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"We have to be extra careful with you all..."
May 9, 2013 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Dr. Seema Jilani and her husband recently attended the cocktail reception before the Correspondents' Dinner. When her husband left to attend the dinner, Dr. Jilani realized that he had her keys. And that's where the trouble began.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (137 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: This thread is becoming one big non-productive argument about an incident that we know very little about and it's a lot of heat and no light. Can we maybe try this over in a while when it's something with more there there and not just "wow this is a bad thing that happened to a person" -- jessamyn



 
It's gotten pretty bad when I can predict the entire story based a teasing FPP lead and a non-Anglophone name.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:57 AM on May 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


That's a bummer that happened to her but it's pretty maddening that she doesn't explain what happened after the events she described. What happened when her husband got back? How did she get in eventually? Why would she leave that out? Anyway, security guards can be pretty racist.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:01 AM on May 9, 2013


"We have to be extra careful with you all after the Boston bombings."

What, Caucasians?
posted by fullerine at 8:05 AM on May 9, 2013 [30 favorites]


I read about this yesterday. Sad and infuriating. People can be such assholes.
posted by zarq at 8:06 AM on May 9, 2013


How did she get in eventually? Why would she leave that out?

Why do you assume that she got in?
posted by palomar at 8:10 AM on May 9, 2013


Never mind that the American flag flew proudly outside of our home for years, with my father taking it inside whenever it rained to protect it from damage.

The article, and these comments from the victim herself, make a big deal of her proud "patriotism". Screw that. You don't need to be a patriot to have rights, you just need to be a citizen. Hell, you just need to be human.
posted by Jimbob at 8:10 AM on May 9, 2013 [55 favorites]


This is seriously upsetting. I'd love to see this get more attention and for the people involved to be held accountable.

Also, I doubt anyone needs to be reminded not to read comments on articles like these, but I couldn't help but love this -

From the Gawker comments:
Why didn't she call her husband? There's always a time and place for social justice but this was one of those times that a privileged (in education/standing, apparently) racial minority should have shoved it into the faces of their discriminators. Not that I don't believe her but, come one lady, don't just stand there and cry.
From the fucking article:
They refused to let me through. For the next half hour, they watched as I frantically called my husband but was unable to reach him.

posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:10 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Original article on HuffPo. I would like to know much more about this event.

Please do not bring Gawker comments over here just to roll your eyes at them. You can comment at Gawker to respond to Gawker comments.
posted by jessamyn at 8:12 AM on May 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


Between shit like this happening to Brownish-Americans and the "OMG no green cards for teh gayz in love" bullshit, I'm rapidly losing hope that any sort of immigration reform will get passed.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:13 AM on May 9, 2013


zombieflanders: "I'm rapidly losing hope that any sort of immigration reform will get passed."

Immigration reform will get passed, simply because the alternative is GOP political extinction unless they find a way to get 150% of the white vote.

It's probably not going to be a very meaningful reform bill, but they will end up passing something involving a "pathway to citizenship" (something resembling a paperwork version of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge) and increased funding for the border fence / moat.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:16 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Immigration reform will get passed, simply because the alternative is GOP political extinction unless they find a way to get 150% of the white vote.

The Senate seems to understand that, but the House doesn't, and they have to worry about primaries and the crazies every two years.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:20 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whenever you hear the words "you all" or "you people", you know the conversation is descending to a level of simpleminded bigotry.
posted by eye of newt at 8:22 AM on May 9, 2013


The article, and these comments from the victim herself, make a big deal of her proud "patriotism". Screw that. You don't need to be a patriot to have rights, you just need to be a citizen. Hell, you just need to be human.

Well, if you are an asshole that hates their country and thinks it's a fucked up place out to get you then there is no betrayal. It's what you expect.

If you love the place you live and are proud to be a citizen it sucks when your country doesn't live up to the ideals you believe in.

I too fly a flag and take it in when it rains. I'm also highly critical of every administration and am getting more and more disappointed with the American dream as I get older.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:25 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Senate seems to understand that, but the House doesn't, and they have to worry about primaries and the crazies every two years.

What's tremendously ironic is that the 2010 Republican gains at the state level, causing super-aggressive gerrymandering of districts, is the source of these kooky challengers from the far right, and will likely result in the significant diminishing of the Republican party at the national level.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:26 AM on May 9, 2013


getting more and more disappointed with the American dream as I get older.

Well yeah, naturally. This is because the original American Dream was only available to white people of European descent. As time passes and we all realize that the people who tout america and the so-called american dream as the Best Thing Ever, the people whose ancestors benefited from this dream the most, are unwilling to extend it to people with different religions or different colored skin, there's nothing much you can feel but disappointment. Rage too, I guess.
posted by elizardbits at 8:29 AM on May 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


tonycpsu: " the alternative is GOP political extinction unless they find a way to get 150% of the white vote."

They're working on that.
posted by notsnot at 8:36 AM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


cjorgensen: "I too fly a flag and take it in when it rains."

I always chuckle at houses and businesses that fly the flag day and night, in all weather, tattered, whatever. You do realize that sends the opposite of the message you're trying to portray, right? That and Jesus fish on business buildings.
posted by notsnot at 8:38 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, if you are an asshole that hates their country and thinks it's a fucked up place out to get you then there is no betrayal.

