In a not-so-recent episode of

In a not-so-recent episode of Oprah (actually from 1992) the studio audience was part of an exercise; an exercise that they were not told about. It was all part of the fun on the Oprah show as former school teacher turned diversity trainer, Jane Elliott performed the exercise she first did with grade school students in 1968.

This is how it went: Everyone was asked to be to the show 2 hours early. When they arrived, they were sorted based upon the color of their eyes. Brown-eyed folks were sent in to a catered room where they were seated and given breakfast, while those with blue eyes were made to stand while waiting. As the brown-eyed people filed in to the show, the blue-eyed folks were told that they must wear green collars or be forced to leave. The Oprah staff was told to act courteous and helpful to those with brown eyes and rude and condescending to those with blue.

When the show began Jane Elliot was introduced as having discovered previously unknown links between scholastic aptitude and eye color and was there on the show to talk about her findings that blue-eyed people were generally lazier, slower to learn, and rude.

As the show progressed the people with blue eyes grew increasingly agitated and angry with what they saw as unfair treatment and were soon yelling in true daytime talk show style. The surprising thing is was how the brown-eyed people began yelling and putting down the blue-eyed ones simply from the suggestion that they were not as good as them.

This show obviously uncovered some facets of prejudice and discrimination that these people weren’t ready for; and some that I was not aware of (or closer to the truth), or hadn’t thought of in some time. In light of this new consciousness I am experiencing, I have decided to make a couple post this week that have a theme along these same lines.

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