Read these personal accounts from kids and one parent on what it was like to be in Dateline NBC's hidden camera report on discrimination, part of the full series 'My Kid Would Never Do That.'
Let me start off by saying it was great to work with the many kind people of NBC. During this show, I learned a lot about myself and discrimination in general. I am lucky enough to live in a very diverse community where everyone is accepted equally. In a way, I knew there was discrimination, but I really didn’t think it was that bad, and I definitely didn’t think I would EVER discriminate.
Let me explain that I as a person do not see color when I’m choosing friends. It may sound cheesy but I look for what’s inside. When the amazing Latino young man (Nicholas) began to sing, I was thrilled! I loved the song he was singing and thought he did a great job! Plus even his (fake) accent was awesome! In the beginning , I thought that we were supposed to choose the person we wanted to win, so I immediately chose him! I then realized that we were choosing who we wanted to send home and the others were basing it on his race. I was appalled. I couldn’t believe they thought that way! There is simply no question that he is American. America is known as the melting pot of all cultures and ethnicities and I love it. When I heard all the horrid things they were saying about him I wanted to yell at them! And tell them how wrong they were, but in an attempt to be kind and please everyone, I tried to change how they were voting. I didn’t realize at the time that they were actors I tried to get them to understand, and in the end, I finally gave in because I felt like I had no other choice. We needed to make a decision so they could continue filming. I felt out-numbered and out of options. I gave in but refused to say anything about his race because I didn’t agree with it.
Everything happened so fast. I was chosen to give the verdict and instantly regretted it. When Natalie came out and told us we were on Dateline, on a segment about discrimination, and that two of the participants were actors, my heart broke into a million tiny pieces because I gave in! Even though I am so strongly set in my beliefs and ways, I gave into peer pressure! This made me realize that no one is immune to peer pressure, and it is VERY important to stand up and listen to your heart. If your gut says something is wrong, you need to voice it! Stand up for what you believe.
Instantly, the only thing that would make it any better was to apologize to the actor. He was very kind and understanding and very much the type of person I would be friends with back home. I feel for everyone who has to deal with discrimination on a daily basis and even though I am lucky enough not to have to, it is something that really needs to be addressed. Kids need to understand what they’re really saying when they make these derogatory comments. If everyone could feel even a fraction of the heartbreak I felt or could live a day in the life of the victim, maybe they could understand NO ONE is better than another person regardless of the color of their skin, their language or the religion they practice. We are ALL EQUAL and need to treat each other as such
In the end, this was an amazing experience and I thank Natalie, NBC, MY mom and everyone involved in this project.
Julia Kempe (Allison’s mom)
I was very happy that my daughter was chosen to participate as a judge in the “staged” Teen Singing Competition. I honestly felt certain that she would never let anyone persuade her to discriminate against someone. She is blessed to attend a very diverse school and I often listen to her rant and rave about select students who treat others unkindly or unfairly. She is definitely a proponent of all human rights.
She was most impressed with the young man who she was eventually persuaded to vote off. She felt so highly pressured that she eventually gave in so as to appear professional “on TV” and not come across as argumentative or not a “team player”. She was incredibly heart sick over the situation, but I was extremely proud of how she handled it. She couldn’t forgive herself without apologizing to the young man she had discriminated against and later, sharing a little of who she really is.
I think we both learned a great deal. She learned to be strong no matter what others think and to stand her ground. I learned that peer pressure can undermine who a person truly is. I also realize that having regular conversations with your child, not only about discrimination but about all of the issues that “Dateline: My Kid Would Never Do That” has reported on recently (and more) is the best way to help our kids be strong in difficult situations.
Hey, I'm Amaru Cloud. My experience on Dateline NBC's 'My Kid Would Never Do That', is something that I will never forget for as long as I live. When I stepped into that auditorium and listened to the boy and girl (who turned out to be actors) begin to judge the best singer in the line up by the color of his skin, it immediately reminded me of Martin Luther King Jr's quote, "Judge a man not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character." When I was put under pressure to vote against someone just because of his ethnicity, I knew I had to stand up for equality. I had to do the right thing, because that could have been me being discriminated against. I think Dateline NBC is doing a great job with this show by teaching people across the country many important lessons.