I don't think it's at all necessary to be an asshole to think a country you live in is a fucked up place. There are plenty of people in plenty of countries who are entirely justified in thinking their country is fucked up. Respect is something that has to be earned, and that goes for nation states as much as anything else.
posted by Jimbob at 8:39 AM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


They're working on that.

Two words: Quiver Full.
posted by mkb at 8:39 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


the alternative is GOP political extinction unless they find a way to get 150% of the white vote.

Why bother with that when they can just continue to make it really difficult for people of colour to vote?
posted by asnider at 8:42 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is one of those situations where charm goes a long way, and making a scene and telling people how important you are just makes things worse. I'd be interested to know whether she smiled and was friendly at the beginning or was acting stressed and combative right from the start, as that tends to make security staff sense a threat and dig their heels in.
posted by w0mbat at 8:45 AM on May 9, 2013


The racist things they said, if accurately presented, are inexcusable. There are ranges of acceptable responses between gruff and businesslike and "Here let me help you little lady!" but any sort of "you people" talk is well out of acceptable ranges of responses.
posted by jessamyn at 8:47 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Two words: Quiver Full.

Immigrants from Central/South American are having a whole lot more kids, and since those kids are growing up be called things like "Anchor Babies" and whatnot, they aren't voting for the GOP.

Racist White America is not going to be able to fuck it's way out of this one.
posted by sideshow at 8:49 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The article, and these comments from the victim herself, make a big deal of her proud "patriotism". Screw that. You don't need to be a patriot to have rights, you just need to be a citizen. Hell, you just need to be human.

Actually, you don't even need to be a citizen to have most rights in America. You just have to be human.

Rights however, don't protect you from encountering assholes.
posted by srboisvert at 8:50 AM on May 9, 2013


I'd be interested to know whether she smiled and was friendly at the beginning or was acting stressed and combative right from the start, as that tends to make security staff sense a threat and dig their heels in.

I actually don't think it makes any damn bit of difference how she conducted herself. Security Staff job descriptions do not include racial profiling.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:51 AM on May 9, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'd be interested to know whether she smiled and was friendly was anglo at the beginning or was acting stressed and combative being brown right from the start, as that tends to make security staff sense a threat and dig their heels in.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:52 AM on May 9, 2013 [17 favorites]


This is because the original American Dream was only available to white people of European descent.

Not all white people, after all. The Irish (just to name one) were definitely not considered white. This is what gives me hope, actually, that the "in crowd" will continue to expand until racism is just gone. (Doubtlessly replaced with something just as bad.)
posted by Michael Roberts at 8:52 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


[Don't start making "she was asking for it" analogies, it's one of the nastier parts of rape culture that every thread about women and injustice winds up with people making rape analogies, please stop.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:52 AM on May 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


Security Staff job descriptions do not include racial profiling.

I think we can agree that they SHOULD not, but it's foolish of us to assume that they DO not.
posted by elizardbits at 8:52 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Overall, I think we need to name a few names at this point.
posted by Michael Roberts at 8:53 AM on May 9, 2013


OK, I'm not shocked about the security guards, because even if their judgment about who needs to be kept out is terrible and they did it in a highly unprofessional manner, keeping people out is what they do.

What really surprises me is that none of the women who WERE being let through, some of whom must have seen and heard the author, offered to help. I'd like to think I'd have offered to try to catch up to her husband and send him out with the keys.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:54 AM on May 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is one of those situations where charm goes a long way, and making a scene and telling people how important you are just makes things worse.

I agree with this generally speaking. I'd wager that the encounter didn't evolve quite like she describes, with her being unfailingly polite and the guards just being total racist assholes. But it doesn't matter. She shouldn't be held to a different standard based on her ethnicity.
posted by brain_drain at 8:57 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


What really surprises me is that none of the women who WERE being let through, some of whom must have seen and heard the author, offered to help. I'd like to think I'd have offered to try to catch up to her husband and send him out with the keys.

I'm not really surprised - that ballroom is pretty big. Unless they knew her and her husband personally there would be very little chance they'd be able to find him.
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:59 AM on May 9, 2013


But.. but she waved the flag!

Never mind that the American flag flew proudly outside of our home for years

Why didn't she go to the hotel desk and ask for a new key?
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:05 AM on May 9, 2013


So the women who got in without a ticket... do you think it's more likely that they got in because they were white, or because they were attractive? Not to discount the racism card (there was certainly some of that), but I'd be willing to bet good money they would have let Frieda Pinto in without a ticket. It sounds like she made matters worse by pointing out the hypocrisy of their admittance policy and made herself look more threatening and desperate by pushing the issue. I'm pretty sure no white male is getting into that event without a ticket no matter how good looking he is unless he's a recognizable celebrity.
posted by banished at 9:08 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why didn't she go to the hotel desk and ask for a new key?

This is entirely not the point.
posted by sunshinesky at 9:08 AM on May 9, 2013


Car keys Charlie.
posted by adamvasco at 9:09 AM on May 9, 2013


Why didn't she go to the hotel desk and ask for a new key?

She never specified which keys her husband had.

Was she just looking to cause an incident?

Why would she be? Does her account of the incident sound to you like she was having fun? Like it was something she was hoping would happen?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:10 AM on May 9, 2013


I think we can agree that they SHOULD not, but it's foolish of us to assume that they DO not.

