This weekend marks the beginning of the ‘laptop ban’ for flights travelling to both the US and the UK from the Middle East, but the way this was hastily implemented belies that there wasn’t too much thought that went into this new edict. Not only is this ban severely inconvenient, it is also detrimental to those who are flying for work and are looking to not let the flight interrupt their work, or other important tasks.

If the US or the UK even attempted to qualify the ban with a reasonable argument supporting the move, it might have been less problematic. But no study, or even statement from government circles has conclusively proven that a laptop ban might lead to a decrease in incidents of terrorism at all. The use of electronic devices in terrorist operations has been a well-established fact throughout history, but airport security has managed to circumvent this in the past. What has changed now? Was there an incident that could have been avoided if this ban was in place? Was there some scientific risk identification that led experts to believe that laptops are somehow a flight risk? These security measures are clearly biased against some, and only in place out of sheer laziness. There are even accusations that the ban is about economics – to damage airline companies in the Middle East. UAE, which comes under the ban, has massive international traffic through Dubai Airport, one of the safest airports in the world.

What this tells us is that the colour of one’s skin and their religious belief system has now become a perfectly acceptable method of screening, which is nothing short of racial profiling, except that the term has lost all of its significance since the US stepped up its campaign of fear mongering and hate, citing security lapses as the primary motivator. Two world powers are now wholeheartedly endorsing racial stereotyping, and this will have lasting effects on the international community’s perspective regarding issues of race and security.

And as painful as it would be for some to hear, the laptop ban does nothing to prevent tragedies such as the London attack and many others carried out in the west. If anything, this isolates an entire ethnicity much more than in the past, which means that there is even likelier chance for terrorist organisations to find sympathisers or willing participants from groups that are marginalised. The US and UK are only alienating more and more people, by regressive polices that are undoing important progress the world had made regarding stereotypes and not letting preconceived notions trump simple common sense.