Recently, Dutch YouTubers Dit is Normaal performed a social experiment intended to draw out prejudice against Islam in Denmark. The performers read outdated, old passages from the Christian Bible but disguised the book as the Koran. The response was not unexpected: participants revealed a prejudice against followers of the Koran and against Islam. This is a very real prejudice that exists, and not just in Europe—in the United States, too, where it most notably manifests in the form of internet comments and Donald Trump.
People who responded to the readings from the secret Bible said that the passages they heard were more “aggressive” than what could be find in the Christian text; the Bible was considered more “peaceful” and more “positive.” When Dit is Normaal revealed that the book they were reading from was not, in fact, the Koran, participants were visibly shocked and surprised.
Most participants laughed at the discovery, but one voiced the connection well: “It’s all just prejudice, really. I always try not to be prejudiced myself apparently I already am,” he said. What’s useful about the video is that it makes worldwide prejudice against Muslims physical, palpable, real. And not just in the United States.
The interesting news, though, is that Muslim Americans are widely recognized in the U.S. as victims of discrimination. 73 percent of people polled by Economist/YouGov acknowledged that Muslims and people of Middle-Eastern descent were strongly disfavored by culture at large. Meanwhile, only 63 percent of Americans believe African-Americans feel prejudice; 60 percent believed Mexican-Americans were also victims of prejudice.
What’s interesting and possibly inferred by the video and the poll is that everyone carries bias, especially against Muslims, at least right now. So while most people believe minorities face prejudice, it is likely that they themselves are the ones carrying that prejudice, even if they don’t know—or aren’t willing to acknowledge—it.
Be mindful of the world around you and your part in it.