There's a very fine line between "it's foolish to assume that security guards wouldn't act this way" and "she should have assumed the security guards would have acted this way and so this is ultimately her fault." I just don't like how close the discussion is coming to that line.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:14 AM on May 9, 2013


So the women who got in without a ticket... do you think it's more likely that they got in because they were white, or because they were attractive? Not to discount the racism card (there was certainly some of that), but I'd be willing to bet good money they would have let Frieda Pinto in without a ticket.

Setting aside the fact that this is barely tangential at best, a quick glance at her Facebook page shows that, at least to me and likely by most conventional standards, she's quite attractive.

It sounds like she made matters worse by pointing out the hypocrisy of their admittance policy and made herself look more threatening and desperate by pushing the issue.

And this assumption, even if it was true, relates to them being racist how?

I'm pretty sure no white male is getting into that event without a ticket no matter how good looking he is unless he's a recognizable celebrity.

And you'd be wrong.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:16 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I read about this at my desk at work yesterday and had to stop myself from saying "you bunch of racist shitfucks" out loud.

It sounds like she made matters worse by pointing out the hypocrisy of their admittance policy and made herself look more threatening and desperate by pushing the issue.

Yeah, she should have just stayed silent and taken it, right? Not caused a fuss? Should have just turned around and walked away? Ugh.
posted by fight or flight at 9:16 AM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Can we make immigration reform retroactive? Whitey, go home.
posted by Eideteker at 9:20 AM on May 9, 2013


Stiletto heels to the nuts probably wouldn't have made anything better in that situation, but goddamn did those jackasses have it coming. Ugh.

I feel like I need a shower, and all I read was the HuffPo piece.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:22 AM on May 9, 2013


Blaming people of color for the racism they experience is seriously fucked up and you should stop doing it.
posted by medusa at 9:22 AM on May 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


This is entirely not the point.

It's entirely not her point.

After about 1 minute of futile argument with the Secret Service, trying to get into a room with the President that I knew in advance I would not be admitted to, I would have figured it was easier to just take 1 minute at the hotel desk to get a new key. But of course this is just my white male privilege speaking, taking advantage of a system created by white Europeans for their own convenience: servants at hotels issuing replacement keys.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:24 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would have figured it was easier to just take 1 minute at the hotel desk to get a new key.

The hotel desk did not have her car key.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:25 AM on May 9, 2013 [21 favorites]


Security Staff job descriptions do not include racial profiling.

Is this actually true?

I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if, at best, there was nothing at all about racial profiling in this job description. They're quite possibly given a "use your judgment" kind of instruction.

Even if that's the case, it's pretty assholish. If there's reason to suspect a person of evil intent, the proper thing isn't to deny her entry. It's to call the authorities.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:25 AM on May 9, 2013


Keys. Plural. As in the ones that open your front door and make your car go.

Jesus.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:26 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


charlie don't surf: "But.. but she waved the flag!"

It's not a matter of that and if you read the article you know it.

She's making a reasonable point that she went into at length. She should not be forced to prove her devotion to this country, or her non-criminal/non-terrorist/non-threatening status because of her ethnicity.

We should not condemn people without due cause. Certainly not solely based on the color of their fucking skin.
posted by zarq at 9:28 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


After about 1 minute of futile argument with the Secret Service,

She was not arguing with the Secret Service. Per the Huffington Post article, she was talking to the security staff for the event, who at one point threatened to call the Secret Service and have her thrown out.
posted by cjelli at 9:29 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The let white people in. They didn't let her in. The difference was their race. That is racist.

That's the gist of the story.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:29 AM on May 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


The hotel desk did not have her car key.

Also, I'm pretty sure that an accomplished pediatric physician who writes for the fucking Huffington Post would be able to figure out that she could get a new key from reception.
posted by fight or flight at 9:31 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The let white people in. They didn't let her in. The difference was their race. That is racist.

Another difference was that she told them that she didn't have a ticket.
posted by Jahaza at 9:32 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


After about 1 minute of futile argument with the Secret Service, trying to get into a room with the President that I knew in advance I would not be admitted to, I would have figured it was easier to just take 1 minute at the hotel desk to get a new key. But of course this is just my white male privilege speaking, taking advantage of a system created by white Europeans for their own convenience: servants at hotels issuing replacement keys.

FFS, she's talking about car keys and hotel security.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:32 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another difference was that she told them that she didn't have a ticket.

Please refer back to the article, particularly this part:
My suspicion was confirmed when I saw the men ask a blonde woman for her ticket and she replied, "I lost it." The snickering tough-guy responded, "I'd be happy to personally escort you down the escalators ma'am."
posted by fight or flight at 9:34 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Another difference was that she told them that she didn't have a ticket.

Oh, lord, is this the point of the thread where the "I'm going to display how much I did not RTFA" brigade jumps in? Check it (emphasis mine):
Then something remarkable happened. I watched as they let countless other women through -- all Caucasian -- without even asking to see their tickets. I asked why they were allowing them to go freely when they had just told me that I needed a ticket. Their response? "Well, now we are checking tickets." He rolled his eyes and let another woman through, this time actually checking her ticket. His smug tone, enveloped in condescension, taunted, "See? That's what a ticket looks like."

