Discrimination: a Class Divided Assignment

Discrimination: a Class Divided Assignment Words: 512

It only takes the views of one person to alter another persons perception of the world around them. There are several scenes from the video that has left a lasting impression in my mind. One of the most impressionable events was on the second day of the experiment. On this particular day, Jane Elliot called the children together to discuss what had been happening for the past two days. Once the children were discussing how it made them feel and how wrong it was to treat people that way, I thought that it was amazing that third graders could relate the experiment to real life discrimination.

I feel that these children really learned what is was like to discriminate against someone and to be discriminated against. Another scene that left a lasting impression on me, was the last scene of the program, when Jane Elliott was debriefing the adults from the correctional facility. That experiment, even in such a short time, proved how easy it was to break down the barriers of what is right or wrong. Even though the adults were less tolerant of the ridicule and demeaning accusations, most did not ay anything, and the ones that did just gave the discriminators more ammunition.

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The things that surprised me the most was how easy it was to turn the children against each other. It seemed so easy for the first group Of children “on top” to find things to blame on the inferior group. It was almost automatic that the children in the inferior group to be offended or feel badly when called “brown eyes. ” I didn’t think they would react quite so quickly and feel so bad right away. The blue-eyed children were mean and found lots of ways to criminate against the brown eyed children.

However once the brown eyed children were “on top” the terrible feeling about themselves seemed to diminish rather quickly, and I think since they knew how it felt to be on the inferior side they were not as mean and the first group of children that were “on top. ” The children that participated in the experience learned a very valuable lesson and were able to carry these values with them through adulthood. It was amazing to me to see how stating facts like the color of someone’s yes and adding an opinion to them, like they are smarter or better, can trigger such negative feelings.

The names they used were not necessary derogatory, but were perceived as derogatory because stereotypes and discrimination attached to them. The children learned that just because they perceive something as being acceptable or normal it may cause someone else to feel bad or be hurt. The children also learned that teasing is hurtful and mean. By setting distinct divisions, such as, giving the blue-eyed children five extra minutes at recess or not allowing them to play on the playground equipment the next day enforced the segregation and gave the children sense of hopelessness .

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