The other day I came across the show “What Would You Do?”. The idea of the show is to create all types of different situations by using actors to play roles, to see what people would do when placed into certain situations. One of the episodes involved two sets of actors to play a mother and a daughter shopping in a toy store, the first set was played by a White mother and daughter, and the second set was played by a Black mother and daughter. The White mother and daughter were looking around the toy store when the daughter picked up a doll and asked her mother to buy it for her. The mother instantly rejected her daughters request, not because the doll was too expensive, not because she felt that her daughter had enough dolls, NO, she refused to buy her White daughter the doll she picked out because the doll happened to be Black. The question is, what would you do if you were shopping in that store and saw this interaction taking place?
The mother then went onto say things like “why would you want THIS doll, it doesn’t look like you?” Let’s just say that there were a handful of people that took it into their own hands and approached the mother, and tried to lecture her, asking her how she can push her negative way of thinking onto her little girl. They urged the mother to see that both the White and Black dolls were equally as beautiful. The show also reenacted the same scene with a Black mother and daughter, this time the Black daughter asked for the White doll. People reacted the same way towards both mothers. One young man even took his time to stop and speak with the little girl reassuring her that any doll she wants to have is beautiful regardless of her color. He continued to explain to her that people shouldn’t be judged on how they look and especially on the color of their skin. When the host of the show came out and told the young man that this was all scripted, the young man broke into tears and expressed his deep heartache regarding this situation. Showing that some people really do stand up for what is right and believe in a color-blind society.
Even though this situation was part of a show and scripted, it is terrifying to admit that situations like this must really happen in real life, even in a time when we claim that we treat everyone equally. Even when looking to the media, I think that it is safe to say that most commercials advertising dolls, advertise White dolls. A study in the 1940s resulted in more than 60% of children favoring White dolls over Black dolls. Even though we hope that this has changed, many little girls watch t.v and may believe that these dolls are better or somehow more beautiful because they are displayed in the media more often. If people can possibly discriminate a doll for being a certain color, what would make us believe that these people would treat a human being any better? So how far have we really come when it comes down to racism and discrimination?
This is a link to a clip that shows this scene-