Interracial Couple Faces Prejudice, 'Purity' Complaints

What would you do if you saw a white man and a black woman harassed at a bar?

January 3, 2011, 12:34 PM

Jan. 21, 2011 — -- America is known for being a nation of immigrants -- the great "Melting Pot" of people who have come from all over the world. But with each generation, some of that original culture is lost forever. It's one thing to take pride in preserving our own ethnic culture, but do we have the right to impose our beliefs on others?

What happens when someone so passionate about keeping their culture "pure" decides to publicly voice their opinion in protest of an interracial couple? What would you do if you saw an interracial couple being berated simply because they don't share the same skin tone? To find out,"What Would You Do?" took its hidden cameras to a popular sports bar in Hoboken, N.J., called Texas Arizona.

Actors Hassan and Bianca play our African American bigots, outraged at the sight of a white man (Jeremy) sitting at the bar on a date with his young African American girlfriend (Nicole).

Hassan acts upset.

"What's happening is more and more of our black race is starting to diminish!" he shouts at the sight of our interracial couple, who are also actors.

"Could you just leave us alone and let us enjoy our moment?" Nicole pleads, after the "racist" has made one too many comments.

But Hassan just won't back down. He and Bianca, angry at the sight of our interracial couple cozying up together at the bar, turn up the volume of their discontent. It's not until after our racists leave that Jeremy and Nicole receive any sympathy from the others listening at the bar.

"I'm so sorry… don't worry about it, everyone has their opinion. Cheers everyone!" says a young woman nearby, trying to diffuse the tension. She has no idea she's on hidden camera, part of our WWYD scenario.

When our racist couple returns for another round of protest, things get a little more personal.

"Why are you not with an eligible black man?" Hassan asks. "What's going to happen when you guys are going to have children?"

As soon as Hassan leaves the bar, bar mate Denay Riley quickly chimes in.

"I get it all the time… My boyfriend is actually white and that's why I felt bad," she says.

'A Purity of Our Race'

When we inform Denay that it was all just a scenario for "What Would You Do?" she explains why she reached out to the "victims" of such ugly racism.

"I kind of wanted to stay out of it… I just feel like if you care about someone and you know, love someone, and you are for that person, then you should just be with them," she said.

For a quite a while, no one confronts our racists directly, so we keep Hassan and Bianca at it, sending them in once more.

"Guess what? There is also a purity of our race that needs to be kept," he complains. It's visibly irritating to another couple sitting nearby.

"You know what's funny?" starts Maritza Placencia, unable to contain herself any longer. "I'm Spanish, and my ex-husband was black and I have three children from him. And now I'm married to an Italian."

Maritza's companion, Phil Marrone, jumps in as well, red in the face and fired up.

"You don't get to pick on people here at the friggin' bar. That's ridiculous. It's obscene!"

"Did we insult anybody?" our aggressor Hassan asks.

"Yeah, you did," Phil replies. "He wasn't good enough because he was white, with her, and that's what the problem is here. You said that. She lowered her standards to be with him."

Acting irritated and insulted himself, Hassan and his girlfriend head for the door.

"We're going to leave," he says.

"You should have done that two hours ago!" Maritza yells, and, as they leave, everybody listening at the bar collectively applauds and breathes a sigh of relief.

"I'll pay their check. It's better than me going to hit the guy…" Phil tells bartender once they're gone.

Afterwards, when they find out it was all part of a staged scenario, the bar patrons tell "What Would You Do's" John Quinones they just could not stand by idly and do nothing in the face of such vicious prejudice.

"I wanted to get up and just like, push her out of here. That's how mad I got!" Maritza says.

"Physically?" Quinones asks.

"That's how mad I got. I'm sorry!"

Phil, who is white, says he thought about getting affectionate with his work colleague Maritza, who is Latina, just to get a rise out of our aggressor, Hassan.

Bystanders Get Upset

"I was going to kiss her just to annoy him!" he says, laughing.

We found that nearly everyone who witnessed the scene disapproved and voiced their sympathy for Jeremy and Nicole.

What will happen when our interracial couple is a BLACK man on a date with his WHITE girlfriend?

CLICK HERE to watch the full episode.

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