But then came 9-11, a day when brown-skinned Americans like me, people of South Asian and Middle Eastern origin (not to mention anyone else who could belong to the all-encompassing category of ‘potential terrorist’) came to know what our African American brothers and sisters said was the experience of (or, as in the case of Trayvon Martin, ). Random screenings and checks stop feeling so random when they happen each and every time one goes to the airport. That became the reality of ‘Flying while Brown.’
I could list all sorts of other incidents of ‘flying while brown’ – like of a turbaned Sikh gentleman at the airport along with the comment “Not on my watch, homeboy!” Or being detained, along with her two Indian seat-mates, on the assumption that three brown folks sitting together must be up to no good. Or like (again and again) because his name isn’t John Smith, but Azeem Khan.