Guess what happens when you dress in Muslim garb and go out in a tiny Alabama town.


I guess I’m pitting two things.

  1. I’m pretty sure that particular BBQ joint only serves pork. Would a “traditional” Muslim even walk through the doors?

  2. What the fuck? Are people still this goddamn ignorant about the South?

I’m from Alabama, and set to graduate from UA in May. I’m in an African American Studies class, and a black girl in my class (early 20’s) talked about growing up in Arab where her white neighbor put moth balls in the yard, as the smell would spook the “piccaninnies” into playing somewhere else.

My great aunt puts gargoyles in her front yard to scare black people.

The state’s a lot better than many people think, but it is still backwards in a lot of ways, especially small towns like Arab and Selma. I agree that the idea of going out in Muslim garb and expecting to be chased out with pitchforks and bibles is really silly, but it’s not entirely unwarranted.

The best BBQ I’ve had in my entire life was just outside of Arab. I still have dreams about it.

Why not? If Sturgeon’s Law means anything at all, it means that 90% of the population is going to be pig-ignorant about pretty much anything you could name.

I was under the impression that a white barbecue sauce used on chicken was popular in Alabama and, thus, one could expect to order it in such a place? Regardless, I have known Muslims who dress hijab yet didn’t always eat halal. It’s not entirely unheard of.

But the “social experiment” aspect of this all makes me roll my eyes.

I’m from Alabama. Born and bred. I graduated from UA with my Master’s 10 years ago. I am currently working on my PhD at UAB. I lived in Montgomery for my entire childhood. I’ve lived for significant periods of time in Montgomery, Auburn, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Scottsboro, Bridgeport, and now Birmingham. I’ve also lived out of state (Washington, DC), and I spent part of my childhood in Oklahoma, Georgia, and Florida.

I’m not stupid. I don’t believe that racism is dead in Alabama, but frankly, I believe that the level of racism in this state is NO GREATER than that of any other state in the Union, northern or southern. In fact, I’ve been places in the north (New Hampshire) where I was treated to racist screeds like I have never heard in Alabama.

I’m not trying to insult your family, but these cases that are trotted out are outliers in this day and age.

True. White sauce is from north Alabama, and while Arab is in the north, white sauce is more centered around Decatur, Huntsville, and Florence/Muscle Shoals.

Of course, when you are a blond-haired, pale-skinned, blue-eyed white catholic girl I am sure the response is different then if you are a dark haired, dark-skinned, brown eyed Iranian Muslim girl walking in there in the same outfit.

Somehow, I do not think she got the same reception that a real Arab would have gotten there, Muslim or no.

Even from her description of what happened I think people saw “pretty white girl in weird clothes” rather than “Muslim”

Now, I am not saying that all southerners would be racist, but since she does not fit the stereotype that the racists would have, those racists she encountered would not necessarily respond to her the same way they would to a person who did fit their stereotype, so this experiment may not have shown what they intended either way.

Oh, for God’s sake. You have no idea what you’re talking about. My swarthy, Mediterranean guitar player could walk down the street in Arab in a turban and get the exact same reaction, which is to say, nothing. A few peculiar looks, and some hayseed farmer who gives him a grin.


“Looky there, it’s one a’ them, whaddyacallem’s, a nun!”


Sounds about right to me. Most people just don’t really care. They may look because it’s unusual, but that’s about it. Even hardcore racists aren’t normally going to start attacking someone in the middle of a fucking restaurants.

Your swarthy, Mediterranean guitar player? You mean you own a swarthy, Mediterranean guitar player? And you’re trying to tell us racism is dead in Alabama? For shame, Ogre. For shame.

Well, shit, we had a vote on whether he was to be freed. I won fair and square - 1 to 3/5. So take that.

Fool! Here in liberated, free-thinking California, we count minorities as 4/5 of a person! Clearly, the South is populated by nothing but slack-jawed yokels who ass-rape tourists.


I prefer serious social experiments.

BTW - did we ever find out whether that was set up?

What a display of raw bigotry.

Of course, the Alabamans didn’t behave all that spectacularly, either.


“Let’s bait the locals as much as humanly possible, and then act shocked when they throw rocks at us.”

(Emphasis mine)

If she was wearing an abaya, I don’t see how her hair color could have made any difference. And unless she was wearing a crucifix or saying “Hail Marys” then the other restaurant patrons were unlikely to realize what her actual religion was. I know I’d assume that any woman in an abaya was a Muslim, regardless of her complexion. I’ve known blonde, blue-eyed Muslims before.

I’ve certainly met plenty of Muslims who were willing to drink alcohol but I’ve never run into one who was willing to eat pork. I’m sure there’s got to be at least one Muslim who was willing to give it a shot but even those who don’t keep halal don’t eat pork in my experience.

Of course when we get Muslims from out of country here in Arkansas many of them are bewildered because pictures of pigs are everywhere. It’s because the U of A mascot is the razorback.