely that muslim terrorists would look like middleasterners is just reasonable. Especially when in a notorious environment like a subway, train station, airline flight etc. etc….where terroristic act are known/likely to happen.

  101. not_seth_brundle says:

    @nctrnlboy: I get the impression you don’t travel much. Just think of this from a practical standpoint. You pay $500 for a flight to go to your friend’s wedding. Someone on the flight thinks a guy across the aisle is creepy and demands to get off the flight. Pilot returns the plane to the gate and you miss the wedding. Seriously now, you’re okay with that?

  102. Lazlo Nibble says:

    @bedofnails: Can you at least try to get your stereotypes right? Orange County is a conservative stronghold, not a “leftist” one.

  103. Egakino says:

    @nctrnlboy: Its not racist to be “wary” of a group of people who fit a profile of known terrorists.

    You are completely right for once, thats bigotry.

  104. HeartBurnKid says:

    Is this what our once-proud nation is reduced to? Jumping at shadows, grounding planes because there are brown people speaking not-English? Giving up our civil liberties in the mistaken belief it’ll make us safer? Thinking that torturing people will do anything at all other than make the world hate us?

    The terrorists’ plans are moving along swimmingly… we are all well and truly terrorized.

  105. andrewsmash says:

    We have become a nation of wusses. Yes, when a group of Middle Eastern men who share an appearance common with those who attacked the country in he past board a plane, you should be more vigilant. Vigilant as in watchful. If one of them stands up and pulls out a knife, then you freak out. If they just make you uncomfortable because they are having a conversation, then you have the problem. This whole country has some degree of PTSD after 9/11, but this kind of this is just sad.

  106. Egakino says:

    @andrewsmash: Exactly

  107. nctrnlboy says:

    @not_seth_brundle:

    creepy? Creepy as in “may be a terrorist” creepy, or “may be insane” creepy? (remember the crazy japanese guy who tried to open the outer door on a airliner recently?). Creepy as in “acting odd, or suspicious” creepy? Is my appearance consistant with the possibility of current known terrorists? Is there a hightened sense of awareness because of previous terrorist attacks? Am I in a group of others who look & talk like me (where others cant understand what we are saying)?

    I may look like a pedophile when I go to the park & I may be inconvenienced because some overprotective parent calls the cops on me….. but should I blame them in the current fear-mongering environment?

    A lot of little things add up. People arent just pointing at random people & screaming “TERRORIST!!!!!” or “PEDOPHILE!!!”

    and if you think the parents are bad… cops are much worse when there is any suspicion/accusation that you might be a pedophile crusin for itty bitty titty or teeny weeny peeny in their town’s park.

    ANd I DO travel. Even though I am white as a sheet I still try not to stand out or bring attention to myself. I know not to say anything like “bomb” in an airport, just like groups of middleasterners flying shouldnt be bringing any attention to themselves on a flight in todays hieghtened terrorist awareness these days.

    I actually DO feel sorry for middle-eastern looking people trying to live their lives (in this country) with the “muslim terrorist” suspicion hanging over their heads. Its not right, but as with life… a lot of things arent right. Governments need to protect their people, just like parents need to protect their kids.

  108. nctrnlboy says:

    @not_seth_brundle:

    creepy? Creepy as in “may be a terrorist” creepy, or “may be insane” creepy? (remember the crazy japanese guy who tried to open the outer door on a airliner recently?). Creepy as in “acting odd, or suspicious” creepy? Is my appearance consistant with the possibility of current known terrorists? Is there a hightened sense of awareness because of previous terrorist attacks? Am I in a group of others who look & talk like me (where others cant understand what we are saying)?

    I may look like a pedophile when I go to the park & I may be inconvenienced because some overprotective parent calls the cops on me….. but should I blame them in the current fear-mongering environment?

    A lot of little things add up. People arent just pointing at random people & screaming “TERRORIST!!!!!” or “PEDOPHILE!!!”

    and if you think the parents are bad… cops are much worse when there is any suspicion/accusation that you might be a pedophile crusin for itty bitty titty or teeny weeny peeny in their town’s park.

    ANd I DO travel. Even though I am white as a sheet I still try not to stand out or bring attention to myself. I know not to say anything like “bomb” in an airport, just like groups of middleasterners flying shouldnt be bringing any attention to themselves on a flight in todays hieghtened terrorist awareness these days.

