According to internal communications obtained by the Flipside, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has asked all its agents to curtail their systemic racial profiling of Middle Eastern-looking travelers in order to prioritize doing the exact same thing but now for Chinese ones.
The ongoing spread of the coronavirus prompted the policy change, leaked emails reveal. “Desperate times call for desperate measures,” TSA director Rick Villa writes in one, “and in such times, we must abandon those core values which we hold most dear — for instance, racistly profiling anyone who wears garments that remind us of the Middle East, speaks a language that could conceivably be Arabic, or honestly just happens to be a brown person and gives us the willies.”
Instead, TSA leadership is now calling for all employees to redirect their full attention toward travelers who are speaking Chinese in a way that “suggests they’re suspiciously Chinese,” are wearing face masks and look “suspiciously Chinese underneath said mask,” are from China and haven’t traveled outside America in the last few months “but since they’re from China are still suspicious,” have a “Chinese-esque complexion (as in they look Chinese and stuff — use your best judgment),” or — most importantly — who are entirely unaffiliated with China “but potentially had some ancestors several generations ago who happened to live in China.”
Although the TSA will deploy general guidelines for spotting coronavirus borrowed from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the administration intends to also detain and quarantine people with something called “yellow fever,” defined as “having a fever while simultaneously looking Chinese.”
In response to a request for comment, a TSA representative clarified that by “Chinese” the administration actually means anyone who “looks remotely like a descendant of people from any country in Asia, such as Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and everywhere else ‘over there.’”
Following the publication of the TSA’s new policies, the general public has also subscribed to the indisputable logic of such profiling and followed suit en masse.