McCain case shows mixed race families still face bias

National News

February 8, 2019 - 12:25 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — Cindy McCain has apologized after she claimed she stopped a case of human trafficking at the Phoenix airport when she reported a toddler with a woman of a different ethnicity and “something didn’t click.” Police said they investigated but there was no evidence of a crime.

The incident draws attention to the suspicion that parents, relatives, nannies and others face when they travel with children who don’t look like them. That it happened to McCain, who adopted a daughter from Bangladesh and is recognized globally as an advocate for ending human trafficking, illustrates the challenge of being vigilant without triggering concerns about racial bias.

“I came in from a trip I’d been on,” McCain said on Phoenix radio station KTAR. “I spotted — it looked odd — it was a woman of a different ethnicity than the child, this little toddler she had. Something didn’t click with me. I tell people ‘trust your gut.’ I went over to the police and I told them what I thought, and they went over and questioned her, and by God she was trafficking that kid.”