The implications of this video are terrifying.
Jane Elliot was able to segregate the children of her classroom in 15 minutes, children who had known and played with each other prior to the experiment. Regardless of their established friendships, they still easily discriminated against their fellow classmates after their new intel on eye color.
Elliot’s reminder that the brown-eyed children had the same eye color the day before and weren’t discriminated against, still didn’t stop them. At one point a child even used “brown-eyes” as a derogatory term to describe a classmate. One child even mentions it was the equivalent of calling black people niggers.
The group of kids being discriminated against performed worse on the phonic task. The brown-eyed kids’ performance increased after no longer being the discriminated group. The blue-eyed kids performance dropped when they were no considered the superior people. The only thing that had changed was their perception of self.
I watched what had been marvelous, cooperative, wonderful, thoughtful children turn into nasty, vicious, discriminating, little third-graders in a space of fifteen minutes.
Can you begin to imagine what years of being exposed to discrimination could do to ones view? Can you begin to imagine how difficult it is to escape generations of this thinking, when it’s handed down from great-grandparents to grandparents, then from parents to their children? Kids who are taught to discriminate carry this mindset with them into adulthood. This should help us understand what slavery was in America, and should gives us insight to what Hitler instilled into a nation of people. It only makes sense that we still feel the ripple effects.
Whether it’s black or white, rich or poor, christian or atheist, blue-eyed or brown-eyed; human beings are, despite our differences, human beings. Don’t let your ethnicity, income, religion, and/or upbringing ever let you forget that.