In 1968, Jane Elliott, a third-grade teacher in a small town in Iowa, conducted an exercise with her class to teach them about racism and discrimination. She divided the class into two groups: the blue-eyed children and the brown-eyed children. The blue-eyed children were told that they were better than the brown-eyed children and that the brown-eyed children were stupid and lazy. The brown-eyed children were told the opposite.
The next day, the blue-eyed children were given special privileges, while the brown-eyed children were treated as outcasts. The experiment continued for a week, during which time the children’s attitudes and behavior changed dramatically. At the end of the week, Elliott debriefed the class and they talked about what they had learned.
The experiment had a profound effect on the children, and many of them said that it changed their view of race and racism forever.
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