Monday Muse

Living in Japan, I have experienced a certain amount of discrimination, most of it good. (I know that sounds odd; hear me out.) The bad kind is when something goes wrong and eyes automatically turn to me, or when a landlord refuses to rent an apartment to me because I “wouldn’t fit in.”

The good kind is when I get the princess treatment. I like that—who doesn’t?—but it can be too much at times, like when lunchtime comes and the Japanese all get bentos but I get a cold cheeseburger. Or when a group of us are sharing a crab and they carefully scrape out all the poop, a great delicacy here, and hand it to me. “No, really. I couldn’t.” (I know what crabs eat.)

So the videos on Upworthy produced by Ray Flores struck a note. If you haven’t seen any of them, a crew sets up some hidden cameras and then hires a bunch of actors to set up volatile situations whereby they try to provoke the best and worst from the people in the room who aren’t clued in.

In the latest, a “businesswoman” brings a “homeless” man into a bar, gives him $20, tells the “bartender” to feed him, then leaves. The “bartender” pockets the cash and tells the “homeless” man to get lost. Most of the customers side with the “homeless” man; some don’t.

The thing is, by editing the film, they can skew the statistics to make the numbers of “good” people and “bad” people whatever they want them to be. Not that I side with the baddies, but doesn’t this seem like another form of discrimination?

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2 thoughts on “Monday Muse”

  1. I would agree if the producer was doing it because of how he felt about the situation but I think in cases like this it’s more just about what will get better ratings.

    1. Yeah, they also have a camera on the producer and every time someone says something particularly asinine they cut to him raising his eyebrows at the camera and shaking his head. You’re right. It’s not about awareness or equality–it’s about ratings.

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