What Would You Do?: Diary of a Mad, Angry, White Dad


8 comments:

  1. Am I the only one who notices that everyone had a problem when it was a white male with biracial child? The child looks like a prefect mix between the pretend couple. Maybe we are more at ease with seeing a Black male with a light to white child and not a White male with a dark child.
    I don’t get why they were so quick to assume the worst of the white male.

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  2. This is typical of ww, it's in the realm of their belief system that a bm could be with a ww, but impossible for a wm to be with a bw. What's more interesting is that wm was with an obviously biracial child, more reason to believe it's his child. The bm is with an all white child! Funny how even with that glaring fact it was ok and believable for him to be the child's dad!!

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  3. @Taiyl
    Thanks for visiting and commenting. No, you are definitely not the only one who noticed. Aside from the racial undertones about how these situations were handled, I truly believe that most people believe in the following equation: grown man + child = pedophile.

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  4. @XaiXai
    Thanks for pointing out the difference in the children used in each scenario, I completely missed that! I would be interested to know how the show decides which "combos" to use in the What Would You Do series, because I do believe the gender tensions they set up effect how other people act. Like in this one: no mothers and no male children.
    I just think it's funny how all the people who called the police were like "I was concerned for the child." But I wonder if they were more concerned for themselves and their own concerns about the child's safety. And regardless of the difference in the skin complexion differences between a parent and child (I'm thinking particularly about transracial/interracial adoption), I think it's crazy to start asking someone for ID! I mean what is that going to accomplish anyway?! It's not like the average 5 year old is carrying state issued identification on their person!

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  5. I wonder if there are a few things going on here:

    The white male waiter "attacking" the black male patron implies obvious racism, and most people are real quick to speak up against that (it's the institutional or systemic racism that people struggle with because it's intangible). What would have been interesting: if it was a black woman with a white child, and the waiter acted in the same way, would the patrons still have spoken up? Or what if the waiter was a white woman instead of a white man? I suspect the latter situation would have yielded a different response because of the introduction of the WWIP.

    The white male waiter "attacking" another white male dissolves what many Americans may perceive as a visible power imbalance, and so they are more open to believing that there are nefarious intentions. And although it's visible to most black people that the child is biracial, I'm not sure if whites perceive it the same way. The child didn't look stereotypically white, and so I think many whites subconsciously categorize such people as "other," if not black, and that perception drives the type of response.

    Finally, to be fair, it seemed to me that the white father was demonstrably angrier than the black father, and it perhaps raised red flags? It makes it more challenging to compare the two, since I think the men reacted rather differently.

    Still, the fact that one lady didn't believe the black mother was authentic is telling. Very telling.

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  6. @daphne
    Deep.
    Thanks so much for your comments. I'm completely with you. I think there are some gender dynamics going on here too. Would have LOVED to see a segment with a momma!
    So in defense of the mad, angry, white dad: the waiter PUT HIS HAND ON HIS CHILD! Now maybe I need to a whole other blog post to work through my issues on "race and touching" but I'm sorry, I refuse to believe it's okay for a random waiter, male or female, to put their hands on me or my child.

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  7. Ditto on the the gender dynamics, especially your earlier point regarding the gender of the child.

    So in defense of the mad, angry, white dad: the waiter PUT HIS HAND ON HIS CHILD! Now maybe I need to a whole other blog post to work through my issues on "race and touching" but I'm sorry, I refuse to believe it's okay for a random waiter, male or female, to put their hands on me or my child.
    Touché. Still, white dad was kind of hostile before that, and the touching just made a bad situation worse. I didn't have a problem with the touching so much as the interrogation, but I understand others have their perspective on touching.

    I'm just saying, black dad played it a bit cooler, lol. But even then, there may have been subtle racial dynamics going on there - he was clearly upset but didn't get openly hostile because most blacks are well-aware that showing anger = fulfilling a stereotype. So the actor may have held back purposely. Or maybe I'm thinking about this too hard!

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  8. So now I'm thinking, okay, well even if one dad is "angrier" than the other...well so what? Obviously these are actors so all of this is hypothetical, but maybe the dad had a rough morning or just got fired or someone just stole his parking space or maybe he's a Patriots fan and he's still recovering from that last Jets game (I mean it was really painful).

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