In The Eye of the Storm filmed by ABC News in 1970, Jane Elliot, a teacher at Riceville Community Elementary School, puts her third grade students through an experiment to show them how horrible colored people were treated. Since 1968, Jane Elliot always has something planned for National Brotherhood Week. On Tuesday, Elliot segregates her class by the color of the students’ eyes. The brown-eyed kids were to wear special collars around their neck so they could be seen from afar. In this situation the blue-eyed kids were all around better than the brown-eyed.
They got to sit in the front of the classroom, five extra minutes of recess, and went to lunch first. At recess, the brown-eyed kids were being teased by blue-eyed kids that were their best friends just a few hours before. After lunch and recess, Elliot discussed what was happening. She asked why and what was going on between friends because of the segregation. She watched her students change into discriminating little monsters in as short as one day. The next day, the brown-eyed are treated with respect instead of the blue-eyed. The blue-eyed realized that it wasn’t very fair, and apologized to the brown-eyed for the day before.
Jane Elliot got her point across and asked one more favor from her students; simply respect the colored. Jane Elliot accomplished exactly what she wanted; to show her students the under treated side of segregation. One strategy that Elliot used is figurative language. She argues the idea of segregation and teaches her students how people felt and how they will always feel if the color of their skin differs. Elliot’s lesson was strongly supported by cause and effect. In the classroom situation, having brown eyes lead to being treated poorly.
The blue-eyed changed into completely different kids once they were declared the “better” party. Classification is the major strategy used. Jane Elliot classified or grouped her students according to the characteristic of eye color. One group, the blue-eyed, was considered superior. The other group, the brown-eyed, were under treated and had very few privileges. By using these example strategies, and more, Jane Elliot taught her students the many disadvantages of having colored skin and she leaves her students wanting to respect all people, disregarding their physical features.
Teaching me how quickly people can be judged, I enjoyed watching this film. Even though the problem of segregation by skin color isn’t as strong in our period of time, I would still recommend this short movie to teenagers. Teens tend to immediately judge people by appearance rather than personality and it’s just not fair. For example, in the movie, the children were judged in a matter of seconds because of the collar around their neck. In our world today, people are judged by the style of their hair, the price of their clothes, and more accessories that really shouldn’t matter to others.
Before the lesson, blue-eyed kids all had brown-eyed friends. During the lesson the two parties were fighting like nobody’s business. This shows how quickly you can lose yourself and people that you care about. This also happens in the typical high school world. Friends go off and try new things and they stop caring about people they were once close with because two different paths of life were taken. I just think that people should do what they want, but never lose the touch of true friends no matter their appearance and judgments made by others. The true friends will never fail to have your back as long as you have theirs.
Courtney from Study Moose
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