Do Bystanders Contribute to Marginalization?

By: Lauryn W.

My English class participated in a Socratic Seminar. In this discussion, we focused on how bystanders play a role in marginalization. Marginalization is putting a person or a group of people as unimportant or powerless in society. There were many examples that connected to this topic, however one example struck me the most.

I recently watched a What Would You Do clip (above) that was about aiding the fallen. In the video, actors pretended to collapse in the middle of the street. The video was focused on how/if the bystanders would react. The actors dressed as a well dressed business woman and one as a homeless man. Surprisingly the bystanders reacted in less than 6 seconds to the well dressed woman, but about 88 people passed by the “homeless man” without helping.

In that moment I realized that bystanders really do play a role in marginalization. Bystanders make stereotypes against groups of people. With these stereotypes in mind, it either compels or discourages the person to help. Most times bystanders don’t want to get involved or help. However doing this contributes to the marginalization of a group of people.

This was a huge realization that I came to after analyzing this video. It really made me think of how I am as a bystander. This topic encouraged me to be an active bystander and stand up for others. Other wise I am contributing to the marginalization of others. I encourage you think about how you are as a bystander, and I also encourage you to be an active bystander.

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