Sunday, November 14, 2010

What Would You Do?

Have you heard about the ABC show "What Would You Do?" It's kind of like Punk'd only with real-life scenarios. A bunch of actors go to some public place, make some kind of awful scene, and see if any decent citizens are willing to step in and help. They've done all sorts of things. In one episode, a saleswoman loudly told a black lady that they didn't need "her type" in that store because she didn't have time to watch her and then had the security guard frisk the poor shopper. Another episode was of an abusive boyfriend berating and "slapping" his girlfriend in a park. Yet another episode in a grocery store featured a lady chewing out an overweight mother with her overweight daughter pushing a cart full of junk food.

One of the worst videos I watched was the Latino hate crime episode. In that episode, they had a group of three white thugs beating up a Latino while screaming at him to speak English. The Latino actor was wearing pads underneath his sweatsuit to protect him, and they had used makeup to make his face look battered and bleeding. So, do you think people helped?

During the two days that they shot the footage, ninety-nine people witnessed the beating. Twenty five people intervened. Seven people called 911. And SIXTY SEVEN PEOPLE just walked right on by. Can you believe that? SIXTY SEVEN? I can understand that three violent young men are intimidating, but you could at least call the cops or go get help. That would take you a total of two minutes. Seriously.

Watching that video made me sick. At the beginning of the show, they talked about "Mexican hunting." Apparently there have been many cases of ass-holes who decide they're bored so they need to go find a Spanish-speaker and beat him up. One man they interviewed had a brother who died from his injuries. It just blows my mind that this actually happens. IS THIS REALITY?

There are many horrible, stupid people in the world who inflict pain on others. Racism is alive and well in the world. While I cannot comprehend how people can do something like that, I am also so disappointed in the people that just let it happen. If you asked those people if they were racist, they would deny it. Still, they let a hate crime just happen. And it doesn't just have to be about race. The same thing happened in the girlfriend abuse video. Some people stepped in, but a ton of others just walked on by. I'm sure they would say they're good people, but they are enablers. Apathy can almost be as bad as hate. What is that famous quote? Something about the only thing evil needs to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Yeah, that's totally true.

Some of the people did help. My favorite help scene is when an SUV stopped next to the scene and this girl pops out and runs in to break it up. She was a lot smaller than all of the thugs, but she kept yelling at them to back off and even got in between them and the victim. Yeah!

This show does fulfill its purpose. After watching the clips, I was asking myself, "What would I do if I witnessed one of those scenes?" I'm certainly not a person who is afraid of confrontation so maybe I would intervene. I pray that I would. At the same time, it's one thing to declare my heroic intentions in the safety of my bedroom after watching these inspiring clips and a whole other thing to actually do something in the heat of the moment.

I guess all I can do now is pray that God would keep making me into the kind of person that will get involved, that will step up to help those in trouble. I definitely have the desire and I hope that courage will be close behind.

It's not just in these extreme situations that we need courage, though. Stopping a hate crime is very heroic, but in what other ways can we be courageous and help others? It takes courage to tell a friend that they shouldn't be rude to others. It takes courage to admit we've been wrong and ask for forgiveness. It takes courage to tell the truth when lying could save us embarrassment and pain. Let's be courageous.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. --Joshua 1:9

P.S. If you want to watch the original clip, here it is, although I suppose I've probably ruined at least part of it.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I think that being heroic with little things is much harder than with big things. For example, I might find it easier to jump in front of a bus to save a child even though I would die because I would be a honored and death would be quick and painless. On the other hand, if a bully knocks down a fellow student, the unpopular kid who everyone hates and makes fun of, and his or her papers spill everywhere, I would find it more difficult to help (even though my soul would be screaming at me to do something) because I would not be praised by the masses. By helping, I would be sentencing myself to the same bullied and hated fate as the student. I am ashamed to say that I don't stand up for others as often as I should and would like to. There are times when I have consciously ignored the pleading pangs of my own heart to reach out.


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