“What Would You Do?”, the ABC show, captures reverse racism in a Harlem Barbershop. Three actors, playing a black female hair stylist, a black customer, and his white girlfriend are planted among real customers.
During a variety of scenarios, the reactions of customers vary widely. In one segment, customers say nothing in response to verbal abuse from the black stylist toward the white girlfriend. Discomfort in the air is almost palpable. When the room is debriefed after the show is revealed, one client said she was uncomfortable but “it wasn’t my place” to say anything.
The first segment in which an intervention occurs, a female client called out the aggressor as “ignorant” and “stupid”. She says her “Brooklyn” got the best of her, but that she just wasn’t going to sit there uncomfortable. “Speak up”, she says.
Another scenario focuses on the white girlfriend as a “customer”. An actual client of the shop calls out the stylist/actress for being rude to a customer and tells her she “should be ashamed.” The conversation that ensues is a genuine exchange concerning race relations and how hatred is not the answer. The actress blames the white girl for ruining the black family. “Poverty ruined the black family…”, the client replied. When the host of the show reveals the set up, the black stylist/actress comes over to thank the client for challenging her. He related to the host that “being angry… at white people” is not the answer.
In the final segment, a black female client observes the verbal assault between the black actress/stylist and the white girlfriend. She intervenes with the stylist and asks her why she would speak to another person that way. In a very deep, touching conversation, she actually garners an apology from the black stylist to the white girlfriend. When the reveal comes out, the client indicates she wasn’t “offended”, she was “hurt”. She goes on to offer words of encouragement for moving forward.
In the end, it is refreshing to see racism in a different light. Interracial couples and people of all kinds face forms of passive racism on a daily basis. The acronym offered by one of the participants was H.U.G.S: Helping Us Grow Spiritually. Perhaps race relations have not taken the giant step back the mainstream media would have us believe. There is hope.
H/T: Conservative Tribune