Pakistani Actor, Riz Ahmed Opens Up About Being Discriminated Against By Homeland Security
By Kelsey Marie
Riz Ahmed, known as the actor from HBO’s “The Night Of”, has opened up about his experiences with being discriminated against.
The Pakistani descent actor says he’s often stopped and searched at airports — this includes a time when he was blocked from boarding a flight by Homeland Security on his way to a “Star Wars” convention in Chicago.
Ahmed shares his experiences being swabbed by airport security guards for explosives during a diversity leadership event hosted by the CAA Foundation and the Ford Foundation called Amplify. He also shares that right after being searched, the security guards would ask him for selfies or start rapping his lyrics.
The importance of Muslim representation was also discussed while Ahmed was onstage with comedian Hasan Minhaj at Amplify.
“He can win a Peabody (Ahmed points to Minhaj); I can win an Emmy; Ibtihaj Muhammad can go to the Olympics, but some of these obstacles are systematic and we can’t really face them alone, we need your help. I’m basically here to ask for your help, because it’s really scary to be a Muslim right now, super scary. I’ve often wondered, is this going to be the year when they round us up, if this is going to be the year they put Trump’s registry into action. If this is going to be the year they ship us all off.”
Tan France, of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” is another Pakistani celebrity that has shared his experiences with racism while being both a flight attendant and traveler.
“This was a couple of years after 9/11, and they had no qualms about openly referring to my people as terrorists. The flight would start off well enough, but by the end of the flight, it would be clear they weren’t so happy I was the one serving them,” says France in his new memoir.
France has also shared in his memoir about being discriminated against at the U.S. customs desk.
Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie