I was not completely surprised by this video, although I was fairly appalled. It deserves repeating. The extremes in the differences of reactions are something that we should remember. But not only with regard to racial profiling: though at the very least this video illustrates how difficult it must be for the police and law enforcement to treat people equally. Recognizing the difficulty does not excuse acts of profiling or discrimination: but I hope it helps to overcome them. It should help to reduce them in the general population as well, though that’s a slower process.
But I believe this video also deserves a deeper exploration. I completely respect the people who were interviewed after the “experiment” and who agreed to be filmed; you’ll note that there are a number of blurred faces. I can’t help but wonder if these are people who were never asked for comments, or if they refused? Often when faced with our own discrimination… those parts of ourselves we don’t like… our sins… we refuse to face them.
Beyond that, I think this video also illustrates a lot about trust in our world. Not that it doesn’t exist: obviously it does. We want to trust people. We wish we could. But in general we decide categories of who to trust which are based on anything but the evidence. This might explain a lot of what we see in our society as far as politics and economics. Once trust is given, it’s very hard to be disprove. The more we’re invested in that trust, the more difficult it is to change. But recognizing that difficulty, again, does not excuse our choice of poor leadership. It should help to motivate us to look deeper at our choices: and to accept when our trust has been misplaced.