White House racism: Muslim wife claims bigotry at Correspondents' Dinner

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com  |  Updated May 9, 2013 at 7:26 AM
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Physician Seema Jilani called out the White House for racism at the high-profile Correspondents' Dinner in an article she published on the Huffington Post.

As a spouse, she was not invited to the dinner portion of the event, and when her husband left for the ballroom, he accidentally took Jilani's keys with him. When she tried to reach him, security told her she could not enter without a ticket.

She spent 30 minutes trying to get the attention of her husband, and claims that security repeatedly allowed white women into the ballroom area without checking their tickets. When Jilani asked why, she says they threatened to have the Secret Service remove her from the building.

Then, Jilani says she saw a "blonde woman" approach security and say that she lost her ticket, and the guard allegedly replied, "I'd be happy to personally escort you down the escalators ma'am."

When Jilani asked why security offered to personally escort white women without tickets, she claims she was told, "We have to be extra careful with you all after the Boston bombings."

"I explained that I am a physician, that my husband is a noted journalist for a major American newspaper, and that our guest was an esteemed, Oscar-nominated director. They did not believe me."

Jilani went on to say that despite "being a native English speaker who was born in New Orleans" she has to prove daily that she is not a terrorist just because she isa brown-skinned Muslim.

Jilani's guest at the Correspondents' Dinner was Oscar-nominated director of "Beasts of the Southern Wild," Benh Zeitlin.

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