    I actually DO feel sorry for middle-eastern looking people trying to live their lives (in this country) with the “muslim terrorist” suspicion hanging over their heads. Its not right, but as with life… a lot of things arent right. Governments need to protect their people, just like parents need to protect their kids.

    @Egakino:

    well then, I guess I’d be bigotted against red-headed groups of white guys in train stations then. *shrug*

  109. Egakino says:

    I may look like a pedophile when I go to the park & I may be inconvenienced because some overprotective parent calls the cops on me….. but should I blame them in the current fear-mongering environment?

    Yes, yes you should. The use of a “current fear-mongering environment” is inexcusable when you are talking about basic rights as a human being.

  110. phobs says:

    @nctrnlboy: You are free to be racist but you should acknowledge it. Do yourself a favor and look up the definition of racism. Arab is a race.

    You are saying, because they are from a particular ethic group they are more likely to commit terrorism. That is the very definition of racism. Your belief, prejudice, is that Arabs, a race, are inclined to be terrorists.

    Is it your right, in America, to be “wary” of people with red hats? Sure. People were pretty “wary” of black people in this country not long ago and it was acceptable too, even legal. In this country, you are even free to preach your ignorance. However, once you start infringing on the rights of those people you hold prejudices against, thats when there is a problem.

    This woman crossed that line when she decided that she was in mortal danger due to the race and language of them men beside her, her prejudice. AA was also wrong in accepting this as valid evidence. Due to her ignorance, and at no fault, listed in the article, of the men an entire airplane full of people had to suffer.

  111. killavanilla says:

    Yeah, let’s reserve judgment until we hear the details and all sides here…
    So far, assumptive reasoning is at play.
    For instance, one poster already concluded that the American travelers with kids ‘started’ the argument with the arab speakers. We don’t know that.
    Matter of fact, we don’t know much.
    Ease up kids….

  112. killavanilla says:

    @andrewsmash:
    From what I heard, at points there was some yelling.
    in arabic.
    Ever heard anyone yell in arabic? It doesn’t sound very pleasant.
    Frankly, that might be enough for me to at least call over a flight attendant.
    At least in english, we know what they are arguing about.

  113. @killavanilla: Yelling at the lady or yelling at each other? (Also, where did you read this?)

    Because if they’re yelling at each other, who cares aside from the racket they’re making. If anything it means they’re less likely to be terrorists. People who have decided to blow themselves up aren’t going to fight over the window seat.

  114. phobs says:

    “Ever heard anyone yell in arabic? It doesn’t sound very pleasant.”
    Does being unpleasant make you a terrorist? Does it make you “suspicious”? If it does there are a whole lot of potential terrorists in NYC.

    “At least in english, we know what they are arguing about.”
    We were able to rationalize slavery too. Guilty until proven innocent.

  115. nctrnlboy says:

    @phobs:

    No… I am saying that there are more likely to be muslim terrorists who look midleeastern (persian, arab …. whatever)… than there will be white muslim terrorists. Its just the reality of the situation. I am not racist… I am a realist. YES, I agree that not all M.E.-looking people are terrorists, but the majority of terrorists (the US is looking for) are from Middleeastern countries. Do you not agree? I understand it is a tiny amount that are indeed terrorist, but that tiny amount are still more than likely to be middleasterners.

    If there were terrorist groups comprised of red-haired white guys…. groups of red-haired white guys would be scrutinized in airports, train stations & subways. Is this wrong?or just practical?

  116. If there were terrorist groups comprised of red-haired white guys…. groups of red-haired white guys would be scrutinized in airports, train stations & subways.

    @nctrnlboy: Would they? Are you sure?

    When’s the last time security anywhere in this country has stopped someone for being white? Or does the addition of red hair make it ok?

    What if the only thing they had in common was being white? Should I be able to delay a flight because there’s a white guy speaking English?

  117. phobs says:

    If “red haired white guys” was a race like Arabs what you are described is racial profiling. It is not only invalid for many reasons, its also illegal. So yes, I would have to say what you describe is wrong ethically, legally, and even functionally.

    Click this link for examples:
    [www.aclu-il.org]

    “muslim terrorists who look midleeastern (persian, arab …. whatever)”
    If you are afraid of a group of people to the extent that you are willing to infringe on their basic rights you should, in the very least, know what they are called. It really borders on ridiculous to have such a fear of people that you know so little about. Each word you put up there encompasses a different group of people. Reeks of ignorance. May as well have said “brown people.”

