'What Would You Do?': Shopping While Black

"Ma'am, I'm sorry, is there a reason you're following us?" asked another teen.

"No, I just want to make sure that nothing happens in the store," said the clerk. "It's just a matter of time before something is probably taken. People like you come in all the time, big coats, big bags in threes..."

Soon enough, it was evident that no matter how bad the abuse became, the teens were on their own. Some shoppers actually stopped and listened to what was going on, and although some looked surprised and even upset by what they heard, no one stood up for the teens.

When a group of female friends who happen to be white walked in during the middle of the scenario, they heard the clerk reprimanding the black teens, suggesting that they shop elsewhere. The clerk then turned to the group of women listening and told them she was just trying to protect them.

Jen, one of the customers she addressed, appeared to be horrified and asked the clerk in disbelief, "Are you kidding?"

The security guard then stepped up the abuse and frisked the teens -- something all too common in actual cases of profiling.

"Stand here," said the guard, who then further insulted them and asked if he needed to spell out his order in Ebonics.

The teens made their way out of the store, but kept looking back at the group of women who had witnessed their harassment. No one stepped in. In the end, the teen actors were thrown out of the store.

Outside and between takes, one of the teen actors told the show's host, John Quinones, that the performance had become real for her and that she was upset.

"I think anybody who is put in our situation or has experienced racial profiling has felt the way we have all day. It's traumatic, honestly, it's traumatic and for anyone to say that racism doesn't exist today, that's wrong," said the teen actor.

Shopping While Black: 'You're Being Racist'

A few minutes later the actors resumed their roles, and the other shoppers continued to be unresponsive. Then something unexpected happened.

"I can't have you touching all the merchandise and everything because the next thing you know, it slips in your bag. It's loss prevention," said the clerk.

A couple who overheard the clerk sprang into action. "That's quite rude. That's quite presumptuous and rude," said Esra Ozkan, a young Turkish woman.

"I had people like this come in last week," the clerk answered defensively.

"Like what?" asked Ozkan's companion, Ian Steinberg.

"Please, watch your language," said Ozkan. "Are you crazy? When you're saying 'these kind of people,' you're being racist." "You're beyond offensive," said Steinberg.

"You don't say 'these kind of people,'" Ozkan told the clerk.

"This is upsetting to me, because I've had people like [this] take things," the clerk said.

"'Like this?!'" Steinberg gasped in disbelief.

The clerk tried to smooth things over with the couple and said that they were welcome to shop in the store.

Steinberg replied that he would never spend a dime in that store, and as the couple walked out, Ozkan grabbed a business card from the register, so she could report the store's practices.

John Quinones caught up with the couple outside the store and revealed to them that they were part of an experiment to see if people would stand up for the teens who were being profiled by the clerk.

The couple said that although they have never been targeted, some of their friends have.

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