Wednesday, February 11, 2009
On this day:

Confronting prejudice in Arab, Alabama

From CNN:
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Hailey Woldt put on the traditional black abaya, expecting the worst.

The last time she'd worn the Muslim dress that, with a head scarf, covered everything but her face, hands and feet, she was in Miami International Airport, where the stares were many and the security check thorough.

This time, she was in a small town called Arab. Arab, Alabama, no less.

"I expected people to say, 'What is this terrorist doing here? We don't want your kind here,' " said Woldt, a 22-year-old blue-eyed Catholic, recalling her anticipation before stepping into a local barbecue joint. "I thought I wouldn't even be served."

Instead, Woldt's experiment in social anthropology opened her own eyes. Apart from the initial glances reserved for any outsider who might venture through a small-town restaurant's doors, her experience was a pleasant one.

And so it seems that the real prejudice here was not held by those rural Alabamians who were the subjects of this delusional academic experiment, but rather by those who conducted it. Those of us who actually live in Alabama aren't the least bit surprised.