", Elliott replied, "Why are we so worried about the fragile egos of white children who experience a couple of hours of made-up racism one day when blacks experience real racism every day of their lives?". At first, she cooperated with me. The experiment, known as Blue Eyes Brown Eyes experiment, is regarded as an eye-opening way for children to learn about racism and discrimination. In response to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, Jane Elliott devised the controversial and startling, "Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise." This, now famous, exercise labels participants as inferior or superior based solely upon the color of their eyes and exposes them to the experience of . If you have ever heard of the self-fulfilling prophecy, these results may not come as a surprise. On the morning of april 5, 1968, a Friday, Steven Armstrong stepped into Jane Elliott's third-grade classroom in Riceville, Iowa. Would you like to find out? The blue eyes brown eyes study was a study on group prejudice and discrimination conducted by Jane Elliot. The story was then picked up by the Associated Press. "Brown-eyed people have more of that chemical in their eyes, so brown-eyed people are better than those with blue eyes," Elliott said. Through this study, Elliot demonstrated how easy it is for prejudice and discrimination to emerge from just a simple message that people with one eye color are superior to people with another eye color. Now, almost four decades later, Elliott's experiment still mattersto the grown children with whom she experimented, to the people of Riceville, population 840, 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. . The fact that children are easy to manipulate into acting in a particular manner explains Jane's choice of sample. Cookie Settings, Kids Start Forgetting Early Childhood Around Age 7, Archaeologists Discover Wooden Spikes Described by Julius Caesar, Artificial Sweetener Tied to Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke, Study Finds, Rare Jurassic-Era Insect Discovered at Arkansas Walmart. Articles and opinions on happiness, fear and other aspects of human psychology. 2012 2023 . Elliott reminded them that the reason for the lesson was the King assassination, and she asked them to write down what they had learned. March 26, 1985. Thats how it started, and thats how it went all day long. The people and cultures already present in a place often feel threatened by new immigrants. Delivery in 6+ hours! Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images Sign up for Politics Weekly.]. Three sections were selected to be administered the simulation . Elliott pulled out green construction paper armbands and asked each of the blue-eyed kids to wear one. And what she did caused an uproar. Youve probably heard different versions of it. Blue eyes, brown eyes: What Jane Elliott's famous experiment says about race 50 years on. Yes, the children felt angry, hurt, betrayed. Order from one of our vetted writers instead. Elliott separated her all-white class of students into two groups: blue-eyed children and brown-eyed children. ISBN 9780520382268. This was the smaller group. ", Then, the inevitable: "Hey, Mrs. Elliott, how come you're the teacher if you've got blue eyes?" Elliott? In 2001, she was still trying to make a change. But when she discovered that I was asking pointed questions of scores of her former students, as well as others subjected to the experiment, she made an about-face and said she no longer would cooperate with me. A smart blue-eyed girl who had never had problems with multiplication tables started making mistakes. Looking back, I think part of the problem was that, like the residents of other small midwestern towns I've covered, many in Riceville felt that calling attention to oneself was poor manners, and that Elliott had shone a bright light not just on herself but on Riceville; people all over the United States would think Riceville was full of bigots. "If this ugly change, if this negative change can happen this quickly, why can't positive change happen that quickly? hide caption. Some guidelines for avoiding or reducing this effect are: In conclusion, Jane Elliotts experiment demonstrates the fragility of coexistence and cooperation. "I understand this is the first time you've flown?" In the 60th year beyond Brown vs. Board of Education, Frontline is making available their classic 1985 documentary, " A Class Divided ," about the experiment and what happened later. On the first day, she told the children with blue eyes they were superior: smarter and more well-behaved than the children with brown eyes. The three outcomes are: (1) virtually all of the subjects reported that the experience was The mainstream media were complicit in advancing such a simplistic narrative. At this point you may wish to tell the pupils that you are conducting an "experiment" to look at what prejudice is. The idea was simple but profound. "He's a bluey! Jane Elliott and Dr. On April 5 1968 the day after the death of Martin Luther King Jr Elliott decided to show her students how easy it was to be influenced by racism. Ethical & Pedagogical Issues 2. One example that has been in place for many years is the blue-eyed/brown-eyed experiment. The people of riceville did not exactly welcome Elliott home from New York with a hayride. The contents of Exploring Your Mind are for informational and educational purposes only. ", Walt Gabelmann, 83, was Riceville's mayor for 18 years beginning in 1966. "You know, sweetheart, you haven't changed one bit. "On an airplane, it is," Elliott said to appreciative laughter from the studio audience. And you'll always have it. She was hesitant to enroll in Elliotts workshop but was told that if she