How Racist Are You?

On the day that Martin Luther King was assassinated, the horrific nature of this tragedy gave birth to something incredibly prolific. On that day, watching the news telecast about King’s assassination, Jane Elliot, a primary school teacher in Ohio, decided that she can’t keep on holding discussions about discrimination in her classrooms. She decided that she would have to show them how it feels to be discriminated.

Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968 paved the way for the groundbreaking exercise in anti-racist training that has now visited colleges, government departments, businesses, communities, schools, and numerous nations. It is the pivotal example of one of the positive effects of the global community that has formed in the modern age.

This first video “A Class Divided”, accounts the original classroom exercise Jane Elliot conducted before retiring to teach anti-racism full time, then relates the same exercise conducted on prison employees (It comes in 6 parts). The tension is electric… the events; mystifying, entertaining, educational, and ultimately… shocking:

This second video “The Event: How Racist Are You?” is the 2009 documentary on the same social experiment conducted in England (Comes in 5 parts).

The synopsis:

Are we all more racist than we realize or would like to admit?

For this Channel 4 documentary Jane Elliott, a controversial former schoolteacher from Ohio, is recreating the shocking exercise she used forty years ago to teach her nine-year-old pupils about prejudice.

Elliott is asking thirty adult British volunteers – men and women of different ages and backgrounds – to experience inequality based on their eye colour to show how susceptible we can all be to bigotry, and what it feels like to be on the other side of arbitrary discrimination.

Does Elliott’s exercise still have something to teach us four decades on and in a different country?

Presented by Krishnan Guru-Murthy, the exercise is observed throughout by two expert psychologists, Prof Dominic Abrams and Dr Funké Baffour, who will be unpicking the behaviour on display.

The lesson? Don’t be stupid and kill a King. You will only give birth to many more Jane Elliots.

~ by revolutionwithin on September 28, 2010.

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