DMAE Students Conduct Social Experiment at 9/11 Museum

Students from Judy Aronson’s Diversity Day elective conducted a social experiment on their field trip to the 9/11 memorial in January: they wore hijabs to experience any possible reaction they might get from others at the museum. Many Americans place the terrorist stereotype against Muslims, and this was portrayed at the museum.

“The courage of the freshmen girls that did the hijab experiment floored me because they’re freshman and it’s not often that you find freshman who will really put themselves out there. They showed tremendous courage and grace which are not two easy emotions to blend,” Ms. Aronson said. “It was stressful for them and more than a little bit scary for them and yet they handled it very well,” added Ms. Aronson respectfully.

It wasn’t until students visited a region of the museum where it described the terrorists religion, behavior, and appearance that the hijab-wearing participants stated they received the most stares.

I think there are stereotypes surrounding Muslims wherever you go.

Because the nationality of the terrorists in this part of the exhibit corresponded to the “same” religion as the females wearing the hijabs, the people in the museum seemed to feel threatened and judged the girls as if they were somehow related to the incident, revealing the stereotype.

“It made me feel so aware,” stated freshman, Andie Estrella. “I never expected Muslim women to be judged just for their religion. A couple people even left the room they were sitting in once we came in,” she added.

The stereotypes within the museum were clearly visible to student who were wearing hijabs and to those who were not..

“I think there are stereotypes surrounding Muslims wherever you go. But if you go to the 9/11 memorial people are definitely more sensitive to it because there are mores stereotypes surrounding that event,” junior Atiya Ali said.

Many people view Muslims, and right off the bat call them terrorists. This social experiment showed the students that appearance does not portray one’s character. The DMAE students did not only learn about 9/11 and its importance, but the importance of not judging a book by its cover.