  118. nctrnlboy says:

    @Egakino:

    what basic rights have been violated when someone calls the cops because they think i am suspicious? I end up basically get checked out by the cops which means, my license & tags being run ,briefly questioned by a cop to find out the reality of the situation. I am never searched or needlessly harrassed (even though a few cops can be real pricks when they think you MIGHT be a pedophile).

    I once had the cops called on me (by some old lady) for parking in an empty park that had a water tower nearby (apparrently this water tower has been broken into & scaled a lot by people in the past) & there were signs all over the place saying “we call the police” …neighborhood watch-type signs. Was it unrealistic to expect that the neighbors would be vigilent against such possible actions? About a person sitting in a vehicle near the water tower? The cop came, was nice, asked me why was there, checked the tower, took note of my tags etc etc & left me alone. Were my rights violated somehow?

    Btw…. I also go metal detecting in parks sometimes (it makes for great practice). THAT’s why I am at parks so much.

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    I think they would!

    Just because it hasnt happened (whites being profiled in the US) doesnt mean that it wont or cant happen.

    IF i was in a white minority in another country where whites have been notorious terrorists in the past (caused an event comparable to 9-11)… should I expect to be scrutinized when frequenting popular terrorist targets? I would think I would be.

    and as for whites being stopped because they are white?… it does happen in the US. White people driving in black neighborhoods where drugs are known to be sold & whites are known to frequent to buy drugs….. are routinely stopped.

  119. phobs says:

    @nctrnlboy:

    “what basic rights have been violated when someone calls the cops because they think i am suspicious? I end up basically get checked out by the cops which means, my license & tags being run ,briefly questioned by a cop to find out the reality of the situation. I am never searched or needlessly harrassed”
    I take it you’re not black middle to lower class and live in a city.

    “should I expect to be scrutinized when frequenting popular terrorist targets”
    You may expect it but is it justified?

  120. nctrnlboy says:

    @phobs:

    again how are people’s basic rights being broken when someone reports them as suspicious? Usually there is a reason someone reports another as suspicous. The environment also plays a part. Like I said before people are not just calling out random middleasterners on the street as terrorists.

    And dont put words in my mouth regarding what you think I meant (“brown people”) …I said “arab, persian… whatever” because I didnt want someone to jump up & make statements like “arabs & persians are not the same!” (for some reason persians really HATE being lumped in with arabs & there is always one that has to be offended & point it out). My argument still stands that muslim terrorists are more likely to be native middleeasterners. If you want to call that racism, biggotry, knock yourself out. If it were jews, asians, whites …. I’d still think the same.

  121. nctrnlboy says:

    @phobs:

    well jeeze! The world isnt perfectly fair… now is it? It would be wonderful if people wore their intentions on their forehead so that everyone knew what they were going to do. That’s what the police are for… to arrive/respond to an acccusation & determine the reality of the situation (is he a terrorist? is he a pedophile? is he REALLY acting suspicious? That’s for the police to determine).

    And because I didnt grow up in a city doesnt mean I havnt been pulled over for being “out late at night & probably up to no good” by bored smalltown cops. It happens. Yeah, it sucks, but it happens. I expected it.

    Remember… whites get pulled over in black areas being suspected of being there to buy drugs, so dont say its only minorities that get checked out.

    My point being that if you fit a certain profile (if you are black, white, asian,jew… whatever & happen to be in an area known for a certain illegal activity (this could be a woman dressed provacatively in an area where hookers get johns, a group of arab men on an airplane that give others [flight crew/passengers] cause to be suspicious , a white man cruising around in a black neighborhood where whites travel to to buy drugs…. & on & on & on…. then you have to expect to be “checked out”. Is it justified? The world isnt a perfect place & you cant expect it to be.

  122. phobs says:

    @nctrnlboy: Reread my post. Then, click the link for explanations and examples. The legal standards described conflict with what you see as fit and justified actions to take.

    The fact that you lump very different groups together as the same implies ignorance or apathy. Neither of which support your claim. If you were trying to avoid offending someone, clumping them into an entirely different group would not suffice.

    I have described how your beliefs are inline with the very definition of racism. I linked the definition of racism I used.

    Then, I showed how practices you believe are valid for law-enforcement are in fact illegal. I linked the actual statue discussed by an established legal authority.

