One of the best pieces of advice on blogging was someone who said “every day, at least two things will make you angry. Write about those things.”
Well, here you go.
I’ve always had an issue with these “what would you do” social experiments. They always seems to approach situations like the one they’ve crafted here with the presupposition that everyone is going to be bigoted. It’s like a quiz, and they keep asking them questions that all strangely sound like “so, you’re SURE you’re not a racist?” There was another one of these that I saw recently with a lesbian couple and their children sitting at a table, with a waitress loudly and obnoxiously calling into question their life choices. The host comes in with a voice over and sleazily asks the audience whether the other customers will stand up for this lesbian couple, in TEXAS no less!!!
Yes. They do. They tell the waitress to get the heck out of town. Because, contrary to ABC’s worldview, most people are not bigoted.
The same with this one. They set up this outrageous situation of an actor playing some racist young man loudly and obnoxiously being the “racist customer” towards an actor playing what he describes as the “Middle-Eastern victim.” The skit then proceeds and most of the people in the cafe tell the kid to shut up, that he’s a jerk, an idiot, etc. But then the narrator pipes in and says “And then we meet this man…” who then proceeds to agree with the “racist customer.” Wow. I mean, a little leaven leavens the lump. This proves it, racism is still alive and well.
But actually, just a bit earlier we see the narrator sitting in the news van feeding lines to the actor playing the “racist customer” via an earpiece.
Oh, so apparently all these racist things are actually coming from ABC and their host! I mean, these two actors are both under the employ of ABC, and so is this narrator. In fact, the only racism in this situation is coming straight from ABC. Could it be that New Yorkers aren’t actually bigoted at all? Could it be that, as the narrator and his film crew saunter up to their victims after a successful social experiment, they’re actually further propagating racism by airing unrealistic situations of bigotry on national television?
And Upworthy, the website that shared this, is just as culpable. “I began watching this video thinking I would be left feeling disheartened and angry,” the author writes, “but the words the soldier says at 5:05 are so powerful that I wish all people who held prejudice could hear him speak.”
Of course you thought you would be left feeling disheartened and angry. That’s ABC’s goal. They want to show you that “there are still a few good people out there,” when in reality most people would do the exact same thing. Clearly, because in this scenario 90% of people told this actor that he was being racist.
ABC, you should start expecting more from people.