- Jane Elliott
- Blue eyes, brown eyes: What Jane Elliott's famous experiment says about race 50 years on
- Blue Eyes and Brown Eyes: The Jane Elliott Experiment
Big Debate on Racismand the what your
Elliott," Steven yelled as he slung his books on his desk. Why'd they shoot that King? Would you like to find out? A chorus of "Yeahs" went up, and so began one of the most astonishing exercises ever conducted in an American classroom. Now, almost four decades later, Elliott's experiment still matters—to the grown children with whom she experimented, to the people of Riceville, population , who all but ran her out of town, and to thousands of people around the world who have also participated in an exercise based on the experiment. She prefers the term "exercise.
But while Griffin may personify an overt form of prejudice, the kind that draws near universal scorn, it's the unconscious, sublimated or throwaway manifestation of racism that tends to receive most institutional focus. Later this month a Manifesto Club report entitled The Myth of Racist Kids will argue that primary schoolchildren are being subject to a counterproductive level of anti-racist vigilance, in which childish insults are scrutinised for racism. The report's author, Adrian Hart, says: "Such anti-racist policies can create divisions where none had existed by turning every-day playground spats into 'race issues'… There are a small number of cases of sustained targeted bullying, and schools certainly need to deal with those. But most of these 'racist incidents' are just kids falling out. They don't need re-educating out of their prejudice — they and their teachers need to be left alone. It would be hard to reach a conclusion more at variance with the position of Jane Elliott.
Jane Elliott, internationally known teacher, lecturer, diversity trainer, and recipient of the National Mental Health Association Award for Excellence in Education, exposes prejudice and bigotry for what it is, an irrational class system based upon purely arbitrary factors. And if you think this does not apply to you. In response to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Everyone who is exposed to Jane Elliott's work, be it through a lecture, workshop, or video, is dramatically affected by it. It won't help much to be prepared to face Jane Elliott.
She is known for her "Blue eyes—Brown eyes" exercise. She first conducted her famous exercise for her class on April 5, , the day after Martin Luther King Jr. When her local newspaper published compositions that the children had written about the experience, the reactions both positive and negative formed the basis for her career as a public speaker against discrimination. Elliott's classroom exercise was filmed the third time she held it with her third-graders to become The Eye of the Storm. This in turn inspired a retrospective that reunited the class members with their teacher fifteen years later in A Class Divided.
Blue eyes, brown eyes: What Jane Elliott's famous experiment says about race 50 years on
On the day after Martin Luther King Jr. So Elliott decided to teach her class a daring lesson in the meaning of discrimination.
Blue Eyes and Brown Eyes: The Jane Elliott Experiment
Jane Elliot was born in in Riceville, Iowa. She works as an American teacher and as a anti-racism activist. This established her career in diversity training. The exercise that Jane Elliot tried out on her third grade class in Riceville, Iowa, was a direct result on Martin Luther King's death. Afterward she had a class discussion about the assassination and racism in general. They were doing what White people do.