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Jane Elliott

by Jorge from Las Vegas

Jane Elliott (janeelliott.com)
Jane Elliott (janeelliott.com)

Jane Elliott was an important hero to her community and those that learned from her. She impacted many people and changed the lives of over thousands of people. Now you might be asking how. She did this by teaching a lesson to students, teachers, and parents of youth. Not only this but she stood up for what she believed and was supported by people who were against what was going on at the time. Jane Elliott was important to society, and she changed the perspective of many people.

Jane Elliott was born on May 27th, 1933 in Riceville, Iowa. She was a schoolteacher who was dedicated to showing her students the right way to do things. At the time, there was a lot of discrimination going on so it was a huge problem to how the students would grow up. She looked around and saw discrimination all around her and this would change the students' perspective of how they perceived things, believing this was the right way. She didn't want to let this happen and decided to conduct and "experiment" on her students by showing them that discrimination was wrong.

On April 5th, approximately one day after MLK Jr's death, Elliott arrived at school and was hearing hateful comments about his assassination. "He's better off dead" and "They finally got rid of him" were things that she heard at the school. She had never seen someone be so disrespectful to another person's death. She got to her classroom and knew what she had to do to help her students. She began by giving them green collars, "them" being the students with brown eyes, and told them to wait in the classroom. She returned later and the students with blue eyes had more privileges and responsibilities than the students with brown eyes. The students with brown eyes got lower grades on tests and didn't show any signs of improvement while the students with blue eyes got higher grades and improved a great deal.

Jane Elliott (pbs.org)
Jane Elliott (pbs.org)

Jane Elliott noticed that this is how a person reacts to discrimination. She switched the treatment of the students the following week and the same applied to the students with brown eyes. She saw the same pattern again, this time adding factors to the experiment. At the end of the week she told her students to write about their experience. The experiment had worked and it changed how the students would ever look at discrimination again. She did this at public places and more to show people that it wasn't right to discriminate and to show them the effects of discrimination.

Jane Elliott changed the lives of many young students and affected the way they look at things. She affected more than just the students, teachers, and parents were also noticing the same things she was, that there are many negative effects to discrimination and it changed how Someone acts. She taught everyone a lesson and never did this for recognition, rather for the ensuring that she knew her students wouldn't grow up believing it was right. She didn't win any medal or receive a prize, but deep inside she knew she changed at least one person and it made her smile to see that.

Page created on 7/22/2016 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 7/22/2016 12:00:00 AM

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