When I asked "Why did you lie to me, sir?" they threatened to have the Secret Service throw me out of the building -- me, a 4'11" young woman who weighs 100 pounds soaking wet, who was all prettied up in elegant formal dress, who was simply trying to reach her husband. The only thing on me that could possibly inflict harm were my dainty silver stilettos, and they were too busy inflicting pain on my feet at the moment. My suspicion was confirmed when I saw the men ask a blonde woman for her ticket and she replied, "I lost it." The snickering tough-guy responded, "I'd be happy to personally escort you down the escalators ma'am."
posted by zombieflanders at 9:35 AM on May 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've had it happen to me personally, and the stereotype is so common you see it portrayed in movies and television all the time. Big, baldheaded muscular bouncer... lets the beautiful women cut in line and get in (without paying cover). Men are pushed aside and don't get in, unless they're paying cover, or unless they know the bouncer, or unless they're bringing more than one beautiful woman to the club. I don't doubt that she's attractive by conventional standards, but this is not a conventional event. As a white male, I don't turn that into a race thing when the bouncer is happy to let my attractive girlfriend in but not me. Has nothing to do with race.

Did you catch the part in the article where the one bouncer offers to accompany a young lady down the elevator? That had nothing to do with security or race, or anything else. She was hot, and the bouncer wanted some time with her. If you're flirty and attractive, and you can stroke the security's ego you get in.
posted by banished at 9:36 AM on May 9, 2013


Oh, lord, is this the point of the thread where the "I'm going to display how much I did not RTFA" brigade jumps in? Check it (emphasis mine):

You mean the part where you condescend to people who did read the article?
posted by Jahaza at 9:37 AM on May 9, 2013


if she had just been hotter or had nicely asked one of these national guard people to 3D print her a new car key then none of this would have happened ok
posted by brain_drain at 9:37 AM on May 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


The other woman said she lost her ticket, i.e. she claimed to be authorized to go down, but had lost her credential. Dr. Jilani on the other hand had told security she was not authorized to go down.
posted by Jahaza at 9:38 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you read the article, then you must be aware of its contents, which doesn't jibe with what you are writing here. Somewheres there is a disconnect.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:39 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The other woman said she lost her ticket, i.e. she claimed to be authorized to go down, but had lost her credential. Dr. Jilani on the other hand had told security she was not authorized to go down.

yes, of course, it's the tiniest shred of nitpicking that will, in the end, defeat all racism
posted by elizardbits at 9:39 AM on May 9, 2013 [19 favorites]


It's pretty strange to try to find not racially motivated explanations for the behavior of the security guards, considering that they straight-up told her it was because of her race.
posted by Ragged Richard at 9:40 AM on May 9, 2013 [16 favorites]


Well we can't see into the security guards head, so we can't REALLLY know its racism when they do something racist and say they are doing something racist because of their race... see?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:42 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's pretty strange to try to find not racially motivated explanations for the behavior of the security guards, considering that they straight-up told her it was because of her race.

After she had called them liars and accused them of racism.
posted by Jahaza at 9:42 AM on May 9, 2013


Jahaza,

What would satisfy you? What information or evidence do you need to convince you that the security guards were acting in a racist matter?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:44 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jahaza: " After she had called them liars and accused them of racism."

One does not justify the other. They're still being racist and unprofessional. From the article:
When I asked why the security representatives offered to personally escort white women without tickets downstairs while they watched me flounder, why they threatened to call the Secret Service on me, I was told, "We have to be extra careful with you all after the Boston bombings."

posted by zarq at 9:44 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


One does not justify the other. They're still being racist and unprofessional. From the article:

And it also doesn't dismiss the other.

She doesn't have a right to go past the security because she's a doctor and her husband is a "noted journalist." Yes, the security guards where unprofessional, yes, they are probably racists, that doesn't mean they have to let her in to the area where she's not supposed to be.
posted by Jahaza at 9:46 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you're flirty and attractive, and you can stroke the security's ego you get in.

I'm sorry, please correct me if I'm wrong, but are you actually suggesting that if Dr. Seema Jilani had just, I don't know, pushed out her boobs a little bit, made some batty eyelashes at the security guards, she would have got in? And that it is her fault she didn't do that? That the answer to systemic institutionalized racism is to cater to systemic institutionalized patriarchal bullshit instead?

Again, please correct me if I'm wrong.
posted by fight or flight at 9:48 AM on May 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


Men are pushed aside and don't get in, unless they're paying cover, or unless they know the bouncer, or unless they're bringing more than one beautiful woman to the club.

Point out in the article where this happens.

I don't doubt that she's attractive by conventional standards, but this is not a conventional event.

By DC standards? Sure it is.

As a white male, I don't turn that into a race thing when the bouncer is happy to let my attractive girlfriend in but not me. Has nothing to do with race.

Yes, you're right, a white man knows exactly when something has to do with race. Brilliant insight, there.

Did you catch the part in the article where the one bouncer offers to accompany a young lady down the elevator? That had nothing to do with security or race, or anything else. She was hot, and the bouncer wanted some time with her. If you're flirty and attractive, and you can stroke the security's ego you get in.

Between the physical descriptions of the bouncers, the narrative about all the white men being turned back, and the part describing the blonde woman flirting, it's clear you're reading some alternate version of the article that contains all of this information. Could you link us to it so that we can get the clarification you obviously have?

After she had called them liars and accused them of racism.

So actually admitting to being racist is OK as long as someone accuses you of it?
posted by zombieflanders at 9:48 AM on May 9, 2013


that doesn't mean they have to let her in to the area where she's not supposed to be.

No one is arguing that she should have been allowed in without proper authorization. We're arguing that it is racist of the guards to 01) say that she is being watched closely due to her race and 02) allow other people in without proper authorization because they are white.

