We were at the movies last night to see Last Christmas (very good by the way). While the movies was playing, we saw a group of teens and their chaperone being asked to leave.
Let me start from the beginning.
While waiting for the movie to start, a group of young teen girls came in with what appeared to be one adult to chaperone. They were being very chatty as they sat down, but the movie hadn’t started yet.
Once the movie began though, they continued to be chatty and using their phones (easy to see the little screens glowing in the dark). The chaperone attempted to quiet them, to no avail.
A little while into the movie, a couple of the teens got up and went over by the door, staying inside the theater—not sure why they didn’t step outside the door. They were semi-arguing over something and speaking loudly enough to disturb the movie-going experience.
At some point, a man in front of us went over to let the teens know they were being a little loud. We could hear the teens apologizing and calling the man sir. However, they did not quiet down or step outside after he stepped away. They then went back to their seats, but the group continued to be very chatty.
Someone must have gone to tell management because a manager from the theater came in and asked the chaperone to come to talk outside. I don’t know if she did as I was still trying to watch the movie throughout all of this occurring.
I think the chaperone did try to quiet them down again, with no luck. The manager had remained off to the side to monitor. After a few minutes with no change, the manager asked the group to leave. The group began to gather their things, but again, not very quietly, and exited the theater. They must have forgotten something because the whole group came back to look, being quite load and obnoxious in their behavior. This happened twice and on their final exit they were shouting loudly, very purposefully being rude at that time.
I will admit to being thankful to the manager for asking the group to leave because they were not behaving in a way that is expected in a theater—quiet, watching the film, phone on silent and put away.
I was also conflicted.
You see, this was a group of teens of color. I wondered if they had been a group of mostly white teens would they have been asked to leave? Would the group have quieted down when asked? Would they have known the behavior wasn’t acceptable for a theater?
I also wondered if this was a birthday outing, which had now been ruined by being asked to leave. Were they maybe on an outing with a club? What about a home of some sort and this was a social outing to learn how to be appropriate in this setting? Many different scenarios went through my mind, of which I’ll never know if any of them are correct.
What I do know is the group was given multiple opportunities to do the right thing in a theater situation and their chaperone tried to help them do the right thing. None of these things worked, which brought the situation to a head.
There was also a feeling of sadness as well. Sad they didn’t settle down, sad they had to be asked to leave, and sad they fed into stereotypes on the way out.
What are your thoughts? How might you have felt? What might you have done in the situation?