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Government-sponsored ethnic and racial profiling in the form of computerized and behavioral screening initiatives implemented as a response to 9/11 has led to the subjection of minorities to increased scrutiny and suspicion in American airports. In the name of national security, safety protocols are being enacted in non-uniform ways that disproportionally infringe on minority passengers’ civil liberties and reinforce harmful racial stereotypes. Focusing on the dissonance between basic freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the security policies implemented by the federal government, this Note argues that the disparity in scrutiny received by minority travelers is counterproductive because it reinforces racism and ethnocentrism as social norms and fails to ensure a consistent level of protection for all passengers. This Note ultimately advocates for a federal government mandate that delineates a universal, race-blind standard for the level of scrutiny (and accompanying procedures) that all passengers should be subjected to while traveling aboard commercial aircraft.


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7 Sep 2022
291 kB



  • Subject
    • Civil Rights and Discrimination

  • Journal title
    • Boston College Third World Law Journal

  • Volume
    • 30

  • Issue
    • 1

  • Pagination
    • 103

  • Date submitted

    7 September 2022