Jane Elliott’s Controversial Blue/Brown Eyes Experiment

A classroom experiment on racism in 1968, one day after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Hi everyone!

It has been a while, I am aware of that. Been caught up with my placement and other fantastic projects, but this blog is about something completely different. I came across this intriguing video of a 2-day experiment on racism in 1968 done by teacher Jane Elliott.

A day after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Jane Elliott makes the decision to do an experiment with her class of 3th-graders. After concluding with the class why certain people are (or act) racist, she starts telling the class a secret. 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.

The blue-eyed people are the better people in this room. Blue-eyed people are smarter than brown-eyed people. This is a fact.

The results are amazing. In a matter of minutes the atmosphere in the classroom changes drastically. See for yourself!

In the first recess the firstly so harmonious group of children change in racist little pricks. 2 Hours after the start of the experiment the first fight because of race is a fact and the children’s school results are enormously affected.

I can’t help but wonder if an exercise this controversial would even fly in today’s classrooms and how many parents back then might have complained that this lesson was too forward and inappropriate for their children. What do you think about the experiment?

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2 responses to “Jane Elliott’s Controversial Blue/Brown Eyes Experiment

  1. Pingback: Remember to Stay Surprised | StaySurprised·

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