wanted to succeed as a manager, shed have to attend. Hundreds of viewers wrote letters saying Elliott's work appalled them. The day after Martin Luther King Jr. was shot, Elliott had a talk with her students about diversity and racism. The experiment, known as Blue Eyes Brown Eyes experiment, is regarded as an eye-opening way for children to learn about racism and discrimination. She and Darald split their time between a converted schoolhouse in Osage, Iowa, a town 18 miles from Riceville, and a home near Riverside, California. They felt superior and had the support of the authority figure (the teacher). Malinda Whisenhunt? The next day, Elliott reversed the roles. It's the Jane Elliott machine. ", Elliott says the role of a teacher is to enhance students' moral development. From Elliot's highly controversial experiment it is clear that prejudice and discrimination can only be understood through experience. She told them brown-eyed . They are more civilized than blue-eyed people. Jane Elliott was a third grade teacher in Riceville, Iowa when she developed the Blue Eyed/ Brown Eyed exercise to teach the effects of racism. The students who had blue eyes were told that they were better and smarter than their inferior brown-eyed peers. In a grassy front yard down the block is a hand-lettered sign: "Glads for Sale, 3 for $1." At the time, she was a third-grade . He printed them under the headline "How Discrimination Feels." The fourth of five children, Elliott was born on her family's farm in Riceville in 1933, and was delivered by her Irish-American father himself. Biddle, B. J. Lasting Impact of Blue Eyes Brown Eyes Experiment, Words are the most powerful weapon devised by humankind. Jane Elliott (ne Jennison; born on November 30, 1933) is an American diversity educator.As a schoolteacher, she became known for her "Blue eyes/Brown eyes" exercise, which she first conducted with her third-grade class on April 5, 1968, the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. I felt like hitting them if I wanted to. In Jane Elliott's experiment she made the third graders believe that the blue eyed people were better,than the brown eyed people. Things even got violent at recess. It makes you proud. "There's a sense of renewal here that I've never seen anywhere else," Elliott says. Many critics that the children were too young to understand the exercise. When she separated the class by eye color and announced that blue-eyed children were superior, Paul Bodensteiner objected at every turn. Need an original essay on Essay Sample: Ethical Concerns in Jane Elliot's Experiment? After the exercise white college students in . The musical is about romance, but it integrates issues of race and discrimination (Norris, 2014), and the song is about how discrimination is taught carefully, in long term. ", Jane shielded her eyes from the morning sun. The brown-eyed children began to act aggressive and mean towards the blue-eyed children. In this scenario, students are told brown-eyed people . Want a quality guarantee? In 1968 after Martin Luther King was assassinated the United States was in turmoil. When she went downtown to do errands, she heard whispers. One even wrote a lipstick message with racial slurs. To get her points across, Elliott hurled insults at workshop participants, particularly those who were white and had blue eyes. "Let me look at you," Elliott said. I'm tired of hearing about her and her experiment and how everyone here is a racist. Throughout the day, Elliott continued to give the children with blue eyes special treatment. The day after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in 1968, Jane Elliott, a schoolteacher in rural Iowa, introduced to her all-white third-grade class a shocking experiment to demonstrate . In fact, most of the initial response was negative. "Well, what do you expect from him, Mrs. Elliott," a brown-eyed student said as a blue-eyed student got an arithmetic problem wrong. Blue Eyes vs. Brown Eyes Experiment. On Monday, Elliott reversed the exercise, and the brown-eyed kids were told how shifty, dumb and lazy theywere. In doing the research for my book with scores of peoples who were participants in the experiment, I reached out to Elliott. All 28 children found their desks, and Elliott said she had something special for them to do, to begin to understand the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. the day before. Thus, the dominant group, supported by the authorities, will always have the upper hand. . The students initially involved wished that everyone could participate in an exercise like this. It is a must . Once indoors, the brown-eyed group was then treated to coffee and doughnuts, while the blue-eyed group could only stand around and wait. The selection was based on the color of the eye for each group. The never-before-told true story of Jane Elliott and the "Blue-Eyes, Brown-Eyes Experiment" she made world-famous, using eye color to simulate racism. Exploring your mind Blog about psychology and philosophy. If you white folks want to be treated the way blacks are in this society, stand. She told them that people with brown eyes were better than people with blue eyes. ", Vision and tenacity may get results, but they don't always endear a person to her neighbors. She wanted them to understand what discrimination felt like. Abstract The effectiveness of a well-known prejudice-reduction simulation, "Blue Eyes-Brown Eyes," was assessed as a tool for changing the attitudes of ncnblack teacher eduction students toward blacks. The video . Jane Elliot's experiment explains the reasons for discrimination to a small extent. She also made the brown-eyed students put construction paper armbands on the blue-eyed students. With this experiment she wanted