Photo: John Quiniones on "What Would You Do?"
Wanting to see how Arizonians react to clear racial profiling since the passing of a controversial immigration bill last year, ABC’s John Quinones and his popular series “What Would You Do?” went undercover.
Back in 2010, Arizona passed SB 1070, a bill requiring local police to check the immigration status of anyone they had “reasonable suspicion” was not in the country legally. It started an uproar , as many claimed it was completely discriminatory and was clearly targeted at Latinos, considering a white person would more than likely never be asked to prove their citizenship. Though the bill was signed into law, a judge suspended the most controversial parts.
Though many protests were held, polls indicated that around 50 percent of Arizona voters supported the bill.
Quinones decided to take a look at how Arizona restaurant patrons would react if they saw someone randomly asking Latinos for papers.
Cameras were hidden in a popular Tucson restaurant. Both the Latinos and the security guard asking to see documentation were actors.
In one scenario, the security guard approaches the Latino man just moments after he enters the restaurant.
“You got any ID on you? Documentation? Papers?” asks the guard. “Are you visiting? Do you understand a little English?”
Though people see what’s going on, they stay in their seats and watch uncomfortably at first. Then one man confronts the security guard.
“Excuse me, who are you? Do you work here?” the man asks.
The guard answers, “No, I’m a security guard, I just stopped in to get some food. I’m just trying to be a good American.” To which the man yells back, “I wouldn’t say you’re a good American. I’d say you’re an ass!”
Though there was someone willing to stop the obvious racial profiling, that will not always be the case, and this scenario is exactly what civil rights activists fear will happen if the law is allowed to take effect in its entirety.
In one of the scenarios, patron Candice Coker, approached the actress playing a Latino mother out with her husband and daughter, and offered her words of support. When she spoke with Quinones after the scene was revealed to be phony, Coker admitted to not really thinking about the effects of the bill on families. Seeing the impact, she said, made her think twice about the law.
In the end though, over two days, “What Would You Do?” revealed that people in Arizona, at least in this restaurant, both white and Latino, stepped up when they witnessed such a blatant display of racial profiling. In fact, most of those that intervened were not Hispanic.