This ABC experiment on race dynamics is easily the best thing I've seen on television in years. The result blows my mind, and at 1:50, I literally yelled, "You've got to be kidding me!" at my screen. Let me know if you do, too.
I know everyone gets uncomfortable talking about race, but it would be great if people were more aware so they could challenge their own preconceived notions. You sharing and tweeting this could go a long way toward doing that. Totally your call though.
Narrator You see this and you wonder, "Did he lose his keys, or is he blatantly stealing that bike?" In broad daylight? He hammers, and then saws on the chain. When that doesn't work, he pulls out an industrial-size bolt cutter. And when he's asked, he fesses up.
Woman1: You lost the lock?
Justin: No, not exactly.
Narrator But, he's not a real thief. Justin Kelley [SP] is an actor, and our hidden cameras are rolling.
Man1: What happened?
Justin: Nothing. I just can't get through the lock. I mean, I know this is weird, but, you wouldn't happen to know whose bike this is, would you?
Justin: All right. Good. Thank you.
Man1: It was odd that somebody had all that equipment.
Interviewer: But you didn't do anything.
Man1: That's true.
Wife: That's the bottom line.
Narrator Lots of people stop and stare. A few even question the actor.
Woman2: I guess I have to ask, is that your bike?
Justin: I guess, technically, no.
Justin: OK. Bye.
Woman3: Oh. Good luck.
Narrator In over an hour about 100 people pass by. Only George and Arlene try to stop him. Some tell us they plan to call the police later. Others say they're scared and keep moving. This woman and her friends give our thief the benefit of the doubt. When we ask why, Lisa [SP] Washington tells us, "First impressions matter."
Lisa: I remember thinking, 'Young white men don't usually carry burglar tools.
Interviewer: So, we all make assumptions, huh?
Friend: I'm thinking, "Maybe he works for the park."
Narrator We replace our white thief with this young man, Madlock
[SP]. Remember, both actors dress in a similar way and are about the same age.
Man2: Is that your bike?
Madlock: Um, no.
Man2: So, what are you cutting the chain for?
Van Man: Right away. Right away somebody yelled.
Van Man2: Wow.
Narrator Within seconds, another person confronts our thief.
Woman4: Is that your bike?
Madlock: Technically it's not, but it's going to be mine.
Narrator More people converge.
Woman5: [and we only took the one] cell phone. Will you call the police? He's stealing somebody's bike.
Man 3: Are you taking that bike? Is that your bike?
Madlock: No, it's not, sir.
Man3: Well why are you doing that?
Madlock: Is this any of your bikes? Is this your bike?
Man3: It belongs to someone.
Madlock: To who?
Man4: Well, not to you.
Narrator And, sure enough, one man whips out a cell phone to call 911.
Man4: There's someone taking a bike here.
Narrator Our actor triggers more reactions. Some people are even snapping pictures for evidence.
Photographer: I got you. I got you.
Man5: This guy is stealing a bike. [Who's bike's] over here.
Narrator Once everyone moves away, we reset our cameras. And within minutes, another outraged man is yelling.
David: Are you trying to steal that bike?
Madlock: Excuse me, sir, but the bike has been here for days, like, no one's going to take it.
David: Well, that's not your bike, then.
David: You can't just come in and take something from somebody.
Madlock: Excuse me, sir.
David: OK. I'll just take these tools away then. Is this yours too?
Madlock: Please, sir. Please, sir. Please, sir. Don't touch my stuff, sir. Please, sir, do not touch my stuff.
David: Your touching someone else's stuff.
Madlock: Yeah, all right, but this has been here. Who's going to take it?
David: Well, that doesn't make it your property.
Madlock: Technically, it does.
David: No, it doesn't, technically. It's not yours to take.
Narrator When we bring out our cameras, David Robb wants us to go after the thief.
David: That kid in the red shirt [inaudible] . . .
Man 5: He's hacking away at a bike that's not his.
David: . . . [inaudible] thinks he has a right to take it and steal it. And he has come here with.
Narrator She may not look like your average bike thief, but actress Ashley Carpenter, makes sure anyone who asks knows she's up to no good.
Ed: Do you need a hand?
Ashley: You don't know whose this is, do you?
Ed: Whose bike it is?
Narrator With a little help from Ed Fitzsimmons [SP], the bike chain easily falls away.
Ashley: Oh my goodness, what a strong man you are.
Narrator And he isn't the only man who stops in his tracks. What's this guy thinking?
Man6: You pull up. You don't know if she lost her key, if she's trying to actually take the bike, but then again, she's a girl, and would you ever see a girl doing that?
Interviewer: Did you ever see a girl, [girls don't] steal?
Man6: You never know. Most of the time it's a guy who's going to do something like that.
Narrator Reginald peddles right past his appalled wife straight to our actress, asking her if she needs a hand.
Reginald: Do you need a hand?
Ashley: It's okay. I'll eventually get it.
Reginald: I did some time in [inaudible]. I can steal this.
Ashley: Oh, you can steal it? Then you can help me steal it.