Laura Hershey: Writer, Poet, Activist, Consultant Rotating Header Image

On Airports and Personhood

Realizing it’s been too long since my last blog post, I was going to comment on the fact that for some reason, the White House has apparently given two different jobs, two pretty important jobs, to one person. I’ll still try to write about that, probably this weekend. (Remind me, okay?)

But first, I have to react to a well-written and infuriating blog post by Canadian activist Dave Hingsburger. Seems Dave was sitting in his wheelchair in an airport, minding his own business, when an overzealous security guard came along and commandeered Dave’s luggage. When Dave objected, the guard explained that luggage could not be left unattended. Dave pointed out that he was right there, attending his own luggage. As the exchange escalated, it became painfully clear that, based on disability, the guard regarded Dave as essentially a non-person, unqualified to supervise his own suitcases.

I’ve spent a few thousand hours in airports myself over the years. For some reason, when I think about disempowering environments, airports rank right up there with hospitals and Social Security offices.

About a year ago, I wrote a poem about the kind of dehumanization I frequently experience in airports. So far I’ve had no luck getting it accepted for publication, so I’ve decided to post it here — as a gesture of solidarity with Dave.

    [NOTE: I’ve taken down this poem because it is under consideration for possible publication in a literary journal.]

2 Comments on “On Airports and Personhood”

  1. #1 Jesse the K
    on Mar 28th, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Oh, that poem speaks so precisely to the airport experience! Thank you.

  2. #2 Ellen S
    on Apr 2nd, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    It’s all so true! Thank you, Laura!

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