to let the blue-eyed people (white people) feel how it is to be in low power position. Elliott shared the essays with her mother, who showed them to the editor of the weekly Riceville Recorder. Why are we still talking about this experiment over 50 years later? I felt mad. She nodded. The textbook publisher McGraw-Hill has listed her on a timeline of key educators, along with Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Horace Mann, Booker T. Washington, Maria Montessori and 23 others. A second look at the blue-eyes, brown-eyes experiment that taught third-graders about racism. If brown-eyed children made a mistake, Elliott would call out the mistake and attribute it to the students brown eyes. those with brown eyes (or hazel eyes). Elliott pulled out green construction paper armbands and asked each of the blue . "Probably because they have been taught how they're treated in this country that they have to understand us. Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes offers an intimate portrait of the insular community where Elliott grew up and conducted the experiment on the town's children for more than a decade. One of the most famous experiments in education Jane Elliott's "blue eyes, brown eyes" separation of her third grade students to teach them about prejudice was very different from what the public was told, as revealed in this excerpt from the in-depth story about what really happened in that classroom. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Why was the Blue Eyes and Brown Eyes Experiment considered unethical in psychology? Most Riceville residents seem to have an opinion of Elliott, whether or not they've met her. Traditionally, society has always treated leadership as a male issue. Days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., she pioneered an experiment to show her all-white class of third graders what it was like to be Black in America. Theyd have to use paper cups if they drank from the water fountain. Her class, Not a day goes by without me thinking about it, Ms. Elliott. On the first day of the experiment, she declared the brown-eyed group superior and gave them extra privileges like seconds at lunch, extra recess time, and access to the new school playground. "You can see the look on their faces. Jane Elliott's experiment. When Elliott walked into the teachers' lounge the next Monday, several teachers got up and walked out. The minimal group paradigm has shaped an entire methodology in social psychology. 1. The second day, Elliott reversed the groups. As for the criticism that the exercise encourages children to distrust authority figuresthe teacher lies, then recants the lies and maintains they were justified because of a greater goodshe says she worked hard to rebuild her students' trust. Charity is humiliating because its exercised vertically and from above; solidarity is horizontal and implies mutual respect.. One key assumption is that the sample population represents an actual society. This way, she successfully created two distinct groups in her classroom: The consequences of the minimal group became evident very quickly. Open Document. Everyone's tired of her. Even though the response to the Blue Eyes Brown Eyes exercise was initially negative, it made Jane Elliott a leading figure in diversity training. Though Jane's actions were justifiable because she was not a psychologist, her experiment cannot be replicated in the present society. Elliot said that when the children were given the test on the same day that they were in the superior group, they tended to get the highest scores. Back in the classroom, Elliott's experiment had taken on a life of its own. That got the other teachers angry. They needed not acknowledge their privilege or reflect on it. At her lunch break that day in the teacher's lounge, she told her colleagues about the exercise. Zimbardocreator of the also controversial 1971 Stanford Prisoner Experiment, which was stopped after college student volunteers acting as "guards" humiliated students acting as "prisoners"says Elliott's exercise is "more compelling than many done by professional psychologists. Elliott's friends and family say she's tenacious, and has always had a reformer's zeal. The experiment known as Blue Eyes Brown Eyes experiment is regarded as an eye-opening way for children to learn about racism and discrimination. She was a standing-room-only speaker at hundreds of colleges and universities. Focusing on ethics the experiment violated some of the principles and codes of conduct established by the American Psychological Association. Jane Elliott's Blue-Eyed versus Brown-Eyed Students experiment was conducted to determine whether racism was a learned characteristic. "People of other color groups seem to understand," she said. She was a local girl and the other teachers were intimidated by her success. But not Elliott. Proceeding with the experiment, Elliot divided the children into two groups each with nine pupils. The students were surprised, but they didnt argue. She left teaching in the mid-80s to speak publicly about the experience and the impact of prejudice and racism. One of the ways Hitler decided who went into the gas chamber was eye color, Elliott said in a later speech. Children often fight, argue, and sometimes hit each other, but this time they were motivated by eye color. Its goal was to demonstrate what prejudice was to her third grade class. As the morning wore on, brown-eyed kids berated their blue-eyed classmates. . Elliott continues, "Just when you think that the fertile soil can sprout no more, another season comes round, and you see another year of bountiful crops, tall and straight. That might have been the end of it, but a month later, Elliott says, Johnny Carson called her.