Stop pretending that PoC's have nothing to be angry about because other perceived injustices exist.
posted by elizardbits at 9:48 AM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


She doesn't have a right to go past the security because she's a doctor and her husband is a "noted journalist." Yes, the security guards where unprofessional, yes, they are probably racists, that doesn't mean they have to let her in to the area where she's not supposed to be.

But apparently a white woman does.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:49 AM on May 9, 2013


She claims to be the guest of a ticketed attendee. She claims to be unable to leave the premises until she meets physically with the attendee. "Sure, go on through" may be too much to hope for, but "I'll escort you to your husband" or "we'll see if we can page him" would certainly be more reasonable than "LOL fuck you, and BTW we're not checking white people's tickets."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:49 AM on May 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


No one is arguing that she should have been allowed in without proper authorization.

Yes, someone is, Dr. Jilani.
posted by Jahaza at 9:50 AM on May 9, 2013


After she had called them liars and accused them of racism.

A WILD TONE ARGUMENT APPEARS!
posted by elizardbits at 9:50 AM on May 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


Jahaza: " She doesn't have a right to go past the security because she's a doctor and her husband is a "noted journalist."

I never said she did. I never said they should.

My point was that they shouldn't be enacting a double standard for people because of the color of their skin. Or their ethnicity. Which they stated outright was the reason they weren't letting her in: "We have to be extra careful with you all after the Boston bombings."
posted by zarq at 9:51 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


A WILD TONE ARGUMENT APPEARS!

No, it's not a tone argument. It's a reliability of description of interior states argument. You don't reliabily get to the inner motivations for someone's actions after you accuse them of being a liar and a racist in an argument at a security barrier. It's not a calm reflective situation.
posted by Jahaza at 9:51 AM on May 9, 2013


"I'm pretty sure no white male is getting into that event without a ticket no matter how good looking he is unless he's a recognizable celebrity."
And you'd be wrong.

Zombieflanders, it's clear you're reading some alternate version of the article that contains all of this information. Could you link us to it so that we can get the clarification you obviously have?
posted by banished at 9:52 AM on May 9, 2013


Yes, someone is, Dr. Jilani.

Again:
My suspicion was confirmed when I saw the men ask a blonde woman for her ticket and she replied, "I lost it." The snickering tough-guy responded, "I'd be happy to personally escort you down the escalators ma'am."
So: Dr Jilani not allowed, blonde woman gladly escorted down while Dr. Jilani is mocked.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:53 AM on May 9, 2013


My point was that they shouldn't be enacting a double standard for people because of the color of their skin. Or their ethnicity. Which they stated outright was the reason they weren't letting her in: "We have to be extra careful with you all after the Boston bombings."

And my point is that that is offered ex post facto after she has a) already told them she doesn't have a ticket b) denied entry without reference to her race or color and c) accused them of denying entry because of her race/color and of being liars.
posted by Jahaza at 9:53 AM on May 9, 2013


Why am I assuming they are racists just because they are white? I think I am probably the real racist here.

If she had just stopped being so not white they would have let her in. I don't know why she is making such a big deal here.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:54 AM on May 9, 2013


You don't reliabily get to the inner motivations for someone's actions after you accuse them of being a liar and a racist in an argument at a security barrier.

So if she'd been polite and quiet and respectful and known her place then maybe things would have worked out differently, I guess.
posted by elizardbits at 9:54 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yes, someone is, Dr. Jilani.

Dr Jilani is not in this thread, to my knowledge. I did not realize you were addressing your dismissive comments to her directly instead of the people discussing the issue in this thread.
posted by elizardbits at 9:55 AM on May 9, 2013


She should have just shut her mouth after they let plenty of white people in without checking their tickets. Being indignant about being treated unfairly is NOT COOL.

/s
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:57 AM on May 9, 2013


So, to recap, racism was not on display (or if it was, it wasn't a big deal), because:

- She could have just gone to the hotel desk and had them give her new keys to her house and/or car, jeez lady do I have to think of everything

- They told her they were only letting in people who had tickets, and she told them she didn't have a ticket, and a blonde woman also told them she didn't have a ticket, but the blonde woman admitted to not having a ticket in a different way that makes it all right for her to be escorted in

- Let's face it, we've all called a woman in an evening dress a terrorist because she correctly observed that we were giving preferential treatment to white people, so that's no big deal

- And anyway, the way to stop racism is to let white people push you around, and then go away without at any point asserting your basic humanity

- A bouncer will do you favors if you're an attractive woman, which is too bad for Dr. Jilani, who as you can see from this video is a swarthy hag and probably looks even more nightmarishly awful in a formal dress and makeup
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:57 AM on May 9, 2013 [19 favorites]


Did you catch the part in the article where the one bouncer offers to accompany a young lady down the elevator? That had nothing to do with security or race, or anything else. She was hot, and the bouncer wanted some time with her. If you're flirty and attractive, and you can stroke the security's ego you get in.

So you're saying this was her fault?

It sounds like she made matters worse by pointing out the hypocrisy of their admittance policy and made herself look more threatening and desperate by pushing the issue.

So you're saying this was her fault?

This is one of those situations where charm goes a long way, and making a scene and telling people how important you are just makes things worse. I'd be interested to know whether she smiled and was friendly at the beginning or was acting stressed and combative right from the start, as that tends to make security staff sense a threat and dig their heels in.

