On February 22, Canadian YouTuber Jasmeet Singh, aka JusReign, was stopped at a San Francisco airport after the TSA called him into a private room for an secondary security screening and forced him to removed his turban.
Singh took to Twitter and alleged that despite being cleared in the private room, he was then made to walk across the terminal without his turban.
On February 24, Singh took to Instagram and wrote a powerful message about what happened at the airport, and how it felt.
Sunday night I was taking a flight back from San Francisco to Toronto and was stopped by security and ordered into additional screening. Now this is nothing new to me, as I'm a brown dude who flies quite often and these types of extra screening and searchings are regular occurrences. In this specific case however I was asked to remove my turban so it could go through an additional extra check. my first inclination was to say nah, I had a flight to catch and taking off a turban and tying it back on before a flight would be inconvenient. I asked to have a pat down instead (i get my clothes patted down, and those too are made of cloth, never asked to remove those) the manager insisted that either I would take off my turban and or I would be escorted back into the public area and I could book a flight with a different airline or airport.
They provided a private screening room, and after they had done a complete body search and scanned my turban through another x-ray... they came back and told me I was good to go.
It was at this point I asked for a mirror to retie my turban again, because unlike a hat or a shoe, tying a turban back on takes time and skill (great skill, only the manliest of men know) plus I gotta make sure i look extra crispy and good ALWAYS (my motto in life, most of the time when I'm not lazy of course) The officials responded that they don't provide mirrors and one of them had even told me to walk down the nearest bathroom at the other end of the terminal, in public, without my turban on. Which completely defeats the purpose of being in a private room in the first place... why "undress" me and then tell me to walk out "undressed" to the nearest bathroom to retie my turban again? The turban is a sign of royalty, respect, dignity, courage and has a huge significance for my people.
I followed all the security protocols, asked whatever they wanted me to do, the issue isn't JUST with the fact that I was asked to remove the turban (however silly it still is) but with the lack of respect and insensitivity when I asked for a simple request like a mirror to tie it back on again.
also fun fact: no one has ever found anything dangerous in a turban... ever.