For anyone interested in social experiments, these two videos are a must. While the tile “Shopping while Black” suggests race as being a transitory state, it provides a very interesting insight into not only racial profiling but society’s reactions to examples of it.
The video shows a social experiment, set in an up scale New York clothes store. A group of actors, two playing the white store manager and security guard and another playing the black customer play out the scene in front of unsuspecting shoppers.
Watch both parts below
First of all I strongly applaud the people in this video both black and white who made an interjection and spoke out against what was clear discrimination. For those who didn’t speak out, while it upsets and angers me that they didn’t, there are a number of reasons why I think they either were unsure or unwilling to do so.
In an ideal world we would all expect and encourage people to speak out at common examples of injustice. We speak out against war, murder, perhaps more fluidly because they are on a wider scale on display for the whole word to see. But it seems we find it difficult to speak out on everyday situations, perhaps because we have become desensitized to them. During topical debates we may claim that if we were ever in a predicament that required us to then we would always stand up for people who need it the most, speak for those without a voice, but when we are actually confronted with said predicaments , our promises sometimes do not translate into actions.
I think the main issue for me is identifying that what took place was indeed wrong. As shown in the first video one customer who witnessed the black actress being humiliated, subsequently said to the manager ‘she probably played the black card, right?’ He clearly didn’t think there was a problem with what happened, but funnily enough when confronted by the documentary presented claimed that he ‘felt so bad’ for the girl. Just goes to show once someone is behind closed doors or thinks no one is watching, their real attitudes creep up to the surface, slowly revealing themselves without even realising it.
Let us know what you think of the video. Have you ever been in or witnessed predicaments such as these?