So you're saying this was her fault?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:58 AM on May 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


Maybe I'm just a weird outlier but I think if someone accused me of racism my response would not then to be a racist fuckbag.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:59 AM on May 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


Shakes dude you are a weird outlier though.
posted by elizardbits at 10:01 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow, I read about this story on Reddit. I did not expect to see the kind of comments I see from Jahaza and others on Metafilter of all places. Seriously, what could possibly justify saying to someone "We have to be extra careful with you all after the Boston bombings," based simply on the color of their skin? Nothing can. The rest is really irrelevant.
posted by peacheater at 10:01 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


So: Dr Jilani not allowed, blonde woman gladly escorted down while Dr. Jilani is mocked.

Again, there is a key difference between losing a ticket and not having a ticket. If I forget my work ID, they get someone to escort me. If I don't work here, they don't let me in.

Yes, she was treated badly. That doesn't mean everything that happened to her was wrong.

I did not realize you were addressing your dismissive comments to her directly instead of the people discussing the issue in this thread.

My comments are not "dismissive," it's disagreement.

Your sarcastic "yes, of course, it's the tiniest shred of nitpicking that will, in the end, defeat all racism" does seem a bit dismissive though.
posted by Jahaza at 10:01 AM on May 9, 2013


To recap: If a woman calls you racist and then you are a racist, it is her fault.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:03 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


So we're in agreement, that the security guards were acting unprofessionally, inappropriately, and were being racist.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:04 AM on May 9, 2013


Again, there is a key difference between losing a ticket and not having a ticket. If I forget my work ID, they get someone to escort me. If I don't work here, they don't let me in.

How interesting, every time I've lost a ticket to an event, I haven't been let in. I'm white, so that can't be the problem... maybe I'm just not attractive enough.
posted by palomar at 10:04 AM on May 9, 2013


Again, there is a key difference between losing a ticket and not having a ticket.

There doesn't seem to be any evidence that the woman who said her ticket was lost ever had a ticket.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:04 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Again, there is a key difference between losing a ticket and not having a ticket.

And how did security verify that she had a ticket in the first place?

Yes, she was treated badly. That doesn't mean everything that happened to her was wrong.

So you're saying this was her fault?
posted by zombieflanders at 10:04 AM on May 9, 2013


Her first "mistake" was the immediate disclosure in saying she didn't have a ticket and more importantly, in a way that indicated that she wasn't invited to the event.

And for the rest, I've worked customer service, and people's attitude, regardless of color, do wonders for my helpfulness. For someone who is demanding and confrontational, they will get no more out of me than the bare minimum I have to begrudgingly give them. For someone who is kind, I will bend over backwards to assist them.

Note that the blonde stated by her admission of "I lost the ticket" that she was invited to the event, and so it would make sense to me that the guard could accompany her down to cross reference this information at guest check-in, whereas this would not be applicable to the author.

The racist comments, however, are completely unprofessional, and if true, the guard should be reassigned, suspended or perhaps terminated, in my opinion.
posted by Debaser626 at 10:05 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


So we're in agreement, that the security guards were acting unprofessionally, inappropriately, and were being racist.

Yep, I haven't disagreed with that once.
posted by Jahaza at 10:05 AM on May 9, 2013


Jahaza: "And my point is that that is offered ex post facto after she has a) already told them she doesn't have a ticket b) denied entry without reference to her race or color and c) accused them of denying entry because of her race/color and of being liars."

It should not have been offered at all. It should never have been raised as a factor. The fact that it was said by security is a huge red flag that she was being treated unfairly, simply because of her race.

I've both worked security and handled press / event guest entry at events where politicians, celebrities and the Secret Service were all present. Security at events like this do not function autonomously of each other or of the Secret Service. Security typically has walkie-talkies. So does anyone handling guest check-in and/or venue entrances. The Secret Service pretty much requires that in-house security be connected with each other and have quick and easy access to their agent liaisons.

The guards could have and should have attempted to have her husband paged. In fact, the hotel might have been able to do so without them. Barring that, one of them could have asked her to wait patiently until they could either escort her themselves, or gotten an escort for her. This isn't an unreasonable request. It would appear that they escorted another guest downstairs with nothing more than her word that she was on the guest list and forgot her ticket.

Instead she was treated like a potential terrorist.
posted by zarq at 10:05 AM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


It seems pretty clear cut to me. They should have offered to escort her or send someone to find her husband. Instead they treated her as if she had no right to be there at all. I can guarantee you that if one of those other women had said "Yeah I don't have an invite, but I need my keys" they would have made every accommodation.

Nobody has any obligation to bend over backwards to justify these guy's behavior. Why are people so willing to give them any benefit of the doubt but not Dr. Seema Jilani.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:08 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


A bouncer will do you favors if you're an attractive woman, which is too bad for Dr. Jilani, who as you can see from this video is a swarthy hag and probably looks even more nightmarishly awful in a formal dress and makeup

We need to consider the serious possibility the security team just wanted more face-time to talk with with Dr. Jilani. I mean, honestly.
posted by crayz at 10:12 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


How interesting, every time I've lost a ticket to an event, I haven't been let in. I'm white, so that can't be the problem... maybe I'm just not attractive enough.

According to the fucking article, other women (who were white) who were saying they'd left their ticket behind at their table got escorted to their table to prove it, and thus were permitted back into the event. Jilanni was not offered that option.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:13 AM on May 9, 2013


It should not have been offered at all.

Yeah, Zarq, I feel like you know me well enought that you should be willing to give me a little good faith on the fact that I get this point.

