How do Athenians respond to instances of overt racism? That was the question posed by the anti-racism charity ActionAid which recently performed a social experiment on the streets of the capital to bring awareness
Two actors, one Greek and one from Bangladesh, repeatedly acted out a scene in which the Greek hurled racially charged abuse at the Bangladeshi at a central Athenian bus-stop. The incident was filmed covertly to illuminate how passerby would react.
The results show that there is still a way to go to eliminate racism from Athens. Overall the scene was played out 22 times in front of different groups of people. In 4 of the incidents no one witnessing the scene stepped forward to challenge the racist behavior.
Even more troubling was that in 2 of the cases random passersby actively joined in with the abuse.
However more encouragingly in 15 of the instances those witnessing the abuse stepped forward to confront the ‘racist’. In one final instance both support and rejection of the racism was witnessed.
“Racism begins with us and ends with us,” Actionaid writes on its website about the video. “Each one of is and altogether we must stand against racist phenomena and stand by the people who suffer it.”