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Elliott spoke to Bloomington Jefferson and Kennedy high school students May 3 as part of the district's annual Diversity Day. At nearly 80 years old, Elliott doesn't speak as often as she use to, but has no problem commanding a room full of students more than six decades younger than her, often delighting them with her wit and humor.
Jane Elliott's famous blue eyes/brown eyes classroom experiment allows her, to this day, to speak on issues of diversity and discrimination to audiences near and far, and she embraces the opportunity to do so, with a few regrets.
A teaching legend trumpets diversity in Bloomington
"I wasn't born a racist," she said. "I was taught to be a racist."
Despite her celebrated teachings about discrimination, Elliott admitted she is a racist.
If "differences aren't important" and "under the skin we're all the same," as is said by many, "shouldn't two gay males be allowed to marry?" Elliott asked.
no to intercourse, they have a responsibility, she noted.
Her frank revelation about the response to her experiment came Nike Zoom Uptempo 3.0
Personal responsibility would eliminate the need for abortions, she said, noting that she's never known a woman who has wanted to have one. Women not only have the right to say Nike Shoes Uptempo
Elliott's classroom experiment originated in the late 1960s in Riceville, Iowa. The schoolteacher's experiment was in response to the shooting of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Her parents' restaurant was boycotted as well, she noted.
Her parents, educators and textbooks as well as television and movies indoctrinated her with the myth of white superiority, she said.
"You have a right to be a member of the LGBT community," she told students, Nike Uptempo Flax drawing applause from the crowd. Heterosexuals also have the right to choose members of the opposite sex as a partner, she added, but noted that heterosexuals don't have the right to force their beliefs on others.
"Prejudice is an emotional connection to ignorance," she preached, wearing a sweatshirt echoing the sentiment.
"I wasn't born a racist," Elliott told students. "I was taught to be a racist." (Sun staff photo by Mike Hanks)
"We're all members of the same race," she said. "Human race, people. "There's only one race and we're all members of it."
And her co workers wouldn't speak to her, either, much to her surprise. Had she known that, "I might have done the exercise sooner," she cracked.
Elliott opposes abortion, but her opposition was based upon personal responsibility. If you're a female and you're opposed to abortion, don't have one, she said "Take care of your own body."
day, then reversing the roles the second day. The experiment was intended to represent racial discrimination in America and garnered Elliott nationwide attention.
When people say they don't see colors when they see people of different ethnicities, they often leave out white when they name colors, according to Elliott.
With no interest in sanitizing her liberal leanings, Elliott addressed several social issues in rapid fire succession, incorporating students and school officials into helping demonstrate her points.
Because of her opposition to discrimination, Elliott and her children were the targets of derogatory comments. Beyond that, her children were spit on, had their belongings destroyed and were abused by their peers and teachers, she said.
toward the end of a 50 minute presentation championing equality. When she asked initially how many students knew of her and why she was speaking on diversity day, Elliott showed little interest in educating those in the dark about why she is famous.
That experiment in her Iowa hometown may have illustrated the arbitrary nature of discrimination, but it came at a price. Elliott told Jefferson students that had she known the ramifications of the experiment, "I wouldn't have done that exercise."
Elliott segregated children in her classroom by eye color, deeming one group of children superior because of their eye color on the first Nike Air Uptempo Og
Jefferson junior Tessa Stene speaks with Elliott following a May 3 Diversity Day presentation at Jefferson High School. (Sun staff photo by Mike Hanks)
From social issues to old fashioned motherly concern "stay out of the sun unless you are wearing sunscreen" Elliott captivated her Bloomington's audiences, and thanked Jefferson students for the positive experience.
"I was a waitress at the Last Supper," she told one group of Jefferson students last week. "I told Jesus not to trust Judas," she noted. "When a woman tells you something, believe her."
"Those of you who don't agree with that are flat out wrong," she said.
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