Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What would you do?

A show on ABC caught my eye. It's called "What Would You Do". Hidden cameras filmed pre determined scenes to watch and discover what people will do in situations that are pretty interesting. One scene was a paid Hispanic actor (complete with makeup that looked like blood and bruises) getting beat up by 3 other guys who were also paid actors appearing to discriminate taunt and physically abuse because of his race. The hidden cameras were watching to see who would stop and help. Some people did, but the majority did not. Other examples were a supposed infomercial where the people were offered 75 bucks to advocate a hair growth product they thought was real. They were asked to tell the camera increasing lies, to see how far they would go to promote something they had never used and that was revealing it's self to be dangerous. They were asked to promote it even after hearing additional concerns like it "causes cancer", or watching another person's hair fall out (which was another staged actor who had fake hair planted where she supposedly put some of the product). They were asked to say that the product had a money back guarantee even though the guy at the camera said it didn't but that they should say it did anyway. The investigation showed who would just go along with the increasing stupidity for the 75$ pay out. Most of the people went along with most of it, some stopping as it became more absurd.

Makes you wonder. What would you do? Would you stop a fight that was clearly racially motivated and grossly unjust? Stop a thief? What if you didn't know the person? Would you still stand up for someone you didn't know, would you stand up for what is right? Would you promote a product with just a few lies? Is it ok to dig a pit for your neighbor, take advantage because of ones words? Lie a little? Are we inclined to stop and help one in need when that internal nudge prompts us? We are accountable for our acts, not the other persons motives or reasons or how they respond to our gesture. The bum on the street is a test of our charity, we're not accountable for what he/she does with our gift. We can show charity regardless of what the other does or does not do. Psychological experts say we look around us at others to see what is the "correct" thing to do. Group behavior is often very influential on an individual. But the group is not often correct. Something to think about.

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