'What Would You Do?' Reveals Disappointing Reality: South Isn't As Backwards As ABC Had Hoped

On the May 30 edition of ABC’s What Would You Do?, per usual, John Quiñones set out to expose Americans as racist and homophobic.

The veteran reporter began by traveling to Memphis, Tennessee, a town with a “painful, lasting scar” due to its connection to Martin Luther King Junior’s April 1968 assassination. After setting up a scenario in a hair salon in which a white hair stylist expressed her disgust at an interracial couple and other customers continually spoke up to defend the African American girlfriend, Quiñones was forced to admit that “folks in the South”(no less) were “condemning racism,” just as people had in the North. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]

Unable to prove racism, Quiñones moved further south into Mississippi and switched to the topic of sexual orientation. While many more people expressed their objections to homosexual couples on religious grounds when questioned, most did not speak outright against the couple. In the last scenario when the restaurant finally asked the gay couple to leave, two college students expressed their outrage at the act of discrimination.

Through his “social experiments,” Quiñones has proved what most Americans already know. Racism is no longer acceptable in American society today, and soon, acts of intolerance against homosexuals will be too. It’s quite the setback for ABC’s crusade to portray Americans as backwards and ignorant.       

5/30/2014
What Would You Do?
9:03 PM
19 seconds

JOHN QUIÑONES: We've made our way to Memphis, Tennessee, a beautiful, vibrant city along the Mississippi. But when it comes to the Civil Rights movement, Memphis has a painful, lasting scar. It was here, at the Lorraine Motel, that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. But that was almost 50 years ago. How big an issue is race today in Memphis, Tennessee?

9:09 PM
10 seconds

QUIÑONES: Folks in the South, condemning racism. Much like it was condemned by African Americans in a barbershop in Harlem just a few months before.
 

Laura Flint
Laura Flint is a 2014 summer intern for the MRC's News Analysis Division.