It was 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and Jane Elliott was a third grade teacher in Riceville, Iowa who thought of a way to teach her class of kids about racism. She divided students by eye color and taught her class of third graders what it felt like to be discriminated against for simply being born with a certain color…of eyes.
The Blue Eyes – Brown Eyes experiment Jane Elliott created was ground breaking, it literally opened eyes to the damaging psychological impact of racism. On that 5th day of April in 1968, Jane Elliott’s lesson plan went beyond the iris, it ignited thought, it taught, and it still does. Jane Elliott saw something dangerously wrong in our society so, she did something. She taught.
However, in 2022 Jane Elliott would most likely be fired from teaching for even conducting her groundbreaking blue eyes – brown eyes experiment. Of course, prior to being fired, she would have been told to carry a gun in the classroom to defend students from periodic gun violence.
“To sit back and do nothing is to cooperate with the oppressor.” Jane Elliott