Over at Dangerous Minds Melissa Sweat wrote about the 1968 "blue eyes/brown eyes" classroom experiment.
The class of third graders are told that blue-eyed people are smarter and better than brown-eyed people. Blue-eyed people get an extra five minutes of recess, and the two groups aren’t allowed to play with one another on the playground. The brown-eyed children wear fabric collars so they can be identified from a distance. When, during recess, one of the children calls the other “brown-eyed” as an epithet and the child retaliates by slugging the taunter, Jane Elliott does what any good teacher would do: the child is reprimanded, but the overall exercise continues.
It was the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968 that Elliott ran her first “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes” exercise in her Riceville, Iowa classroom. In 1970, Elliott would come to national attention when ABC broadcast their Eye of the Storm documentary which filmed the experiment in action. Below, is a portion from the 1985 PBS Frontline documentary A Class Divided which features the ABC footage as well as clips of a class reunion.
Blue eyes/brown eyes: Jane Elliott’s controversial classroom experiment on racism, 1968
Ida Lockett of Sacramento, CA was helping her 5-year-old son put together a Playmobil pirate ship kit he’d been given for his birthday when she saw that the instructions told her to put a shackle around the neck of a dark-skinned figurine in torn clothing.
From Woz’s Facebook:
Here’s an update to the story about a schoolchild arrested in Irving, TX for bringing his homemade clock to school: This morning, President Obama tweeted: “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science.”
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