    You have been wholly discredited and decide to stick to your beliefs despite evidence to the contrary. You are irrational, your ideas racist, and you are possibly ignorant. You can dispute my facts, but repeating your position over and over does not strengthen your case.

  123. Onouris says:

    Man people should start calling the police because there’s a red neck racist moron on the plane. See how they like it.

  124. spinachdip says:

    @nctrnlboy: If you don’t like riding in planes with darkies, why don’t you get a private jet? Or better yet, don’t fly. Whatever you do, please don’t inconvenience the rest of us because of your fears.

    I would be more than happy to ride a plane full of Arabs. We’ll all eat halal meat, make fun of Persian dudes with unibrows and sing Arabic songs together. You have no idea what kind of fun you’re missing out on.

  125. bedofnails says:

    I don’t like ugly people, if there are ever ugly people on my plane – I’m getting off.

    We all know bad things never happen to beautiful people.

  126. nctrnlboy says:

    @phobs:

    Well, since you say it is so… it must be. :rolleyes:

    Call me ignorant, racist, irrational and whatever other insults you wish to use to win your argument. I refuse to do likewise.

    And I realize that the peoples of the M.E. are all not the same (if you had read above I didnt lump arabs in with persians) But most americans cannot tell a persian from an arab, likewise they cant tell most asians apart from other asians. Hindu from a muslim just by looking at them. Middleeasten people tend to look the same to americans… do you not agree? Is it reasonable to expect americans to be able to easily tell them apart?

    And I already stated that if this was about whites instead of middleasterners on this plane & everything were reversed …. my stance would not change. I guess I am racist against whites too? (or maybe you just dont believe me).

    This whole argument is about whether or not the flight crew was justified in taking action because of a passenger’s concern for her safety. Was the flight crew justified in doing what they did? Yes, I believe so. The passenger? who knows until the real events will hopefully come out in the end.

  127. bedofnails says:

    @nctrnlboy:

    well said.

  128. nctrnlboy says:

    @spinachdip:

    lol wtf? I wouldnt mind riding on a jet plane full of “darkies” as you put it. I’d feel more comfortable doing that than on a flight with one conspicious group of middleeasterners that are giving concern to other passengers.

    @Onouris:
    lol I love it… I am now a racist redneck moron. All aboard the bash train! WOOOT! WOOT!

    Note: to mods, sorry about the doubleposts/multiple posts, I am trying to combine my responses, but by the time I respond new responses to mine pop up. Trying now to refresh a lot before final posting.

  129. Amelie says:

    bedofnails said:What about the hundreds of thousands of missed appointments, birthdays, court appearances, anniversaries of the 2,974 that happen to go to work in New York 6 years ago?
    Who the hell gave you the right to speak for them? Speak for yourself instead of tarnishing the dead with your contempt and ignorance.

  130. seanSF says:

    @NCTRNLBOY: It may not be, by definition, racism but it’s definitely prejudicial and a semantic squint from full blown racism. Don’t kid yourself.

    We’ve had three major terrorist acts committed in this country since 1990, one of which was carried out by white men named McVeigh, Nicols, et al. Being “wary” (another word for “afraid”) of muslims, Arabs, “middle easterners”, or anyone looking like one (the Sikhs I know are treated like potential terrorists every time they fly) is dangerous for two reasons: 1) you forget that all kinds of people do horrible things, and 2) you treat innocent people like criminals.

  131. bedofnails says:

    @zouxou:

    Ok, speaking for myself – I’m would much rather deplane over a racial profiling dispute, then wind up incinerated thousands of feet in the air.

    Speaking strictly for myself that is.

  132. phobs says:

    @nctrnlboy: You are astoundingly ignorant.

    “Hindu from a muslim just by looking at them. Middleeasten people tend to look the same to americans”

    Do you understand Muslim and Hindu are religions?

    Do you understand the basis you put forth to defend the woman’s motives in calling the safety of the flight into questions has been deemed illegal in this country?

    Do you understand that the practices you repeat in your posts have also been well established to be illegal?

    Do you understand that I’ve backed up my claims with reputable sources, whereas your views are wholly subjective?

    Do you understand that saying you are not racist doesn’t make it so, when you’ve demonstrated otherwise?

    Do you understand that discriminating against a pool of people does not become more socially or legally acceptable because you decreased it to a number still in the millions?

