Allow me to systematically assess the transport related evidence at my disposal.
State #1 (normal state): Yours truly in Australia
- The last seat in the carriage to be taken is usually the seat next to me.
- I only need one hand to count the number of times a woman sat next to me on the train when other seats were still available.
- I often get scared looking stares on the train. Especially since I started bearding up. And especially when I unzip my bag (usually for the purpose of getting my Kindle out).
State #2 (recorded during April): Yours truly in Israel
- People seem to sit next to me on the bus just as often as they seemed to sit next to anyone else.
- People stopped me, asking for help with navigation, at a rate averaging three times an hour. Yes, I measured.
Given the above inputs, I am suggesting the following hypothesis:
Stereotypes are highly geographical. What counts at each location is what people are used to seeing, with people belonging to minority demographics tending to get rejected.
In other words, we feel comfortable with the common and the average and we fear the strange.
Image by Jonathan Warner, Creative Commons license