A powerfully, disturbing diversity excercise

This video is powerful, disturbing, uncomfortable and I think a must watch for everyone who wants to learn a bit more about how a minority might feel.

The teacher is Jane Elliot. Jane is also a diversity trainer who developed the Angry Eyes Exercise otherwise known as the “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes” exercise to teach students what it feels like to be a person of colour.

This video begins pretty abruptly, where one of the students who’s been singled out based on eye colour is extremely frustrated. The exercise shows how when an uncontrollable attribute, in this case the colour of someone’s eyes…or indeed the colour of your skin…effects you when you get treated in a prejudicial way.

I am way underselling this and trying to sound like I know what I’m talking about…I think you should just watch the footage.

The Youtube clip has a write up that says

Racism is a system of advantage based on race. Do you believe white racism exists? Do you believe black racism exists? How has white racism adversely affected the lives of black people in America? How has black racism adversely affected the lives of white people in America? Black people or any minority race can hate white people all they want but it has no power to impact a whole group of white people.

Centuries of slavery followed by systemic racism—such as share cropping, black codes, Jim Crow—have acted as “virtual re-enslavement” policies that continue today. The practice of lynching was done by families, women and children, who would smile and grin at blacks being hung, or tied to a truck with their bodies dragged through the streets until the limbs came apart. Although not everyone is traumatized by a particular incident, slavery is not about one incident but a lifetime of incidents.

Brown Eyes-Blue Eyes Experiment – “The Angry Eye”
By Ms. Jane Elliot

One terrifying statement in the video, and I hope you made it right the way through is when 80 year old Jane Elliot says “things are better than they were when I was 13…they’re not as good as when I was 50.”