Arabic Script

"I grew up under authoritarian governments in the Middle East, and one of the reasons I chose to move to the US was that I don't want an officer to make me change my t-shirt."

I have a tough time with this story. From a completely customer service point-of-view, I sympathize with the Jet Blue employee. If a large number of your customers are complaining about something, you typically want to appease them. And, if your customers are saying "Negligence to meet this to my satisfaction means I fear for my life," then there's no way you can tell your customers (as a business), "Well, your perceptions are wrong and you should think about your right to freedom of speech."

However, I agree that a guy should be able to wear any shirt he wants on a plane. Of course, if a passenger got on a plane and his shirt said "I have a bomb and am going to blow up this plane," I wouldn't want him on the plane. Of course... that's not what his shirt said. But I don't know that... so as a passenger I do want confidence that the airline would be observant of the other passengers and the messages they are presenting.

I think this sort of thing is a wake up call; we as passengers in mass transit are entrusting our security in the hands of a pilot, bus driven, train... person... (conductor? is that the right term?). If we are having international terrorism and if we honestly think the language on a person's shirt could be indicative of their intentions... then maybe the airport SHOULD have a linguist who can read arabic. That seems the simplest solution here... if someone could have just read his shirt and confirmed that it didn't have an ulterior message, then all this could have been averted.

Well, of this except the other passengers personal biases and wonderment at why a guy with arabic script on his shirt would be on their plane...