American Airlines Throws Ivy League Economist Off Plane For Doing Math

Ivy League economist Guido Menzio has reportedly been removed from an American Airlines flight and interrogated after being found in possession of algebra.

Menzio had been seated next to a female passenger on the plane who became suspicious that her dark-skinned fellow traveler was writing in a script with which she was unfamiliar. The female passenger then reported Menzio immediately and secretly to cabin crew as a suspected terrorist. She left the plane, citing illness as her excuse. Meanwhile, other passengers began to grumble at the delay. A short while later, Menzio was also escorted from the plane on grounds he would only be made aware of later.

When security began to interrogate him about the woman who had left — so far as Menzio knew — due to illness, he believed he was playing a role in supporting their inquiries as to her condition. But they then revealed it was Menzio who was under suspicion and being interrogated as a suspect terrorist.

As the Washington Post reports:

Had the crew or security members perhaps quickly googled this good-natured, bespectacled passenger before waylaying everyone for several hours, they might have learned that he — Guido Menzio — is a young but decorated Ivy League economist. And that he’s best known for his relatively technical work on search theory, which helped earn him a professorship at the University of Pennsylvania and stints at Princeton and Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

They might even have discovered that last year he was awarded the Carlo Alberto Medal, given to the best Italian economist under 40. That’s right: He’s Italian, not Middle Eastern, or whatever heritage usually gets racially profiled on flights these days.

The suspicious scrawl which so perturbed the female passenger and flight crew was nothing more than math. Algebra to be precise.

The renowned economist said of his experience in a Facebook post:

It’s a bit funny. It’s a bit worrisome. The lady just looked at me, looked at my writing of mysterious formulae, and concluded I was up to no good. Because of that an entire flight was delayed by 1.5 hours.

Trump’s America is already here. It’s not yet in power though. Personally, I will fight back.

Manzi becomes the latest among a litany of Muslim and non-Muslim people to have their lives interrupted and they character made suspect by the sort of casual racism and fear promoted by not only Donald Trump, but much of the mainstream media and conservative political class. After the horrors of McCarthy era America, we would hope the nation would have learned a valuable lesson on restraint. It appears not.


Featured Image via Flickr Creative Commons/Penn Arts and Sciences