  133. phobs says:

    @bedofnails: You’ve concluded you’re willing to give up the rights of other people to increase your personal saftety. How brave.

  134. spinachdip says:

    @bedofnails: I’m sure you’re aware of the concept of Acceptable Risk, i.e. it’s perfectly possible to make a plane that can survive pretty much anything, but the cost of producing and operating such a plane would be so prohibitive that it would be completely useless.

    So when we fly, we accept a certain degree of risks for the convenience. We could always make it safer, but it’s just not worth it. FOr the sake of this discussion, let’s agree that flying with a bunch of Arabs is a risk. But how risky is it to fly with Arabs?

    Well, between 2000 and 2005, there were roughly 46 million US-based commercial jet flights. I’m not sure how many of those 46 million flights had Arabs on board, but four Arab-related crashes in 46 million comes out to 1 every 11.5 million flights. Even if we decide arbitrarily, for the sake of our argument, that only half those flights contained Arabs, you’re still looking at less than one Arab-related crash every 5 million flights. Those are pretty good odds, considering you have one in 600,000 chance of being hit by lightning. Plus, all four Arab-related crashes in this decade happened on one day, so you could almost dismiss them as an outlier.

    The point is, millions of Arab-speaking people, many of them with hate in their heart, travel in the US airspace, but planes manage to stay in the air.

    All things considered, riding in planes with Arab boys is just not that dangerous. This is simply another case of people seeing the “man bites dog” story and thinking it’s the norm, and forgetting that millions of “dog bites man” stories go unreported.

  135. Her Grace says:

    @bedofnails: Could you not make gross generalizations for all of us, please? Just because I’m American doesn’t mean I’m an isolationist, racist jerk like you. This may cause shock and awe, but I could not care less what language other people want to converse in, how they want to dress, and what religion they want to practice–and I’m even from the South!

    I think it’s wrong to assume that all people who fit a racial profile may be up to no good. Plain and simple. There are plenty of terrorist groups in the world who are not Arabic, as well. I guess I’m just the product of overeducation in the likes of international politics and linguistics. Now. Where can I get a gun and a pair of overalls?

  136. Wubbytoes says:

    What a moron!

  137. k8supergrover says:

    Is it just me or am I missing the part where it said they were middle eastern? It just says they were speaking arabic. I mean, ok, yes, the reaction of the passengers in question was probably provoked through a combination of language and skin tone/dress/whatever but still…

  138. synergy says:

    Amazing how it’s ok since they were working for the government. It shouldn’t matter whether or not they’re teaching Marines Arabic or whatever it was they were teaching them. A person shouldn’t be harassed for speaking another language.

    @stanfrombrooklyn: Someone who’d complain may not be able to hear the difference between a Chinese speaker and an Arabic speaker, but they shoor kin see if they be slanty eyed or dirty brown. /snark

  139. Egakino says:

    @k8supergrover: Bingo bango, someone gets it. I will say it again ARABIC IS NOT A RELIGION OR ORGANIZATION.

  140. Jesse in Japan says:

    How the hell could these morons even tell it was Arabic? They probably would have just assumed it was Arabic and reacted the same way had it actually been Tamil or Hindi or Afrikaans or French or Klingon.

  141. mconfoy says:

    People can tell if its Arabic or Persian or Hebrew or whatever? I sure can’t.

  142. FMulder says:

    Allah means “God” in Arabic, and the word is used by both Christian and Muslim speakers of Arabic. Not all people who speak Arabic are Muslim, some are stereotypically ‘middle eastern’ looking, others would be easily considered ‘white guys’ with blond hair and blue-eyes (looking less ‘Middle Eastern” than many Italians) and many are without question, black/african.

    Not all Muslims are Arabs – not even most of them – there are masses of Indians, Pakistanis, Malaysians, Indonesians, Turkish, Kenyans, Ethiopians, Chinese, Koreans, Nigerians, Malian, etc. who are Muslim. And they are speaking hundreds of others languages other than Arabic.

    And who are all these folks who can tell the difference between Arabic, and say Swahili, Amharic, Tygrinya, etc?

    I guess if people saw some of you, heard your language, your accents, they could assume you’d be ignorant, small-minded bigots. And while they’d be right about you, they wouldn’t be right about everyone who spoke and looked like you.

    Some people will always use ‘fear’ to justify their racism, religious bigotry and xenophobia. And fear of the unknown wouldn’t be so great, if some many Americans weren’t just completely ignorant about so much of the world’s histories, cultures, religions, languages, etc.

