Friday, February 29, 2008

If you can't find the bigotry, create the bigotry

I made the mistake of watching T.V. the other night. ABC News ran a program called What Would You Do?. It's a lot like Candid Camera, where actors are sent out to create certain situations, and then we watch the reactions of passersby: Do they get involved? Do they keep on walking?

There was one scenario in a public park where some "mean girls" are verbally picking on a dorky girl. Would passersby come to the aid of the dorky girl? Another scenario had a woman damaging another car as she parallel parked, and then walked away from the accident. Would passersby stop her, or take down her license number, or keep on walking?

Then there was the Muslim in the Waco, Texas bakery. On one side of the counter you have an actress in a hijab playing a customer. On the other side of the counter, you have an actor playing a clerk/cashier. The clerk refuses service to the Muslim customer and uses every corny anti-Muslim cliche in the book: "Get on your camel, and take your Jihad outside." "How do I know you're not a terrorist? Dress like an American!" Reactions from other customers varied. Some defended the clerk, others defended the Muslim customer, and most didn't get involved.

ABC did this to show what racist bigots we Americans are. To make matters worse, they used the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as their collaborator in this little venture. Never mind that several staff members of CAIR are in prison for terrorist activities, and spokespeople for CAIR have expressed their wish that the United States operate under Sharia Law instead of our Constitution.

What bothers me most about this "refuse to serve the Muslim customer" scenario, was that in order to make it happen, ABC had to hire actors. Last year, NBC sent a group of Muslim men in typical Muslim garb to a NASCAR event in southern Virginia with the obvious assumption that them yokel local rednecks would give thaim Moooslems the what-fer. Much to NBC's chagrin, nothing happened, and the Muslim men enjoyed a peaceful time watching some cars speed around in a circle.

I am not saying that no anti-Muslim bigotry exists in this country; incidents happen. But not very many, and in fact, since September 11, 2001, incidents have dropped big time. The following graphic comes from Investor's Business Daily:

What I take from these numbers is that Muslims in the United States have little of which to be afraid. Jews on the other hand? I have an idea for another experiment: Let's send an actor dressed as an observant Jew - complete with beard and yarmulke - into a business in, say, Dearborn, Michigan. Let's put a Muslim actor behind the counter and have him refuse to serve the Jew and throw insults at him. Let's watch the fun as we wait for the customers in the establishment to come to the aid of the Jew.

Now that I think about it, I don't think this experiment could be done. While the Muslim actress may have been merely inconvenienced at the bakery in Waco, the Jewish actor could be in real danger in Dearborn.

Good Day to You, Sir

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