Blue Eyed with Jane Elliott
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In order to have a diverse workplace or educational setting in which all members feel welcome and are able to achieve, tolerance must be openly fostered. Blue Eyed is a powerful training video that helps people benefit from the experience of diversity trainer, Jane Elliott.
Elliott first gained fame in 1968 when she launched an experiment following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After that tragic event, she went into her classroom in Iowa and tried a radical experiment, in which she told the blue-eyed members of her class that they were inferior to the brown-eyed members. Her experiment opened the eyes of the children that she taught but also caused her to become a victim of discrimination.
Blue Eyed tells Elliott's story and allows training participants to sit in on one of her eye-opening sessions. The video shows her recreating her experiment with a group of 40 social workers, law enforcement officers, teachers and school administrators. The group is divided into blue and brown-eyed social classes, and the training participants can watch how the culture she creates negatively impacts the blue-eyed individuals in the training.
The training juxtaposes scenes from her workshop with interviews from Elliott's former students and clips from other sessions she has given in the past. As people talk about their experiences, the profoundly negative impact of prejudice and bigotry become increasingly apparent. Her former students openly discuss how they were forever changed by the training and how they gained a unique appreciation for the experiences of others, regardless of what group they were sorted into.
Watching the Blue Eyed will have a similar effect on your training participants, opening their eyes to the problems of intolerance and racism through this thought-provoking, provocative documentary. Its lessons can be used in virtually any business or institutional setting.
What They'll Learn
- How being a victim of hate speech, having expectations lowered due to racial prejudices and being dismissed due to one's differences can lead to poor performance
- The way that Black people and other minority groups are often confronted with intolerance, fear, bias and outright racism on a daily basis
- That racism is not the only harmful prejudice and that sexism, ageism, religious discrimination, homophobia and other biases can do irrevocable harm to victims
- Increased tolerance and empathy for those who are different than them in terms of their sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender, age and religion