SOC100 Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Jane Elliot
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Chapter 15 Video: Anatomy of Prejudice- Jane Elloitt’s Seminar on Race
•Jane Elliot ran as exercise for 30 years based on racism and white societies
oBrought her methods to modern Britain
•30 participants of multiple races were split up into two groups based on their eye colour to
simulate a racist apartheid style regime.
oBrown eyed was the privileged majority group and Blue eyed (all white) was the
bullied & collared group
oBrown eyed was sent to their seats right away and Blue eyed was sent to an
oThe two groups were first segregated, and soon the Blue eyed group was isolated
oJane had the Brown eyed group to turn against the Blue eyed group
•Jane devised her controversial exercise when she was a school teacher in a racially
•Jane wanted her students to understand how it felt to be discriminated based on skin colour
which they had no control over
oAlso wanted them to understand why Martin Luther King Jr was in the streets. He did
that because it was the only way to get his wishes filled
•The first thing you have to do to decrease the level of racism in society is to let white people
find out what it’s like on the receiving end
•The white members in the Brown eyed group were trying to go against Jane. (ended up
•Jane had no idea that just 15 minutes of discrimination to one of her very brilliant students
(blue eyed) could influence her that much.
oJane had no idea because:
Her #1 freedom in the US as a white woman is the freedom to be totally
ignorant about those who are different from herself.
Her #2 freedom is the freedom to deny that she’s ignorant
Her #3 freedom is the freedom to say to people of colour who accuse her of
making a racist remark that they took it wrong
oThere’s no such thing as subtle racism
•White people don’t see the problem with racism
•Jane felt she had seen the world in microcosm
oHer exercise showed what racism was: an immoral, irrational social construct that
people were far too quick to sign up to
•Her mission in the exercise was to grind down the Blue eyed
oMany of the members in the Blue eyed group didn’t want to participate and ended up
•The Blue eyed group still did not recognize racism. (almost a denial of its existance)
•In the UK, racism is very subtle. They just don’t get it.
•People in the Brown eyed group are learning a lot.
oHow impenetrable it is for white people to understand racism
oThey either don’t want to accept that there is discrimination, don’t see it, or don’t
understand what is it even when they do see it
•Terry Taylor(member of Blue eyed group) believed that white people experience racism as
•In Britain, you have an establishment with power.
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