The fact that it was said by security is a huge red flag that she was being treated unfairly, simply because of her race.

Yes, it's good evidence that she was treated unfairly. It's not good evidence that she was kept out because of her race.

Instead they treated her as if she had no right to be there at all.

She did, in fact, have no right to be there at all, if "there" is "on the other side of the security barrier" where she wanted to go.
posted by Jahaza at 10:13 AM on May 9, 2013



She did, in fact, have no right to be there at all, if "there" is "on the other side of the security barrier" where she wanted to go.


Well also the hallway, since they threatened to have her thrown out by the secret service. As if the secret service is there to eject crying women.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:15 AM on May 9, 2013


According to the fucking article, other women (who were white) who were saying they'd left their ticket behind at their table got escorted to their table to prove it, and thus were permitted back into the event. Jilanni was not offered that option.

Because she didn't have a ticket. There was a reception beforehand that she had been invited to and gone to. This security barrier was for admission to the dinner for which she did not not have a ticket for, though her husband did. The other women were escorted to prove that they had tickets/were authorized. Whether she would have been treated similarly if she had a ticket is hypothetical.
posted by Jahaza at 10:15 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Zarq, I feel like you know me well enought that you should be willing to give me a little good faith on the fact that I get this point.

And yet, you continue to press the point about "lost" vs. "never had" as if that explains away everything.

Yes, it's good evidence that she was treated unfairly. It's not good evidence that she was kept out because of her race.

Apart from the white woman not being kept out.

She did, in fact, have no right to be there at all, if "there" is "on the other side of the security barrier" where she wanted to go.

Neither did the white woman, but you're not exactly jumping down her throat.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:15 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, it's good evidence that she was treated unfairly. It's not good evidence that she was kept out because of her race.

Why skip the part where the guard said the thing about "you people" and Boston?
posted by rtha at 10:16 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's a point at which it's clear that further discussion is not going to do anything other than make someone dig in their heels. By my estimate, that was about forty comments ago.
posted by Slothrup at 10:16 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now I'm all disoriented because I thought the post was about racism and islamophobia and not about proper doorcheck procedure
posted by shakespeherian at 10:17 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Neither did the white woman, but you're not exactly jumping down her throat.

Again, the other person claimed to have a ticket and was escorted in (presumably to prove that they were authorized.) She did have a "right" (in a loose sense).
posted by Jahaza at 10:17 AM on May 9, 2013


Whenever security pulls me aside simply based on the way I look, I should call this what if not race-ist, color -ist or ethnic-ist?
posted by infini at 10:17 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The other women were escorted to prove that they had tickets/were authorized.

Again, the other person claimed to have a ticket and was escorted in (presumably to prove that they were authorized.) She did have a "right" (in a loose sense).


What part of "I watched as they let countless other women through--all Caucasian--without even asking to see their tickets" didn't make sense to you?
posted by zombieflanders at 10:18 AM on May 9, 2013


What basis did they have for assuming her claim was accurate and not utterly false? What differed between the white woman and Dr Jilani?

Was it maybe race?
posted by elizardbits at 10:19 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


What part of "I watched as they let countless other women through--all Caucasian--without even asking to see their tickets" didn't make sense to you?

Exactly, this is THE key point.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:19 AM on May 9, 2013


What part of "I watched as they let countless other women through--all Caucasian--without even asking to see their tickets" didn't make sense to you?

The part where she told them she didn't have a ticket.
posted by Jahaza at 10:19 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


What basis did they have for assuming her claim was accurate and not utterly false? What differed between the white woman and Dr Jilani?

She told them that she didn't have a ticket.
posted by Jahaza at 10:20 AM on May 9, 2013


[Folks, please don't turn this into Jahaza vs. everyone.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:20 AM on May 9, 2013


It must be mentally and emotionally exhausting to come up with all these specious reasons why racism isn't actually the problem nonwhites think it is.
posted by elizardbits at 10:21 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


You're just going to keep ducking the part where the guard said that because of "you people" and Boston she couldn't even get an escort, aren't you.

I give up. You should too.
posted by rtha at 10:21 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why are people so willing to give them any benefit of the doubt but not Dr. Seema Jilani.

Well, to be fair, the vast majority of the people in this thread are giving absolutely no benefit of the doubt whatsoever to anybody but Dr. Jilani. Have we heard anything from those she's accusing of gross unprofessionalism and shockingly blatant racism? Does their word count for anything at all if they deny her claims?

I suspect the reason that some people wonder a bit about her account (other than just contrarianism) is the rather unfortunate whiff of "don't you little people know who I AM" in her blog post. I think it's kinda understandable, of course, if you're writing in the white-hot rage of having been mistreated in this way that you'd feel the need to stress how self-evidently you're not a dangerous person, but it is unfortunately true that it doesn't come across as persuasively as a more "gee, shucks, I know these security people have a tough job and all, but in THIS case..." presentation would have done.

Anyway, if her account is accurate, or even largely accurate, a whole bunch of people need to be fired. Not only because of the blatant racism of the whole thing but because letting people without tickets into the White House Correspondents' dinner is just an amazingly stupid and dangerous thing to do. If the security guys do dispute her claims I hope for their sakes they've got the whole encounter on video. (Come to think of it, wouldn't the whole thing be on video? At the very least the claim that white people were being waved through without even having their tickets checked should be verifiable.)
posted by yoink at 10:22 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


They didn't let her down before they knew that she didn't have a ticket.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:22 AM on May 9, 2013


I too wish that there wasn't the "race" problem for us small brown south asian women (with our mother's pressure cookers ;p)
posted by infini at 10:22 AM on May 9, 2013


She told them that she didn't have a ticket.

