“Am I my brother’s keeper?” ~Genesis 4:9
If you were put into a situation in which you could–you didn’t have to, but could–help a total stranger, would you? What if the individual was the member of a social category that was opposed to your values, morals, ethics or personal preferences, such as the “wrong” religion, ethnicity or socio-economic status, or lived on “the wrong side of the tracks”, would you still help them?
Social activist and YouTuber “The Mane Man” decided to conducted a social experiment to try and answer this very question.
Dressed in full Muslim garb, “The Mane Man” ascended a bridge and pretended to be distraught over how he and other Muslims were being viewed and treated. He feigned being on the brink of suicide. As people walked by, he reached out to them and asked them to do one simple thing to help him. Deliver a note to his dad.
People didn’t just respond to this young man’s desperation, they compassionately embraced and encouraged him. Without knowing who he was, what he’d done or what had brought him to this pivotal moment the bystanders proceeded to de-escalate the situation and to show him that he was valuable as a person–despite what other people may think of him. The unwitting participants stopped what they were doing and asked the young man to come talk to them. “I really want to hear your story, ” one young lady said. Another couple stopped to help and then flagged down two police officers who happened to be passing by. Even the police officers showed gentleness and compassion and offered him sage words of advice.
The last lady who stopped to help wept with the young man.
At the end of the day, we are all humans doing our best to navigate life. When we strip away all of the superficialness and have the courage to see past our prejudices and preferences, then are we able to connect with the humanity that exists in all people. This experiment illustrated that we are all a part of the same brotherhood and that makes each one of us “our brother’s keeper.”