Monday, October 26, 2009

Shopping While Black - What Would You Do?

My good friend M posted this up on the Book and it grabbed my attention, caught my imagination and made me think a lot. In fact I can't get it out of my head, if I may quote the wisdom of the great Ms Minogue.

What would I do?

It's a tough one to consider for a number of reasons. The first is simply that I can't see this sort of hypothetical situation taking place here in the UK. If it did it would be far more subtle, though by no means am I saying that racism doesn't exist here, just that it's usually not so blatant.

Then I have very little first hand knowledge of Americans, so I'm unsure if this sort of thing would actually happen there. If the things I've heard and read are correct then I'd say that it's a believable scenario.

If those things are untrue then I do wonder if this is a scenario that is so unlikely to take place that the very staging of it is putting people in a strange place anyway. It's a hard thing to explain but I think you'll see what I mean if you watch it.

I tried to think about what I would have done before watching the clip. I can tell you that my honest answer is a don't know. I'd like to think that I'm one of the types who would have stepped in and tried to express my outrage and disgust, I just don't actually know if I would have.

On a scale from do nothing to go mental and kick up a big fuss I'm certainly on the right of the centre, towards the go mental end. I'm just unsure if I would have been so far right that I would have done something, or if I'd have not had the courage. That's the truth and I'm uncomfortable about it.

However, having seen the clip, I've now decided that, should I ever encounter such a scenario, I will most definitely do something. I'll be there making my feelings known and doing anything I can.

How about you?

What would you do?

Happy Monday all.


JP said...

Hi RD- confess , may be I too would talk about it later than take action when it matters. It is same with everything isn't it. . But may be next time , I would do something too

Gallicissa said...

I'd utter some Sinhala expletives, and step out of that shop immediately. And never visit it again. No point in trying to explain what is right and wrong for such demented souls.

sue said...

That was disturbing. More than the actions of the sales person, it's the non-reaction of the other customers that disturbs me more. I would have definitely spoken up on her behalf. I get very vocal on such occasions that I embarrass my self sometimes, but I would definitely would have spoken up and probably would have socked the security guy!

Java Jones said...

I would have rounded up all my Black friends (both sexes) and had them all visit the shop - at intervals of five minutes. This would go on for days...

And later, every one of them would have made a report to every Agency that has anything to do with discrimination, to the owners and to anyone else concerned with the establishment.

That ought to get some attention, don't you think???

Anonymous said...

I'd do what the last couple of ladies did...make a complaint and walk out with the person involved.I know the hubby would be more aggressive and take it up with the management and fight for the person without leaving the store,go to the papers etc! I guess either way, it's important one does something rather than let it go!


Rhythmic Diaspora said...

JP - Yes, for me it was a good thing to see this video.

Amila - You could use your new lens to take some pics and shame the people!

Sue - Yes, disturbing in a fascinating and educating way I think.

Java- Having read your plan I think the best course of action, if anyone were to encounter this kind of thing, would be to contact you and get you to take care of it!

F - Yes, each little action might not have an effect but perhaps the cumulative effect will make the difference.

Darwin said...

I would firstly try and film it or photograph it. Need the evidence to back up my story! Then I would ask to complain and threaten to forward my video to every anti-discrimination agency available AND put it up online of course. Social pressure is the only way to make these morons realise what an ugly, pathetic thing racism is.

Anonymous said...

I am not someone particularly worried about confrontation, and I am someone who has been followed in a store- in England- you know it happens though admittedly more subtly, BUT I am not 100% sure I would stand up for the person there and then-unless I saw the whole thing unfold.

I think I would be much more like the girl who cried - who would have a complete go at the shop assistant if she said "those people" to me, but sadly after the fact. And if she kept her line of rascism I would walk away, because I would realise what a total dumbass she was. And some people never learn.