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Everyday racism: women with headscarves “systematically treated differently”

Women with headscarves are treated differently. This is shown by an international study on racism and everyday discrimination in Germany.

London / Pittsburgh / Philadelphia – Racism is a sad everyday occurrence, as the example of a Saxon school showed that specifically formed a class only from children with a migration background. But can a piece of cloth alone impair a person’s willingness to help? A British-US study suggests this.

The research team from the London School of Economics in Great Britain and the Universities of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania / USA let actresses make loud phone calls at 25 German train stations. The appearance of women differed in three categories. While one group was clearly non-migrant, the second group of women showed a migrant background, and the women of the third group wore a hijab, the Muslim headscarf.

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Racism and Islamic Discrimination: Women with headscarves get less help

The exact scenario of the experiment on structural racism and Islamic discrimination: the women called each time at a train station, clearly audible for passers-by, with an alleged sister who wants to go back to work after the birth of her child. The women’s comments varied: some expressed approval of the sister’s wish to go back to work, some demonstrated disapproval. Then the phone callers dropped a shopping bag full of lemons.

Women with headscarves are “systematically treated differently”, is the conclusion of the study (symbol picture).

© Britta Pedersen / dpa

Racism: women with headscarves are systematically treated differently than women without headscarves

The result: the women who wore a headscarf were offered much less help than the other women. Is that proof of structural racism? About three quarters of women – regardless of their attitude when talking on the phone or their skin color – were offered help if they were not wearing a headscarf. The willingness to help of the 3797 people whose reactions were observed, however, decreased compared to the actresses who wore a hijab. “We prove that women with a headscarf in Germany are systematically treated differently in their everyday life than people without a headscarf,” said Mathias Poertner, one of the authors of the study, according to SZ.

Islam discrimination already proven in other studies

Studies have already shown that the success of applications with a headscarf and a Turkish name differs significantly from that of applicants with a German name and without a headscarf with the same qualifications. Here, too, it was found that 19 percent of women without a headscarf received a positive answer, while women with a headscarf only received 4 percent. When looking for accommodation, applicants with headscarves are also systematically discriminated in some cases. *

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You might think that wearing a headscarf is primarily a personal decision. But in fact it is becoming more and more a political issue in Germany. As early as 2019, for example, the Federal Labor Court dealt with the case of a Muslim woman from the Nuremberg area who had sued the drugstore chain Müller against a headscarf ban. The Müller employee saw her religious freedom restricted, the drugstore chain insisted on “entrepreneurial freedom”.

Even after another ruling, employers are allowed to prohibit the wearing of headscarves in the company. So while tolerance has become part of good manners in many places – even the car manufacturer Ford responds to defamatory color criticism – the principle of “distrust” still prevails in everyday life. * 24hamburg.de and Kreiszeitung.de are offers from IPPEN.MEDIA.

Headline list image: © Britta Pedersen / dpa

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