UGC211ESAAY - Thirty years ago Jane Elliott taught the...

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Thirty years ago Jane Elliott taught the third grade in the white, Christian community of Riceville, Iowa. The day Martin Luther King Jr. was killed she planned an exercise that wouldn't just show her students what racism is - rather, it would give them first-hand experience of what it felt like to be oppressed for something out of their control. Elliott divided her class by the color of their eyes, marked them with armbands and proceeded to treat one group as if superior in capabilities to the other. The superior students performed better than they ever had before, while the inferior students' performance dropped. The next day, the third graders traded ranks and their performance reversed in accordance to their groups' status. What did the children learn? How did the experience affect them later in life? Clips from her original classes and interviews with former students confirm that Jane Elliott's workshops make them permanently more empathetic and sensitive to the problem of racism.
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