Your Choice: Be a Bystander or Be an Activist.
Despite dozens of witnesses, no one helped Catherine Genovese as she was stabbed and murdered by serial killer Winston Moseley outside her New York apartment in 1964. Afterwards, psychologists studied the concept of group behavior during emergencies and popularized the concept of Bystander Effect.
The first part of this theory, “diffusion of responsibility,” contributed to Ms. Genovese’s death, and may also explain why today’s immigration crisis is worsening; people feel less individual responsibility to act when there are numerous onlookers. More recent research shows that the bigger the group, the less likely is it that anyone will intervene…despite the urgency of the situation.
With 15.5 million illegal aliens in the United States costing $151 billion annually, hundreds of thousands more crossing each month – perhaps increasing to 400,000 monthly after Title 42 is lifted – and 564 sanctuary jurisdictions nationwide each fueling incentives for entry, there’s a massive number of American onlookers. (Roughly 166 million express concerns about the border crisis). So, if the Bystander Effect applies, the odds are skyrocketing that each person thinks the other person is going to do something about the problem, a phenomenon the open-borders left no doubt loves. Add in Woke censorship that sanctions free speech and penalizes those who do act, and the hesitancy factor is even greater.
Yet the second part of “bystander effect” offers hope. While it’s true that individuals in a crowd defer responsibility to others, “social influence” is just as evident; individuals monitor the behavior of those around them to determine how they should act.
It’s another way of expressing leadership, sorely needed not just in Washington but in every statehouse, city council, and town hall in America.
FAIR has worked with activists for 44 years and as Shari Rendall, State and Local Engagement Director, can attest, “the one common denominator among them is their level of surprise at how quickly others follow when they take the first step.”
While the 1960’s radical Angela Davis would protest mightily for borrowing her phrase, it’s an apt thought for fed-up and would-be activist Americans wanting to restore sanity to our nation’s immigration system: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
Those bystanders? It’s not that they’re not concerned. They just need some leadership from you, now especially because the lifting of Title 42, and its subsequent impact, is an urgent new phase of the immigration crisis.