What would you do, if, while eating at a restaurant, you overheard a waiter ask a family to leave because instead of having a father and mother the two children had two lesbian mothers?
This is one of the questions that the most recent episode of “What Would You Do?”, the ABC News social experiment, tried to answer. And it turns out the answer, except in two extraordinary cases, was nothing. The average person would do nothing if they saw a family consisting of two lesbian mothers discriminated against, mostly because they didn’t think it was “their place” or didn’t want “to get involved.”
What if we changed things up? What if the family, instead of two lesbian mothers, had two gay fathers? Nothing changed, over a hundred people over the two day filming period watched and did nothing as the family was turned away because of the sexual orientation of the parents. Now what happened when the little girl in the family began to cry, even reaching out to people at other tables for help? Still nothing.
Many people feel that in a situation like this that they have no right to intervene or meddle in the lives of others, even if the people in question need their help. Let’s turn the tables and say that the situation is potentially life threatening. What if two airline pilots, who comment that they have just more than an hour before they have to fly a plane, are sitting at the bar next to you taking shots? What would you do?
It turns out that the answer is even less nothing than before. Less people tried to intervene or do anything, even when they thought the pilots were leaving the bar to go fly a plane. Why would people do less, even when people’s lives are on the line?
It’s easy to say you would intervene in a situation like these, but ask yourself the question, if all those people did nothing, what would you really do?