A black Washington state woman claims she was a victim of racism at the airport when she was singled out for a search -- of her hair.
Laura Adiele said she went through one of those new scanner machines at Seattle-Tacoma Airport last week, but then a TSA agent said she had to undergo an additional search.
"When I first heard her say, 'We're going to have to pat you down,' I thought she was talking about my body," Adiele told KING-TV. "I was turning around and putting my arms out and she said, 'no, we're going to have to examine your hair,' and I said, 'no, we're not going to do that today and you're going to have to get security or your supervisor.'"
The supervisor came, and said they needed to search her hair -- an afro tucked up into a bun.
"The supervisor shows up and she says, 'It's our policy that we examine anything that poofs from the body,' and I'm looking around me at all these women with bigger hair if you will and I'm thinking 'why am I the only one being singled out here for poofy hair?" Adiele said.
Adiele claims it was because she was black. She said other women with "big hair, ponytails" were not searched. Not wanting to miss her flight, she gave in.
"They put the gloves on and now they're really just digging around in my hair and I'm like, arrgg! Why is this happening?" said Adiele.
Adiele filed a complaint, but has not yet heard back about it. A TSA spokesman told KING that it takes accusations of racism seriously, but in this case, it appears the agents were just doing their jobs.
He also points out that there are very specific descriptions of "head-coverings" in TSA guidelines, and that the agency is very clear that any coverings that raise concerns could be subject to further examination.