'What Would You Do?': Shopping While Black

"I have friends from all walks of life and all different colors, and I've seen them try to hail a cab and it just doesn't happen," said Steinberg.

According to research on the phenomenon, most black shoppers never report the harassment, and some go as far as to actually make a purchase to prove that they can afford to do so.

One of the last scenarios of this experiment resulted in an interesting twist.

This time around, when the actors resumed their positions and sales clerk began to harass the teens, two black women walked in the store.

They couldn't help but overhear the sales clerk as she told the teens that it was only a matter of time before they took something. The security guard noticed the women listening and told them that they were fine.

"I'm just watching these types of people, you know," he said, referring to the teens.

Heran Biru, one of the women listening, immediately stood up for the teens and told the guard, "It's my opinion that you shouldn't say 'those types of people,' because it comes off as African-American."

Then Biru's friend, Rikik Yifredew, asked the teens if they did something suspicious. When they told her 'no,' Yifredew asked the clerk and guard if they would behave similarly with three white girls. When they answered no, Yifredew thanked them for being honest and added, "That's wrong."

When John Quinones walked into the scene and told the women that they were part of a TV program, he asked why they thought that more people didn't stand up for the teens.

Yifredew said she didn't know why people wouldn't stand up, especially African-Americans.

"I can't ever imagine walking through and seeing something like that happen and saying 'that's really sad-- but that goes with a cute bag.'" She said she would not want to shop at the store again.

Shockingly, almost 100 people witnessed the scenario and only 16 people intervened to help the young victims over two days of shopping.

In an ABC News/ Washington post poll from January 2009, 54 percent of black respondents say they're not treated equally by retailers. For whites, the figure was 15 percent.

Research shows that profiling shoppers does not cut down on shoplifting. Armed with that knowledge, the show asks its viewers: The next time you see someone being unfairly targeted in a store, what would you do?

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