With King shot just the day before in Memphis, Elliott encouraged her third-graders to discuss how something so horrible could happen.
“I finally said, \’Do you kids have any idea how it feels to be something other than white in this country?\’ ”
The children shook their heads and said they wanted to learn, so Elliott set the rules. Blue-eyed children must use a cup to drink from the fountain. Blue-eyed children must leave late to lunch and to recess. Blue-eyed children were not to speak to brown-eyed children. Blue-eyed children were troublemakers and slow learners.
Within 15 minutes, Elliott says, she observed her brown-eyed students morph into youthful supremacists and blue-eyed children become uncertain and intimidated.
Brown-eyed children “became domineering and arrogant and judgmental and cool,” she says. “And smart! Smart! All of a sudden, disabled readers were reading. I thought, \’This is not possible, this is my imagination.\’ And I watched bright, blue-eyed kids become stupid and frightened and frustrated and angry and resentful and distrustful. It was absolutely the strangest thing I\’d ever experienced.”
I found this an interesting read. I know there are many juvenile developmental and learning disorders that are caused by environmental factors, as well as a childs self perception, but I didn\’t realize how much until I ran into this article.
To me, the most intriguing aspect of this experiment was the subsequent “dumbing down” of the oppressed demographic, and the “smartening up” of the domineering demographic.
Sadly, it is also quite suggestive of a vicious cycle that I have observed far too often. A developing juvenile experiencing massive stereotypical prejudice may actually develop those stereotypical traits, not because they are inherently predisposed, but rather simply because that is what they have been indoctrinated to believe.
Link to full article below:
Thanking her for opening my eyes – [LA Times]
1 thought on “Cogito Ergo Sum…”
A Class Divided
This ‘experiment’ became as famous as the Stanford prison experiment by Philip Zimbardo.