Jane Elliot

American teacher known for her Blue Еyes/Brown Eyes experiment, which demonstrates discriminatory thinking

Jane Elliot is an American educator who became known by a racial experiment she realized in one of her lessons, called Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes in 1968. She did this activity with her third-graders the day after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. Her aim was to teach them “how it felt to be treated unfairly on the basis of a physical characteristic over which one has no control”, that is, she wanted to teach them not to be racist, to be respectful with others, as we are all members of the same race.

This exercise became famous and an it is considered to have been a social experiment. The objective is very clear, but back then, doing this experiment made her lose friends, made her parents lose their family business and even made her own children to be bullied.

Nowadays, Jane Elliot is still an educator, and she is also a lecturer, a diversity trainer and has won the National Mental Health Association Award for Excellence in Education.

She appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s program in June 2020 and when Jimmy asked her what would she like people to take from what she has ever said, she answered: “There is only one race on the face of the earth: the human race.  We are members of the same race […]” referring to the fact that we should all be respectful and treat each other well, as we are no different, just on the outside. Also, in that same interview she said: “Educate yourself! You didn’t get educated at school you were indoctrinated in school. Now, use what you learned at school to educate yourself”. With these powerful statements she encourages people not to judge, but to tolerate and analyse human behavior in order not to fall into society stereotype standards.



Photo source: https://lectures.uiowa.edu/lectures/jane-elliot/