The Eyes of Jane Elliott

The Eyes of Jane Elliott

For more than thirty years, teacher Jane Elliott has been
conducting anti-racism workshops in Riceville, Iowa elementary
school classrooms, writes Brigitta Kral in Horizon
Magazine.
After the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., in
1968, Elliott asked a few of her white students, who, living in
small town Iowa, had no contact with children of color, what they
thought of black people. Receiving answers like ‘they stink’ and
‘they’re dirty,’ Elliott decided to try a little exercise.

Titling it ‘Blue Eyes Brown Eyes,’ she sectioned the students into
groups of blue and brown eyes. Those with blue eyes were denied
classroom rights, including drinking directly from the water
fountain and seconds at lunch time, and she said that all blue-eyed
people were stupid and lazy. What she discovered was that the kids
who were told they were stupid, began to believe it and act like it
— and vice versa. In her classroom, she had created an ahistorical
microcosm of America’s race problem.

Today she has taken this project on the road as a freelance
diversity trainer. By conducting anti-racism workshops, she teaches
white students of all ages an important lesson in psychology:
racism is an arbitrary creation. And, as she puts it, ‘if you can
create it, you can destroy it.’ — Amanda Luker
Go there>>

UTNE
UTNE
In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.