OH dearie, dearie me... I've been called "RACIST" (yes, in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS!!) by Ubergirl87. Since the topic was "profiling" - I thought it was an interesting topic to explore.
I do not deny that something called "Racism" exists. But the definition of "Racism" does not include simply categorizing someone. Let's be honest here - we can't describe someone without making SOME distinction between that individual and other individuals. Calling someone "Blonde" doesn't mean that anyone who is NOT blonde is lesser or greater of a person - they just have a different hair color.
Imagine the conversations if we were NEVER allowed to identify anyone without giving offense:
"Hey Sally - see that ... um... individual over there? Give them this envelope"
"Ken? Which individual?"
"Sally, I'm not a racist!! I would NEVER stoop to mentioning someone's PHYSICAL description!"
"Ken, just tell me - is this person tall or short?"
"That's HEIGHTIST Racism, Sally! For shame!"
"Ok, just - does the person have dark or light hair?"
"Sally! That's STYLEism Racism! Let us just say that it is the individual approximately 2 meters SSW of the doorknob of the door leading to the anti-racist envelope delivery depot"
There are now, and always have been, people who will judge the moral/intellectual/financial worth of other people based solely upon physical characteristics. This is what Racism means. This is what is bad - measuring the HUMAN WORTH of an individual based only on their color/height/weight/eyes/hair or other purely PHYSICAL characteristics.
Now, we all make some judgements of folks based on looks. In fact, we do this every day, consciously or sub-consciously. What constitutes a "Hottie" or a "Hot Babe"? What male, given the choice, would choose a date with Rosie O'Donnel over the "A" squad of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders? Personal dating preferences are inbred - whether someone looks "hot" or not is in the eyes of the beholder, and I do believe that SOME of it is "nurture" - we are conditioned by our environment to prefer certain physical "types" - but some just seems to be "nature" as well. I know that thin, pale, blonde men just never appeal to me. *shrug*
Primarily what Ubergirl87 was complaining about, however, was being asked to remove her shoes before being allowed to board an aircraft in Austria. She seems to indicate that she was singled out for this indignity because she is a Saudi, which would not have been the case here in the US. Here we ALL have to take off our shoes, our jackets, and make sure we have no metal on us, and aren't carrying such deadly weapons as a small pair of nail clippers, a tube of toothpaste, or *gasp* a bottle of Evian.
Now, it is possible that in Austria, the only people being asked to submit to this are in fact, those of Arab nationalities or appearance, and considering that the so-called "terrorist groups" are now said to be attempting to recruit disenfranchised "Prep School" looking white kids to do their suicide bombing thing, this may backfire in their faces.
So how is it that *I* - Sewmouse - She Who Doesn't Give A Damn What ANYBODY Looks Like - was called a "racist"? Well, I had the audacity to remind her that while a very, very tiny minority of Saudis have committed terrorist acts in or against America, the mastermind of 9/11/01 was, in fact, Saudi. She can thank him for the indignities that she endures as a result of HIS decisions.
While it is true that not 100% of all Saudi's are mindless terrorists, it is also true that almost 100% of all mindless terrorists who have flown commercial airliners into high-rise buildings were, in fact, SAUDIS, and absolutely 100% considered themselves Muslims.
If someone robs my house, and I catch a glimpse of him leaving, and I tell the police "He was about 6'5" tall, 320 lbs., white male with dark hair wearing a green shirt, black pants, boots and with a tattoo of a gorilla on his left hand..."
Do you really think it is likely that they will get their best possible results by pulling in short black women with dyed-blonde hair wearing spandex muu-muus and 12 inch platform wedgies?
[italicized parts are edited.]