A Class Divided

I just got finished watching this fascinating documentary for one of my classes.

It’s a little bit deep, and a little bit uncomfortable to watch — especially the adults at the end of the segment — but worth it.

What’s so fascinating is that one teacher at one school in the middle of Ohio decided to start teaching her [all-white] class what it felt like to be discriminated against.  In a very real and powerful way, she created this artificial universe in which people discriminate against each other because of their eye color.  In two classroom days, these kids experienced both sides of discrimination, and then got the opportunity to not only talk about it, but to walk away from it.  What Mrs. Elliott showed her kids is that it’s quite a relief to be able to walk away from something this upsetting… what about the kids who can’t?

It was also interesting to watch the adults in the second half of the video make the leap into discrimination and group-based assumptions with very little guidance from Mrs. Elliott.  We all know that there are not character differences based on a person’s eye color!  And yet the workshop participants were all willing to make the rational jump, like the woman who explained the difference between her two nephews, one blue-eyed and one brown-eyed.  Before she walked into that workshop, she never, ever would have attributed any character differences to their eye color, yet once she was presented with a framework (however ridiculous!) that she could apply to their differences, well, she took the bait.

Anyway, just thought I’d go nerd on y’all for a minute and share something from class.


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