FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (3/06)
Creator of 'Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes' Discrimination Experiment, Jane Elliott, to Present Public Lecture March 13 at Centenary College
SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary College will host the “Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes” discrimination experiment creator, Jane Elliott, as an Attaway Scholar on Monday, March 13. She will speak from 7–8:30 p.m. in the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse. The program is free and open to the public.
Elliott, who was a Peter Jennings/ABC-TV "Person of the Week," is known for the sensitizing exercise in which participants are labeled inferior or superior based on the color of their eyes.
She first used her "Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes" exercise in a third-grade classroom in all-white, all-Christian Riceville, Iowa, immediately after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Since then, the exercise has been repeated around the country, showing dramatic results with children and adults.
Those who have been through this exercise report that it is "an emotionally significant and life-changing experience. It is also controversial, as it traumatizes its subjects, though it formed the basis for much diversity programming in the country today." Elliott’s work is a frequent subject of television documentaries and two Emmy Award-winning films.
Among documentaries that have covered her work were ABC's "The Eye of the Storm," which won a Peabody Award; PBS's "A Class Divided," which dealt with the long-term impact of the exercise and Elliott's work with adults; and Florida Public Television's "The Eye of the Beholder," which also dealt with adults and their reactions to discrimination. The public television films received Emmy Awards.
At Centenary, Elliot will also meet with students in an Introduction to Sociology class and a General Psychology class.
Her appearance is in conjunction with the Attaway Professorships in Civic Culture, which are named in honor of the late Douglas and Marion Attaway. They combine the advantages of guest speakers and internship programs as they provide brief residencies as the scholars interact personally with students and the community. Like internships, the Attaway scholars play a mentoring role that encourages students to engage in similar intellectual endeavors. As guest speakers, the Attaway professors bring to campus perspectives that are often underrepresented in the academy.
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