“What Would You Do” – It’s my favorite American TV show.
The show is about exactly what its name states.
It sets up very dramatic situations, involves ordinary people in them, and watches their reactions to the dilemmas given, with the hidden cameras rolling.
It usually deals with serious social issues, and a lot of its episodes have unexpected touching results, in which people step up and take action without hesitation in order to do the right thing.
However, in this particular episode, the result surprised me in a quite different way.
It takes place at a family restaurant in Utah, where African-Americans take up only 0.05% of its population.
In this scenario, a white girl introduces her black boyfriend to her father. Unlike what she expects, the father rejects her boyfriend because of his race.
As she rushes out of the restaurant with her boyfriend, an old lady sitting next to his table talks to the father. “I am with you,” She says. “I think they should stay with their own.”
A woman behind her, nodding in agreement, is brought to tears.
“I have a daughter,” She tells her story in a shaky voice. “She has a friend that’s black… I told her, “He’s fine to be your friend, you are never going to get involved with him…” They were just friends, but… I worried about that.”
Then, the old lady adds her racist comment: “A pretty girl like her would pick something like that.”
Trying not to get emotional about her cutting comments, dying inside, the actor keeps the conversation going, asking if he is wrong.
“I was very proud of you,” The old lady responds. “Because that’s a shock to anybody.”
When the reporter of the show, John Quiñones, shows up in the restaurant, explains her about the show, and interviews her, the old lady tells us about her strong belief.
“I’m sorry,” She says. “If you are white, you are white. If you are colored, you go with colored people. And keep it in your family. Don’t put it in somebody else’s.”
She ends her comments with another incomprehensible statement: “It’s alright if you are a Mexican person, they are still white people,” She explains. “But black people and white people, no. I’m sorry, it breaks my heart.”
Finally, Quiñones introduces the man who acted a black boyfriend to the old lady. As they shake their hands, the guy asks her for a hug.
To my surprise, as she gives him a hug, she says, “You know, but I just think we should stay with our own, don’t you?”
This Episode shocked me. I thought racism was dead in America.
As an international student in California, I never considered rejecting an interracial couple as an option.
I heard of the word, “colored people,” for the first time in my life when I was studying To Kill a Mockingbird in my English class. Also, I was surprised when I learned that the setting of the story was within less than a hundred years.
Some people might think that racism no longer exists in America. However, for a lot of people, racism is still a big issue in their lives. A big chunk of generations was taught to be racist in its youth.
Now, the real question is, how should we react to this issue?
The episode ends with an interview with the African-American actor.
Quiñones asks, “She even hugged you. How did that feel?”
“Very weird, but I believe in people,” the actor answers. “I wanted her to know that, no matter what she thought, I was still going to shake her hand and I was still going to hug her because that’s how I am.”