What Would You Do started their second season in May of 2010. They set up scenarios about race, gender and clothing to see if there is a difference between when a person will help someone else. The second episode of the season dealt with some common social ‘taboos’. Many of these dilemmas are very dear to my heart. The tears were flowing as I watched to see who would help.
Battered woman at dinner
The show sets up a situation where there is a couple at dinner where there is definitely a domestic abuse situation going on. The woman is covered with fake bruises and then the man starts to clearly get physical with the woman. It does not take long for others to get involved. Passions rise as others come to the rescue and try to help the woman leave the situation. This is a situation that is very dear to me. I spent four years in a physically, verbally and emotionally abusive situation. A few people that I knew tried to help me get out, but a few did not. Although most abuse is done behind close doors knowing that there are people out there that will help is very uplifting. The show attempted to see if race had anything to do with the situation by switching the race of the woman. Thankfully, this switch had no effect on stranger kindness. They were right there to help, even though one woman was visibility shaken by the situation. To test stranger kindness to the limit they change the actress’s clothing. The woman is dressed in a sleeveless dress. At this switch, many people just looked on but did not step up to comfort the man. One couple even told the man to ‘take it somewhere else’. This was just appalling. It should never matter what a woman is wearing. According to the experts it is because many people believe she is getting ‘what she deserves’. One turn of events after the situation the show’s actress reveals that she was in an abusive relationship. She knew first hand what it was like to be in the dilemma that she was just ‘acting’ in.
Breastfeeding in public
The show sets up a situation where a nursing mother tries to feed her baby in the restaurant. The owner of the restaurant is also an actor paid to talk back to the nursing mother. He tells the mother that it is ‘gross’ and ‘inappropriate’. To try and find how far a stranger kindness will go the show changes the mother’s race and age. Neither of these changes really effected the situation. However, what the strangers said were slightly different. Some would agree with the manager and others would back the woman. Although I never had the courage to breastfeed my children in public I would not stop at backing a woman that choose to do such. In fact, everywhere in the United States it is illegal to tell a breastfeeding mother to leave.
Maternal road rage
A mother is sent off with two little girls that are fighting in a car. The mother stops at the side of the road and pulls her children from the car and tells the children to ‘walk home’. Many people either stopped the mother from driving away or helped the kids after the mother left. In fact, in one situation the mother came back to find a circle of strangers surrounded around the children. To see how far someone will intervene they changed some variables in the situation. Now they got rid of the mother’s cigarette and tried the car into a nice looking SUV. Many more people were less likely to help with this situation. A school bus driver stops and tries to help. She tells the mother that she has been there with her own children and the kids on the bus. She became a therapist for the family. Seeing this would probably spark a phone to child protection services. This has happened and there was mixed emotions as to whether or not this was effective parenting. I would have liked to see the show change the age of the children.
I view this show and ABC’s True Beauty as a way to look inside myself to make me a better person. I try to put myself in the situation to ask myself “What would you do”. These situations are hard to look at and make you wonder the truth about everyone. These dilemmas happen everyday. This is something I will need to work on. Watch ABC’s What Would You Do and challenge yourself. It will open your eyes.