A great Help-U-Sell person, Tiffany Guerin from Oregon, shared a video on Facebook today that really touched me. It was a segment from the ABC show, ‘What Would You Do?’
‘What Would You Do?’ is a reality television program. It puts actors (in secret) in public places and has them behave badly, usually unethically or hatefully. The point of the program is to show how real people around the situation react. Sometimes there is no reaction and sometimes there are bad reactions, but usually common people stand up against the bad behavior. It is an affirming show in that way: it gives everyday people the opportunity to be their best in the face of wrong.
The segment Tiffany posted involved a pretty much all-Black barber shop in Harlem and the ‘customer’ (an actor) who comes in with his White girlfriend. One of the cutters – also an actress – makes hurtful, racist comments. As you might imagine, people react. They get angry. They confront the bad behavior. They take the wicked hair cutter to task, which is what most anyone would likely do.
But then, this . . . angel appears. She is a customer, sitting in a chair getting her hair cut. She hears the hateful rant and involves herself. But her tone is completely different. She comes at it from a place of love, not just for the victim of the wrong but for the perpetrator as well. She never stops smiling as she speaks softly and powerfully to not only stop the situation but reverse it with an apology and a hug.
I had forgotten that we don’t have to bluster and rage in the face of evil. That seems to be our dominant style today. (Of course, I blame Jerry Springer. He taught us that whoever yells loudest wins.)
If we start with a solid belief that people are generally good at heart and that bad behavior is often only a symptom of injury . . . well, I could wax poetic about that. But instead, I think I’ll just post the clip. The whole clip is good and what comes early sets up the extraordinary response of this angel (Marsha R. Bonner). She doesn’t appear until about the 5:30 mark. I think her style – her approach to conflict – ought to be studied in high schools and colleges. Enjoy!