    Many Americans are also ignorant of the history of this country, and the ways that racists, bigots have always used that ‘fear’ thing to justify mistreating non-white people. Indian massacres, land theft, slavery, jim crow racism, all justified by ‘fear.’

    Seems some American traditions are going strong…

  143. Phuturephunk says:

    @nctrnlboy:

    Most people couldn’t pick out an arab from a persian from a Moroccan sephardi jew if their lives depended on it.

    Face it, this woman was HURRR ignorant and easily spooked and that held up an entire plane full of people for a night.

    I get this shit all the time walking around my lilly white suburban enclave for the sin of being non-white and ‘sorta A-rab lookin’ *cue eyebrow raising*.

    And yet, I don’t sit there and stereotype about all white people, even though I easily could.

  144. bucket_of_lead says:

    To echo: Arabic is not a religion. I have family members who can speak an Arabic dialect, but in fact are from Orthodox Christian lineage. This makes for some interesting reactions when ignorant people here in the U.S. suddenly decide that, well, they’re kind of “the good guys.” And like, almost “white.” Fox News loves to bring on an angry Lebanese Orthodox Muslim-bashing commentator from a privileged family from time to time.

    At this point, in fact, Arabic is not one language. It is a collection of dialects, along with what is called Classical Arabic, and many of them are not mutually intelligible.

    Arab is not a race, it is an ethnicity. It is a dominant ethnicity in countries across two continents and Arab people are well-represented in many other parts of the world. Race is a social construct. Race only truly exists in discussions about how people are stratified by dominant ideologies based on ambiguous phenotype criteria.

    I agree that it doesn’t matter that these men were contracted by the government and went through the appropriate screening to instruct U.S. Marines, but I think it punctuates the pre-existing point here pretty strongly.

    And yes, I seriously doubt that the hysterical person responsible for this embarrassment to all U.S. citizens had any idea whether the men were speaking Arabic, Farsi, Azeri, Turkish, Hebrew, Armenian, Assyrian, or a Sami/Lappish dialect, for that matter.

    If not for liability issues, I would have expected her to get out and walk back to the terminal herself. That way, her child might remember and eventually process her irrational and toxic behavior for what it is.

  145. dayjayvw says:

    sorry to all the elitists, but I’ll profile whoever the hell I want. Much in the same way I would expect to be profiled in a middle eastern country, listening to defleppard on my ipod.

    If profiling makes all arabics, muslims, blah blah blah uncomfortable…GOOD. Then we’re doing our job. I really care who TSA checks or profiling offends.

    If they can profile my 3 yearold and pull off his shoes on his way through an airport on the way to disneyland, than they sure as hell better profile 6 guys with long black beards and turbans sitting together speaking arabic.

    DEAL WITH IT, it’s 2007 not 1999 anymore.

  146. Spooty says:

    @Buran:

    Actually, she didn’t hint at that at all when she said, “People, let’s try to behave ourselves on the airplane.” At worst, she was ambiguous – nobody but Meg knows which “people” she was referring to. When I read it, I assumed she meant the *complaining* people. And you assumed the opposite. Maybe you have a chip on your shoulder.

  147. Brookshire says:

    Am I the only one that sees this as it is? In light of current events, 911, I too would be a bit uneasy on a plane were a group of men were speaking Arabic.
    Having said this, these group of men should have known better, they are in American where English is the official language hence because of 911 they should not have spoken in their language on a plane. Lets use common sense here. I would have spoken out against them and got off the plane.
    How the hell would I or anyone have known who they worked for and frankly I wouldn’t have cared.
    Bottom line is this, the men on 911 looked just like everyone else, no one knew where they worked, nor had any fear of them. Until…

    So you guys can defend Arabic speaking people all you want, I will not. It is just the way it is, it was their people that did this to us, so now they must walk a fine line. To me it was asinine for them to even think on a plane they would not have caused problems. Get real here.

  148. QuinnMajuju says:

    I’ AM MEXICAN-AMERICAN BUT EVERYONE TELLS ME I HAVE AN ARABIC FACE. I SPEAK ENGLISH, SPANISH, ARABIC, FRENCH AND PORTUGUESSE……WOULD YOU TAKE ME OUT THE PLANE FOR SPEAKING ARABIC….THAT’S NOT OK.