Your source of all sorts of odd news, the Daily Mail has this little gem from up the lake in Kingston, Ontario:
A Canadian college student recently conducted a social experiment to see if people treated her differently if she wore a hijab — a traditional Muslim veil that covers a woman’s head and chest — and what she discovered was a bit unexpected.
Anisa Rawhani, a third-year student at Queens University in Ontario, wore the traditional Muslim garb for 18 days in January as she worked at the university’s library, visited stores and restaurants near the campus and as she did volunteer work with local children.
According to Rawhani — who conducted the experiment to see if people in her community were racist towards minority groups — she noticed that people actually treated her more kindly and with more respect than when she didn’t wear the hijab.
Rawhani, who is not Muslim, wrote about her experience wearing traditional Muslim clothing in the March edition of the Queen’s Journal, where she works as a copy editor — the article is titled ‘Overt to Covert.’
Fortunately, as the Queen’s Journal account makes clear, she was able to get a clear explanation of the phenomenon from a professor:
Leandre Fabrigar, an associate professor in the department of psychology at Queen’s, cited “impression management” as a possible explanation for my experience.
He explained that often individuals who harbour biases, but fear social disapproval, will publicly act respectfully towards minorities. “Impression management is when [someone] very strategically, and usually quite deliberatively, tries to manage the impressions that others have of [them],” he said.
Impression management is focused on manipulating others’ perception of the self, but there are more genuine reasons why someone would be kinder towards minorities. Fabrigar said that sometimes individuals realize that they harbour biases, or other unwanted influences on their behaviour. Then, when interacting with members of minority groups, they experience an internal conflict between their negative biases and the egalitarian values that they believe in.
So the fact that Rawhani didn’t encounter overt forms of discrimination actually proves that the people she was interacting with in her Islamic disguise are hugely bigoted, hate-filled wretches who just don’t want to show it. Cool, got it, thanks.