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Prologue

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 March 2021

Cigdem V. Sirin
Affiliation:
University of Texas, El Paso
Nicholas A. Valentino
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
José D. Villalobos
Affiliation:
University of Texas, El Paso
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Summary

It all started with a news story. We were scrolling through the news in 2011 when we came across the story of Irum Abbasi, a headscarf-clad US citizen of Pakistani descent, being escorted off a plane by a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent because a flight attendant allegedly heard her say “It’s a go” on her cell phone just before takeoff. Abbasi explained that she had actually said “I’ve got to go” when the flight was ready to depart. Despite the fact that TSA agents cleared her to fly after searching her bag and patting down her headscarf, the pilot and crew would not let her back on board, claiming that she made them feel uncomfortable. Abbasi reported feeling humiliated and overwhelmed by this treatment. She missed her flight from San Diego to San Jose, where she was working on a graduate degree in psychology at San Jose State University. The mother of three later stated: “This time they said ‘we weren’t comfortable with the headscarf.’ Next time, they won’t be comfortable with my accent or they won’t be comfortable with my South Asian heritage.”

Type
Chapter
Information
Seeing Us in Them
Social Divisions and the Politics of Group Empathy
, pp. 1 - 5
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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