Jane Elliot's Experiment

596 Words3 Pages
Jane Elliot was a third grade teacher that tried an experiment with her class to educate her students on the effects of discrimination. Elliot separated her class based on their eye color in order to explain how people are treated differently in the world. She tried to find a way to explain racism in the world in a way that third graders would understand. I was actually surprised when I heard there had been an altercation on the playground the day of the experiment. A blue eyed student teased a brown eyed student which resulted in the brown eyed student engaging in a physical altercation with the blue eyed student. I was shocked that there had been no altercations prior to the experiment but the day of the experiment, the blue eyed children quickly adapted to the idea that they were better than blue eyed students. One of the students said, “I felt like a king,” and continued to state he felt he felt like he ruled the brown eyes(A Class Divided, 1968). By labeling the children and segregating them into specific groups, the…show more content…
The social identity theory compares, categorizes, and identifies with certain groups. Memberships to specific groups are important. Elliot placed people in groups based on eye color so all of the blue eyed people tended to stick together and so did the brown eyed people. In the adult groups, the blue eyed people became defensive at times because of the way they were being treated and others stood up to defend from the same group in some instances, The Social Identity Theory is also defined by a sense of superiority to others (Myers, 326). Lacking a positive personal identity, people often seal self-esteem by identifying with a group (Myers, 327). Elliot used this theory to drive her experiment with the third graders in her class by separating each group into their own social
Open Document