A Class DIvided Essay

This essay has a total of 686 words and 3 pages.

A Class DIvided

A CLASS DIVIDED
Thirty years ago Jane Elliott taught the third grade in the white, Christian
community of Riceville, Iowa. The day Martin Luther King Jr. was killed she
planned an exercise that wouldn't just show her students what racism is -
rather, it would give them first-hand experience of what it felt like to be
oppressed for something out of their control.
Elliott divided her class by the color of their eyes, marked them with
armbands and proceeded to treat one group as if superior in capabilities to the
other. The superior students performed better than they ever had before, while
the inferior students' performance dropped. The next day, the third graders
traded ranks and their performance reversed in accordance to their groups'
status.
What did the children learn? How did the experience affect them later in
life? Clips from her original classes and interviews with former students
confirm that Jane Elliott's workshops make them permanently more
empathetic and sensitive to the problem of racism.
Sandy is the one who said, when we did our reunion five years after they
graduated from high school - I asked Sandy whether, having had this
exercise when she was in third grade, had changed her life at all. She is the
one who said "Yeah, now when I hear one of those bigoted remarks, I wish
I had one of those collars in my pocket and I could take it out and I could
Continues for 2 more pages >>