How about this as a theme for the next round of “reality” shows – My Year as a…
We’ve had the wife swapping shows, the shows where the boss goes to work in his or her own company, but I’d like to see something where we get real deep into the REAL lives of people with different backgrounds. I want to build some empathy in this world. Decision makers in particular need to spend a year living the consequences of their choices – example: members of congress need to spend a year living on welfare, dealing with the consequences of so-called welfare reform. They need to spend time in those communities, interacting with the people they assume to be living the “good” life while “mooching” off of other’s “handouts”. School board members who have never set foot in a classroom other than to casually observe need to spend a year teaching in the school districts most affected by their cuts to school budgets that result in teachers having to churn out “smarter” students with fewer and fewer resources.
Or maybe a show called, “BadAss” where the participants are all the big talkers, you know the ones you hear saying things like, “If I would have been in that theater / school/ restaurant, etc., I would have just pulled out my gun and…” Alright tough person, here’s your chance. Arm them as they would like to be armed (dummy bullets of course) and put them in random situations where a crazed shooter or shooters show up unannounced of course. I mean, you tell the contestant something’s going to happen, you just don’t tell them when. Those who actually “bring down” the menace, save lives, etc. are declared the winner. A spin-off show? “American Hero” – these are the badasses who took their boasting to the next level and talked about how they’d have handled terrorists overseas. Great. Thanks for volunteering – you are now a member of an elite force of soldiers who will go into battle for our country. No one is immune to being a contestant – start spouting off about how much of a badass you are and consider yourself drafted. Hear that Congress / televangelists / “news” reporters? Unhappy with the way the President decided to handle a situation? Talking crap about how veterans don’t deserve benefits? Then off you go to show us how things “should” be done and how when you get done kicking all that ass and bringing democracy to all who deserve it, come on back to the country you just fought for and live without adequate health care or job opportunities.
So many situations where people make judgments with closed minds, blinders on, through filters of fear, or a refusal to see there’s another side to the story…if only there was some way to open people’s minds.
A slight side note and a bit of additional reading along the lines of creating empathy – or at least I see there being some minimal connection between this piece and what I’m trying to convey. Read it, let me know what you think. https://www.isr.umich.edu/home/diversity/resources/white-privilege.pdf