The perpetrator of this hostility was an actor. The victim was an actor. The whole incident was trumped-up, rendering the significance of the reactions suspect to say the least. ABC could not, you see, count on a veiled Muslim woman encountering hostility anywhere in this U.S. — otherwise, they could have simply sent her into a few stores and filmed the uncanned reaction. So they had to create an “Islamophobic” store clerk as well, to guarantee the outcome they wanted.
Then they highlight the negative reactions with nary a hint that the Muslim community in the U.S. might have the power to change such boorish and hostile reactions — by being more transparent, by being more honest, by being more specific and forthright in opposing the jihad ideology — if it indeed does. Obnoxiousness is obnoxiousness, but when people turn on the news and see rage and threats of murder over cartoons, and terrorist act after terrorist act committed in the name of Islam, they aren’t blind. They shouldn’t react by verbally abusing some random Muslim woman in a store, but the idea that all this is some example of gratuitous racism is ridiculous.
Note also that the “skyrocketing” rate of hate crimes against Muslims is largely trumped-up. And of course while ABC’s companion piece to this one relies heavily on “information” from CAIR, there is no mention of CAIR’s unindicted co-conspirator status, or its connections to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, or the convictions of various of its officials on terror-related charges.
“Witness to Discrimination: What Would You Do? Bystanders Turn Away When Muslim Actor Hired By ‘Primetime’ Encounters Hostility,” by Ann Sorkowitz and Julie N. Hays for ABC (thanks to Kemaste):
The Sept. 11 attacks, the Iraq war and suicide bombings worldwide have changed not only the way we live but the way we look at those around us, especially Muslims. “Islamophobia” has entered the American vernacular, and the anti-Muslim attitudes and prejudice it describes remain common.
But what if you witnessed “Islamophobia” in action and saw someone being victimized because of someone else’s prejudices? What would you do?
ABC’s production crew outfitted The Czech Stop, a bustling roadside bakery north of Waco, Texas, with hidden cameras and two actors. One played a female customer wearing a traditional Muslim head scarf, or hijab. The other acted as a sales clerk who refused to serve her and spouted common anti-Muslim and anti-Arab slurs.
The polarity of reactions was shocking, from support to seething disapproval. Never did we expect customers to be so passionate or candid.
Our actor, Sabina, walked into the bakery in search of apple strudel. When she reached the counter, an actor posing as a sales clerk was quick to greet her with hateful anti-Muslim language.
“Get back on the camel and go back to wherever you came from,” he said. “You got that towel on your head. I don’t know what’s underneath your dress. Just please take your business and go elsewhere with it.”
“Sir, I am an American, I was born and raised here,” she said.
The other customers seemed to hear the exchange but they barely looked toward our actors. When no one came to her defense, Sabina made a direct appeal to one customer.
“Sir, would you mind ordering me an apple strudel? That’s why I am here,” Sabina said.
Though visibly shaken by the hateful words, the man gave Sabina the cold shoulder, completed his purchase, and walked out of the bakery. “I really think that a person who owns his own business should be able to say who they sell to,” he said after we told him about the experiment. In fact, it is illegal for public establishments to deny service based on someone’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, according to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Regardless, this man was not the only customer to defend our sales clerk’s “right” to discriminate.
A Narrowly Defined America
A little while later, Sabina again entered the bakery, and again our sales clerk refused to serve her. This time, one man spoke up, but not on behalf of the Muslim woman. He was adamant that our sales clerk did the right thing. “She wasn’t dressed right,” he said. “If I was running the place I’d do the same thing.” Once again, our sales clerk garnered customer support. After Sabina left the bakery seemingly frustrated and empty-handed, one man thanked the sales clerk for his discriminatory behavior. He then gave our actor a thumbs-up, not once, but twice. Jack Dovidio, a social psychologist at Yale University, said these men seemed to define “American” based on the way people look. They connected with the sales clerk and considered our female actor an outsider. “When we as Americans feel threatened from the outside, we’re going to define ourselves in very rigid fashions,” Dovidio said. “Either you’re with me, and if you’re not really one of me, then you must be somebody else who’s against me.”
A Very Different America
The young woman in our experiment was an actor, but many of the hateful words she heard were based on the experiences of Chicago-born Nohayia Javed, who was watching our experiment from the control van. Javed said she has continually suffered verbal abuse and said she has even been physically attacked by fellow Americans just because she is Muslim. “They always start off with, ‘you’re a terrorist, Osama-lover, towel-head, camel jockey’ on and on,” Javed said. “If I tell them I’m American, they’re like, ‘No you’re not. Just because you were born here doesn’t make you American.’ And I’m like, ‘What makes you American?'”
Javed is not alone. The number of anti-Islamic hate crime incidents in the United States has more than quadrupled from 28 incidents in 2000 to 156 incidents in 2006, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most recent figures….