Will You Practice What You Preach?

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“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’”(qtd. in “The History of Mister Rogers' Powerful Message”). Mr. Fred Rogers reflected on advice his mother had once given him; however, this advice contains a few absolutes and may not ring true in today’s society. A question is raised, scrutinizing the accountability of civilians and whether or not their civic duty is to help. This is an ethical dilemma everyone could potentially face. When witnessing a crime or act of bullying, just how responsible is a bystander to act? We don’t have to put ourselves at danger necessarily, but calling the police or just saying, “Stop that!” could go a long way. The choice to act or not to act when crisis strikes lies within a person’s psyche. This dilemma is a widely known trend called the bystander effect. As authors and psychological researchers Jason Marsh and Dacher Keltner describe in their article “We Are All Bystanders,” “When study participants thought there were other witnesses to the emergency, they felt less personal responsibility to intervene.” The article featured in Changing Minds, an online center focused on educating people on every side of controversial topics, called “The Bystander Effect” describes the occurrence as, “[witnesses] assume nothing is wrong because nobody else looks concerned.” Both of these definitions sound very similar to excuses as to why people don’t take actions. Onlookers simply stand by when they receive social cues that the norm is to mind one’s own business. The thought process seems to be, “If I can’t fight off a thief stealing a woman’s purse, then I shouldn’t d... ... middle of paper ... ...ese Problem." The Global Times 23 Apr. 2011: The Global Times. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. Fisher, Max. "China's Bystander Problem: Another Death after Crowd Ignores Woman in Peril." The Washington Post [Washington D.C.] 23 Oct. 2013: The Washington Post. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. Harris, Aisha. "The History of Mister Rogers' Powerful Message." Slate. Slate Group, 16 Apr. 2013. Web. 5 May 2014. Marsh, Jason, and Dacher Keltner. "We Are All Bystanders." Greater Good. Web. 20 Apr. 2014. Osnos, Evan. "China's Bystander Effect." The New Yorker 18 Oct. 2011: The New Yorker. Web. 20 Apr. 2014. "A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust." Florida Center for Instructional Technology. Ed. Roy Winkelman. FCIT, 2012. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. Yiran, Feng. "To Help or Not to Help, a Dilemma in China." The Epoch Times [New York City] 18 Sept. 2011: The Epoch Times. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

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