Thursday, July 4, 2013

Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes

I've been caught up in an experiment of a teacher Jane Elliot. She divided up her classroom in the 50s, one sided being brown eyed, one side being blue eyed. One side was told they were better than the other group, while the other side was told they were not very smart. She did this experiment not because she believed one eye color was better than another, but because she believed the students needed to experience racism first hand.

I watched the first video when I was in high school. I remember thinking, WOW I can't believe Jane Elliot is teaching her students this way! Now I get it. Often times kids learn best when they are forced to experience things first hand. Her view on teaching is that they learn through tough love.

You have to look past the name calling; the n word for African Americans was just what they said back then. The name calling is what Jane Elliot is trying to prevent. She did the first experiment the day after Martin Luther King Jr. died. It was truly a time in which she had, had enough of racism.

I know that this is a lot to view. It's the most important thing to watch that I've ever put up {in my opinion}. 

I didn't think this experiment would work on college aged students. Especially in today's time, where you have to watch what you say in the classroom. Jane Elliot made it work.

Part 2 gets even better.

Jane Elliot say that learning this way is similar to going through the stages of death.
  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargain
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance 
I'd love to hear your thoughts on how Jane Elliot teaches. Do you agree with it? Do you feel it is effective? Would you put your children/grandchildren in a learning environment where there is a tough love way of teaching?


mail4rosey said...

I'd say she had a lot of chutzpah, and I think you're right, it wouldn't fly today, but back then could have been very powerful.

I'm so happy we've moved so far past such staunch racism, but we've still collectively got soooooooooooo far to go. Kids are the ones who've got it right...the little ones, they don't care about skin color, eye color, social status, you name it... too bad that doesn't stick with us all as we get older.

Masshole Mommy said...

I actually took a college class - a million years ago - and it was called death & dying (psych major at the time) and it was all about her work. I think I do agree with the 5 stages.

Theresa Mahoney said...

Very interesting. I wanted to like her in the first video, but by the time I got to the college kids, she lost it for me. I can see the point she is trying to make, but don't think I necessarily agree with everything she is saying. The whole bitch attitude doesn't make me feel sympathetic towards her cause. I agree with the girl, I think Carrie was her name, when she was trying to point out that just because she is white, doesn't mean she doesn't suffer as much as another race. This lady completely dismissed her point of view instead of trying to sympathize with it. It was her way is right, and everybody else is wrong. So instead of walking way feeling like hey! great exercise, I leave feeling irritated over her antics. I think it's time we stop using race issues as a way to keep pointing fingers. This day in age we all have equal opportunities, and in some cases, minorities have the upper leg because of their color. We have a black president, so don't tell me you can't get ahead because of your race. Does this make me sound like a bitch the lady in the video is being? Probably. But I am tired of feeling like I am part of the problem because I was born white, and if I don't like someone it must be because of their skin color instead of them being a total douche bag. Sorry for the rant on your well intended post. This lady just pushed the wrong button with me today I guess.

Eat To Live said...

Rosey is right, it is so nice that most have moved past being a racist. There are still a few out there.


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