Are you saying she should have just walked past instead of at least trying to follow procedure? you are probably right.

Then again if I were a doctor I would be flashing my AMA card all the time like Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut.

I should have been a doctor.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:23 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


They didn't let her down before they knew that she didn't have a ticket.

Nope.
I approached the escalators that led down to the ballroom and asked the externally contracted security representatives if I could go down. They abruptly responded, "You can't go down without a ticket." I explained my situation and that I just wanted my keys from my husband in the foyer and that I wouldn't need to enter in the ballroom. They refused to let me through.
So, having asked if she could go down, being told she needed a ticket and "explaining her situation," she wasn't let in.
posted by Jahaza at 10:26 AM on May 9, 2013


Why skip the part where the guard said the thing about "you people" and Boston?

The guard actually said "you all" which is a rather more ambiguous phrase.
posted by yoink at 10:26 AM on May 9, 2013


Well, to be fair, the vast majority of the people in this thread are giving absolutely no benefit of the doubt whatsoever to anybody but Dr. Jilani. Have we heard anything from those she's accusing of gross unprofessionalism and shockingly blatant racism? Does their word count for anything at all if they deny her claims?

Absolutely true, and it's a shame that there aren't any outsider reports on the incident. But the issue for me in this thread, and what I believe is also the issue for many others, is that the situation as it was described by Dr Jilani seems to be very racially motivated. There is no doubt in my mind that racism plays a large part in the purported behavior of the security guards. Whether or not this behavior is true to life, whether or not it is being accurately reported. And others in this thread seem to be saying that this racism, real or alleged, simply does not exist in the given example.

I don't like that.
posted by elizardbits at 10:27 AM on May 9, 2013


The guard actually said "you all" which is a rather more ambiguous phrase.

Maybe he knew that she runs marathons?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:28 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, having asked if she could go down, being told she needed a ticket and "explaining her situation," she wasn't let in.

Why are you putting "explaining her situation" in quotes like that? You doubt she told them "look, I just need to get into the lobby and get my car keys from my husband"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:28 AM on May 9, 2013


Whether or not this behavior is true to life, whether or not it is being accurately reported.

It seems to me important to deal with the thing itself, not just the report.

And others in this thread seem to be saying that this racism, real or alleged, simply does not exist in the given example.

Who?
posted by Jahaza at 10:28 AM on May 9, 2013


The guard actually said "you all" which is a rather more ambiguous phrase.

It's less ambiguous when you consider that it was in response to being pressed on why white women were let in but not her.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:28 AM on May 9, 2013


It seems pretty common that something that is attributable to racism draws a lot of people trying to explain why it probably wasn't racism at all. The most generous explanation that I have is that being treated in a racist way is so incredibly strange that if you've never had anybody do it, you would assume that it doesn't exist.

I mean it is strange, isn't it? For somebody to look at you and make this really broad assumption that has nothing to do with you at all? Not your demeanor, not how you talk, not how you're dressed, but your ethnicity. But it happens all the time.

For what it's worth, I've done a little security work at much much lower level venues, and if some lady kept insisting that she had to get a car key from her husband, even without a ticket, I would probably have tried to find some way of either contacting her husband, or called my boss over and handed him the problem. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have made broad, racist statements.
posted by Comrade_robot at 10:29 AM on May 9, 2013


The most generous explanation that I have is that being treated in a racist way is so incredibly strange that if you've never had anybody do it, you would assume that it doesn't exist.

Yeah, I've been treated in a racist way.
posted by Jahaza at 10:29 AM on May 9, 2013


Yeah, which means they didn't let her in before they knew that she didn't have a ticket. I guess if you want to assign blame (and that seems to be what you desperately want to do) then she should have never asked the security guards anything. But I dont know what the point would be.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:29 AM on May 9, 2013


the situation as it was described by Dr Jilani seems to be very racially motivated

No question about that. If her account is correct then this was a decidedly appalling incident.
posted by yoink at 10:30 AM on May 9, 2013


Why are you putting "explaining her situation" in quotes like that? You doubt she told them "look, I just need to get into the lobby and get my car keys from my husband"?

Sorry, should've been "explain[ing her] situation". It's, roughly, a quote from the article.
posted by Jahaza at 10:31 AM on May 9, 2013


Yeah, which means they didn't let her in before they knew that she didn't have a ticket.

That's not in her account of the incident. She approached the security guard and asked if she could go in. They said not without a ticket, which is not denying her entry, as if she had a ticket then she could have gone in. Then she explained her situation, which presumably includes the fact that she didn't have a ticket and they didn't let her in.
posted by Jahaza at 10:33 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Jahaza, please take a break from this thread for a bit. Your point has been made.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:35 AM on May 9, 2013


They said not without a ticket, which is not denying her entry, as if she had a ticket then she could have gone in. Then she explained her situation, which presumably includes the fact that she didn't have a ticket and they didn't let her in.

It also includes the fact that she wasn't even trying to get into the event proper, just across the lobby to her husband so she could get her car keys from him. I notice you keep persisting in overlooking that fact and simply saying that "they didn't let her in". She wasn't even trying to get "in".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:36 AM on May 9, 2013


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