Jane Elliot Discrimination Case Study

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Jane Elliot, an elementary school teacher from a small, predominately white town in Iowa, brainstormed an experiment focusing on racism and the effects of discrimination on individuals. After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, Jane Elliot felt it was a perfect time to try this experiment when her students questioned why one would want to murder their “hero of the month.” To explain the reasoning of King’s assassination to the students, Mrs. Elliot created a two-day experiment to teach them a very important and unforgettable lesson on discrimination. Mrs. Elliot divided her class up based on the eye color of her students; the first day children with brown eyes were the inferior group that had to wear collars in order to clearly identify they were the “bad group,” while all the students with blue eyes were superior. On the second day the roles were reversed.…show more content…
In this case, brown eyes were superior, and Elliot harassed the adults with blue-eyes. Because the blue-eyed adults got the idea that they were not as good, they did not respond well Elliot’s tasks. For example, one woman began to talk back to Elliot because she was angry. In addition, some of the blue-eyed males refused to write down what Elliot was saying after being asked to do so. Overall, this experiment was not as effective because it was performed on adults, who are already set in their ways opposed to children that are more easily influenced. However this experiment did allow white individuals the opportunity to be discriminated against, which was something they had never experienced. Also, none of the people stood up for each other, which was one of the goals going into the experiment. Because of the results of the adult-aimed experiment, this should remain an experiment for children who have not yet formed their ideas and perceptions of
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