Why We Fail to Speak Up for Others When We Know We Should

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Last week, witnesses began taking the stand to testify against Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State football coach who faces 52 counts related to child sexual abuse. As was predicted, much of the witness testimony was difficult to hear, but not just for its content. More shocking, perhaps, was the lingering question: Why didn’t the witnesses report what they saw? Or if they reported it, why didn’t they follow up on their reports?

Max Bazerman is a business ethicist at Harvard, and co-author, along with Ann Tenbrunsel, of “Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do About It.” Mindy Mitnick is a licensed psychologist with decades of experience working with witnesses and victims of abuse.



Max Bazerman and Mindy Mitnick

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [3]


Just caught the tail end of a segment where the guest was commenting on the speed with which Indian immigrants to the US pick up English, Maybe he should be told that they come here already speaking it and were very likely educated in it.

Jun. 19 2012 09:52 AM

How about journalists who refuse to report the news accurately which is their job due to professional pressure and political bias?

Jun. 19 2012 07:48 AM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

Why people "do nothing" when they "see something" has lots of dimensions, but is certainly a clear phenomenon, with enormous effects. Part of it I think is simply our normal innocence, and the mind's inability to grasp what's happening when it isn't something they've seen over and over. That's like the common feeling of "paralysis" in the face of great threats.

I've studied it more for the case of why no one in the press is really saying anything, when it is so very clear that our society is relying on ever increasing use of ever shrinking resources... You just keep skipping over the subject, as it if must be unimportant, as if it matters that "nobody else who matters socially seems to be speaking about it".

Jun. 19 2012 07:03 AM

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