A crowded urban barbershop on a busy weekend is bought to a deafen silence as a good looking, young black man walks in with an equally attractive young white woman on his arm. He greets his regular barber while his white companion takes a seat next to a black mother and child. A young black woman looks at the couple and says “Oh no he did not get a white girl.”
This fictional scene was presented to an unknowing audience in a busy black Harlem barbershop on an ABC show, “What Would You Do?” The show places everyday people in morality situations to see what would they really do when faced with racism, sexism, abuse or theft. In this case, some patrons of the barbershop stood up for the interracial couple whereas others did nothing.
I have found myself in real life awkward situations that have made me question my reactions. Case in point: A young lady was being verbally harassed in the parking lot of a big box store that I was entering. She stated several times that she did not know the man that was attempting to verbally and physically assault her. Several individuals walked in and out of the store, trying their best to avoid the young lady and the assailant. I walked briskly up and asked her if she was in trouble and that I had called the police on my open cellphone. The guy fled after little old me spoke up to help the young lady. Just think what could have happened to her if I did not choose to say something.
We all would like to believe that we would be heroic and do the decent thing when faced with tough social situations. Too often have I witnessed and been a victim of the rude, self absorbed or downright apathetic in public. Some folks may not be equipped to handle sensitive and shocking situations like a boisterous racist in mixed company or a possible rapist. Others may just be from the school of mind your own business.
You must ask yourself what happens when no one speaks up in the face of adversity, minor or major. You may not be in control of how others act, but you can be the master of your response.