The result from the experiment is shocking:
6 sided with the racist who discriminated and insulted a Muslim woman.
13 stood up and spoke up for the Muslim woman, even left the bakery.
22 did nothing. They held their head down, decided it wasn’t their problem.
As shocking as the outcome to the experiment might be, it explains today’s America.
6 Americans took the side of the racist. Some people are racists and there is not much we can do about it. The behavior of these people is evil, there is no other word for it. They are often undereducated people who wrongfully believe it’s their patriotic duty to hate anybody and everybody who is different. You can’t argue with ignorance. Discrimination by gender, color, religion and sexual orientation -many of us dream of a world without it, but most of us know it’s highly unlikely.
I watched the experiment, and it reminded me of all the movies and documentaries about the Jewish people during WWII. Back then, in Germany, it was a sport to insult Jews in public. That’s how it started -we all know how it ended.
13 Americans stood up/spoke up. I was so proud of each one of them. The Father of the soldier, the guy who left the store and told him to @#$% off, the two girls at the end who asked for the manager. All of them were so unbelievably brave. Speaking up is not easy, it takes courage if we speak for ourselves, it’s even more complicated if we speak up for strangers.
22 Americans didn’t do anything. For whatever reason, they decided it wasn’t their problem. They didn’t get involved. They looked away, decided the situation was under control and they didn’t see any need to intervene.
I believe in equality, in the beauty of every human being. I don’t care about color, religion, gender and sexual orientation. I enjoy a word with different views and different looks.
Having that said, would I stand up or would I be one of the 22, hoping someone else will do the job? I am a woman in my 50s -I can come up with a handful of good excuses why being quiet would be the smartest decision.
Evil never wins, but it lingers if we don’t do anything. Could I be someone’s hero and speak up when it’s needed? I don’t know but I hope so, at least in the case of “only” one offender. But what if it’s a group of people?
A while back my blogging friend Hilary sent me a small video clip. 5 Ways to disrupt racism, two minutes that taught me so much.
It’s not just about being there when it happens, it’s also about being there when it’s over -I never thought about it. Comforting the victim, making sure he or she is alright is as important as standing up in the moment when it happens.
It’s also important what we do afterward. It won’t go away if we do nothing! Silence is as bad as approval.