Interracial Couple Discriminated Against in Tennessee

"WWYD": when an interracial couple faces discrimination at a barber shop.
7:46 | 05/30/14

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Transcript for Interracial Couple Discriminated Against in Tennessee
Reporter: Tonight, "What would you do?" Has come on board for a ride down the mighty Mississippi. It was once boats like this one that ruled the waters and helped America prosper and grow. Join us on to a very modern journey into the heart of Dixie. All aboard! 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? We're setting up at the empire hair studio. Hello. Reporter: Hairstylist Angela is casually flirting with a new customer. Is this your first time here? It is. You're mighty handsome. You know what, you look like a -- are you a model? I am not. Reporter: But Sean has a girlfriend. Hey, baby. Reporter: And when she shows up to meet him, Angela just can't take it. That's your girlfriend? I thought she was your housekeeper. Reporter: If you saw this woman, forcing her intolerance upon an interracial couple -- what would you do? There she is. Babe, how you doing? Reporter: Right away, Angela makes things uncomfortable. Your girlfriend. I'm not racist. I just don't see a lot of white people with black women. Call me old-fashioned. I don't like to see this, they're ruining our culture. Reporter: Suddenly, Carol speaks up. They? Who is they? Look around here, she's the only black person here. So frickin' what? I'm so sorry. I am so sorry. This is horrible. Reporter: She's so upset sh physically comforts Rachael. Thank you. You know, if you had a baby, she'd think she's the nanny. I got to go. Reporter: Rachael pretends she can't take it anymore. Sean is right behind her. Not paying for it. I'm sorry. That didn't offend you? You offended me. You offended me greatly. You don't have to defend them, they're gone. Nobody can hear you. What? I shouldn't have to defend them. They have their right to live their life. What are you talking about? I mean they were two people here. Reporter: Even with our couple out of the picture, Carol can't sit silent. Some people try to reason with our racist. If you don't agree with it, well then you don't do it, but that doesn't mean everybody else has to agree with you. How about if that was your son? I don't mean to make y'all uncomfortable, I just think -- Well, we're past that point. You're not with me on this? No. Reporter: It's time to introduce ourselves. It's become more and more accepted. Well sure. I mean, to each their own. Everybody has the right to do what they want to do. Reporter: To each, their own. But today, Angela just won't let up. It's not fair to your kids. Do people stare at you guys? Do you have a supervisor, manager, somebody here? Because, I'm Latina. So I don't have to come here anymore? Because I see you feel uncomfortable with some kind of different races. Your kind is fine. Oh, okay. Oh, thank you. I appreciate it. Look at this kind. Well, I love her, she is beautiful. Reporter: Marie Sanchez, speaking up for the targets of Angela's ugliness. You do not hurt somebody like that because she's just african-american. Color doesn't matter. She's human. She is a beautiful woman. It doesn't matter the color of the skin. She is human, she's a woman like you. Not like us. Reporter: And with that, she's had enough. I can't. Reporter: As we approach Marie, she's still shaking. She's an actress. Oh, my -- Reporter: It was hard for you to take, huh? You could've just stayed quiet. Yeah, but I couldn't. It really hurt. Reporter: Even though they weren't talking about you? Mm-hmm. Reporter: Why was it important that you get your message through to her? Because everybody's the same. We have, we are humans, we have the same rights. We can have different races, we all have different, different types of colors, but it's, it's all humans. Reporter: Time and again, people are brought to tears by Angela's intolerance. The scene, so strong, it even affects our actress. Reporter: This is hard on you. It's really hard. Reporter: Even though you're just acting. Mm-hmm. It's still hard. 'Cause you take it in. You wear it like, you put it in your heart, in your soul, and you try to make it your own. Reporter: No doubt, it's a heavy situation. And then, along comes this woman. Can you believe that? Good-looking guy like him going with a black girl? Do your parents know? Do my parents know what? Oh, you know what? Hey, you gotta stop. Really. I'm sorry? You need to stop. Please. That's not cool. I'm just saying what everyone's thinking, that's all. You're not saying what I'm thinking, and so you need to stop. That's enough. Okay? This ain't the 1800s anymore. I don't think you get it. That's right, I don't. But look around this place, she's the only black woman here. So what? Are you kidding me? You know what, ignorance is everywhere. Ignorance is everywhere. Do you understand? You're gorgeous. You understand? I mean, she's pretty for a black girl, I guess. And you're ignorant for a white girl. Now stop! Reporter: She's so upset, she calls for the manager. Get Becky. Reporter: And finds us, instead. You didn't have to speak up. Of course I did. You can't let stuff like that go on. Reporter: A lot of people are afraid to speak up. Fear can stop you from doing a lot of things, but it should never stop you from doing the right thing. Reporter: You don't just say, you don't just think it, you take action. Otherwise it doesn't count. Whatever's in your head doesn't matter, if you don't act on it. Reporter: Folks in the south, condemning racism. Much like it was condemned by african-americans in a barbershop in Harlem just a few months before. Look at them, what's different? We're going to take a step forward. Reporter: One small step, to the mountain top. Nobody said it better than the reverend king himself, right here in Memphis. One day, god's preacher must talk about the new New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new los Angeles. The new Memphis, Tennessee!

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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