Air travel just got a little easier for Black women. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced yesterday that it would stop targeting Black women’s hair when conducting pat-downs at airports.
The announcement comes less than three months after the ACLU of Northern California filed a report with the TSA after receiving complaints from various Black women who claimed that they were targeted for pat-downs because of their hairstyles, such as Afros, locs and twist-outs. Victims claim that it is an invasion of privacy.
The security agency said that it would be re-training its employees on reasonable searches, particularly focusing on Black women. It also promises to closely monitor all airports for any further instances of discrimination.
“The humiliating experience of countless Black women who are routinely targeted for hair pat-downs because their hair is ‘different’ is not only wrong, but also a great misuse of TSA agents’ time and resources,” said ACLU of Northern California attorney Novella Coleman in a press release.
Malaika Singleton, who was highlighted in the ACLU’s complaint, said that she was sporting sisterlocks when a TSA agent ran his hands through her hair from top to bottom. She is grateful for the newfound re-training.
“I hope that this agreement and the proposed trainings will lead to a more equitable treatment of all travelers throughout the U.S., regardless of their ethnic or cultural background and or how they wear their hair,” Singleton said in a statement.