Surprising result in Canadian Muslim profiling experiment

Are you afraid of a hat? Should you be? Image by Nafis Kamal of old Bangladeshi man with a grey beard, wearing a white Muslim cap. Creative Commons

Are you afraid of a hat? Should you be? Image by Nafis Kamal of old Bangladeshi man with a grey beard, wearing a white Muslim cap. Creative Commons

OK, the video shared below may not represent serious social science. I would add the tag line “Hey kids, don’t try this at home.” All that aside, it represents an interesting, if flawed, experiment.

As most already know, Canadians were recently shaken by  two separate, deadly incidents that were carried out by so-called “self radicalized” Canadians. In response, a York University student tried his own experiment with a scenario and video titled “Canadians React to Ottawa Shooting Racism”.

As reported by the CBC, Omar Albach set out to test “…if people feel safe to be around Muslims or people who look like Muslims.”

See for yourself what happened

As social experiments go, I would argue that this one blended stereotyping and bullying. Bystanders seemed to be reacting to both provocations.

It’s too much to claim that this proves anything about all Canadians or how feelings could change if more and more random attacks take place. But now that Canadians are grappling with a serious problem of terrorism at home, it suggests some hope for keeping a sense of perspective.

Least anyone think Canada has got the “we can all get along” thing down pat, there have been incidents of anti-Muslim threats and vandalism in recent days. And consider this item about another type of racial profiling that is still an age-old problem in parts of Canada.

Tags: , , , , ,

10 Comments on “Surprising result in Canadian Muslim profiling experiment”

Leave a Comment
  1. S. N. Smith says:

    Meh — I argue that Canadians, no matter where they live, have a greater chance of being hit by lightening than being a victim of a terror attack. Too many other things to worry about.

  2. Ken Hall says:

    “It’s too much to claim that this proves anything about all Canadians”

    I think it demonstrates that Canadians are much less prone to accede to the “brain washing”, that “they” hate us because we are “free”, beamed towards them via TV and radio than are US citizens.

    Doing such an experiment in a US city would likely have produced results akin to the Milgram obedience experiments at Yale University back in the early 60’s.

  3. Jim Bullard says:

    Those who allow themselves to be trapped into believing stereotypes are not “free”. They are slaves to propaganda and narrow mindedness..

  4. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Canada has been very good about taking refugees from conflict zones and terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere. The irony is that those refugees are probably the least likely to be terrorists but the most likely to be profiled by some.

    Sadly, escalation of tensions in the region is what encourages people to become terrorists and Obama’s work to resolve tensions in Israel/Palestine, with Iran, in Pakistan/India, in Egypt… has gotten little recognition. Canada has been on this agenda for a long time.

  5. Mervel says:

    The more we look at this we have to start thinking about the basic reasons young men (usually men not always) become radicalized, why they become Islamic Extremists or for that matter any number of other types of religious or political extremists. From what I have read and what I personally believe, is that it is not political or inherently religious; it is due to the basic alienation inherent in fully secularized materialistic cultures, such as most western democracies. I’m not laying fault here, but just looking at core reasons.

  6. The Original Larry says:

    Radical Islam’s implacable hatred of Israel encourages people to become terrorists. Our support for Israel involves us. By the way, can you remind me of some of the things Obama has done to relieve tensions in the Middle East? I can’t remember one of them.

  7. Mervel says:

    Two issues really. Young people educated in the West, often times upper middle class, who decide they want to die fighting for this cause. The other issue is our middle east policy politically. They are kind of related, but maybe not.

    When it comes to the Middle East, I don’t think we have ever done anything that has worked? It seems like the more we try the worse it gets.

  8. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Up until WW2 we had very few problems in the Middle East.

  9. Two Cents says:

    well, good experiment, but I noticed it escalated to physical violence, before it “ended”.
    if the altercation wasn’t able to be immediately difused with the shout out of “social experiment”, it may have turned into a full blown rumble?
    that tells me that when justification is felt, violence is most always lingering over the limited human response horizon as an acceptable solution.
    to me that outshines the muslim = terror vs. the rest of the civilized world, thingy.
    it goes to the core of one of a primates’ worst traits.

    that annoying man/thing wouldn’t go away. he/it was wrong, so I hit him/it.
    the philosophy that seems to be embraced by both sides in any conflict, certainly the middle east.

    I think it would go down pretty much the same way in the states, certainly in urban ny.
    if this was a college project, the man with the bloody nose gets an a+, the lumberjack who punched him gets to take a civil science course at the local adult education center.
    we have these big heads, but ultimately we don’t use them to stop our fists.

  10. Pete Klein says:

    I can probably bother a lot of people by offering why it is usually men who become radicalized Muslims.
    Islam is perfect for men who want to subjugate women. They want women to obey them. They feel threatened by the modern woman. Since they aren’t much when it comes to being real men, the only way they think they can stay on top of women is by pushing them down.

Leave a Reply