Summary: In this episode of the American television show What Would You Do?, two different actors stage a bike theft in a public park. Both actors are teenage boys, about the same age, wearing similar clothes, using the same set of burglary tools in the same park, around the same time of day, trying to cut off the lock of the same bike; however, one of the actors is black and the other is white. A hidden camera documents the different reactions of the people walking by. The variation in people's reactions can help to illustrate the concept of racial profiling. Racial profiling involves using an individual's race or ethnicity as a basis for determining whether a person is engaged in illegal activity. Often racial profiling refers to an activity practiced by law enforcement; however, in this video we see ordinary people engaged in this form of discrimination. Viewers can be encouraged to compare and list the differeces in people's reactions, and talk about whether (and how) these differences constitute racial profiling. Further, viewers can think about the implications of racial profiling, that is, why does it matter if racial profiling occurs? At the end of the clip, a young and stereotypically attractive white woman pretends to be stealing the bike. Why might people's reactions to this thief be so different from those who reacted to the boys cutting the bicycle lock? This video can also be used to illustrate an example of a social experiment; for other examples, click here.
Submitted By: Joanna