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Jane Elliott on Racism

Jane Elliott, the teacher who became famous for the “blue eye / brown eye” experiment in her classroom, spoke recently about racism. She makes a point that I don’t hear often enough — that racism is so pervasive and insidious that we are all influenced by it. Indeed, even Elliott admits that she has exhibited it. We all have to guard against it, not just in others but in ourselves. And luckily, there are simple things we can do to fight it, but only if we work together.

The whole video is worth watching, but the best parts are from 1:10 to 1:58, and 9:23 to 24:08. And I absolutely love her calling him “Donald-saurus T Rump”.

And if you have never seen “A Class Divided”, you can watch it on PBS for free. It should be required watching for everyone.



  1. Wildwood wrote:

    Well I just watched the whole thing. I’ve known about her for years but have never seen a long interview with her and it was very interesting. Thanks for posting. I think it’s not only sad, but telling that her methods have not become part of school curriculum everywhere.

    Another thing mentioned briefly was that whites will soon be outnumbered. I think this fear is in great part what is driving the backlash against the movement for equality.

    Monday, July 11, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink
  2. Ralph wrote:

    Chris Rock may have framed it best during one of his stand-up routines when he said something like, “Not one of you white people in the audience would trade places with me as a black man. Not one. And I’m rich!”

    Monday, July 11, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink
  3. Ralph wrote:

    Hey, here’s my irony meme of the day, courtesy All Hat No Cattle.

    Monday, July 11, 2016 at 9:49 pm | Permalink
  4. Wildwood wrote:

    Ralph I got in an online discussion last week over something a family member posted on FB about his perceived problems with Clinton. My response mentioned Bush and his actions and the response from him first complained that we liberals always blame Bush and later in his post he excused some behaviors because of the Civil War. I almost got whiplash with that train of thought.

    Monday, July 11, 2016 at 9:59 pm | Permalink
  5. TJ wrote:

    Thanks. I just stayed up way too late to watch the interview in your post and then another video!

    In all seriousness, it is eye-opening as a white person to start to get even the slightest idea of what minorities deal with on a daily basis. I regret that Michael Brown and so many others had to suffer to get me to open my eyes, but I am grateful for the opportunity to improve myself. Thank you for sharing this; I’ve only just scratched the surface and there’s so much more to learn and do.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at 1:32 am | Permalink
  6. Ralph wrote:

    Wildwood – I can only imagine what some of those “behaviors” might be, then or presently!

    Having been born, raised and currently living in the Northeast (Philly area), my take on American history is understandably quite different than someone hailing from the South. More recently, with my daughter attending college in Savannah, Ga, I’ve come to better appreciate the wide and deep swath the Civil War era has imprinted into their culture and politics, sometimes with racial overtones, sometimes subtle, sometimes not. Even with a significant amount of immigration from other states over the years, those roots and history are clearly evident and it’s not likely to go away anytime soon, I suppose.

    As someone smarter than me once put it, we may be done with history but history is never done with us.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink
  7. Wildwood wrote:

    Ralph, having been born in Arkansas and spending my first 6 or so years there, I can pick up my “accent” pretty easily when I’m around someone who has one. There are things about southerners that I wouldn’t ever want to change and others that I would like to slap them upsides the head for. The unwillingness to get over the civil war being top of the list.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at 9:30 am | Permalink