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Tue Apr 6, 2021, 02:42 PM

Why do bystanders fail to intervene when they see others in pain? [View all]



Tweet text:
Legal Defense Fund
@NAACP_LDF
“I have seen similar scenes from history of bystanders who turned away. It is a sign of danger for our society … We need to understand, what did these security guards think they were securing in that moment?” - @Sifill_LDF
People attend an Asian American anti-violence press conference outside the building were a 65-year-old Asian woman was attacked in New York on March 30, 2021. - New York police were searching Tuesday for a man who violently attacked an Asian-American woman as bystanders seemingly looked on without intervening, the latest incident of anti-Asian violence in the United States. The attack, which took place on a sidewalk...

Op-Ed: Why do bystanders fail to intervene when they see others in pain?
Social identities can cause us to extend care to people within our boundaries but withhold our concern from people we think are on the outside.
latimes.com
8:30 AM · Apr 6, 2021


https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2021-04-04/bystander-intervene-derek-chauvin-asian-attacks

In the last week, we saw another horrific anti-Asian assault on video. A 65-year-old woman was walking to church in New York City when she was brutally attacked by a man on a street near Times Square. The assailant said, “You don’t belong here,” as he kicked her in the chest and stomped on her while she was on the ground.

The footage from an apartment building captured the vicious attack, allowing authorities to identify and arrest a suspect. The video also caught the behavior of security guards who witnessed the assault from inside the building. Stunningly, rather than intervening to help, one of the guards slowly walked toward the woman. Then he closed the door, leaving her alone on the sidewalk a few feet away.

Reacting on Twitter, Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, wrote, “I have seen similar scenes from history of bystanders who turned away. It is a sign of danger for our society… We need to understand, what did these security guards think they were securing in that moment?”

This is exactly the right question. We think part of the answer is about identity.

Since the 1960s, social psychologists have been studying why bystanders fail to intervene when strangers need help. Among other factors, people are significantly more likely to assist victims if they believe that they share an identity — a common group membership — with them.

*snip*



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