After MLK's assassination, this schoolteacher conducted a legendary social experiment to teach kids about racism

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“I, too, could easily be led into a life of bigotry“ is one bitter pill to swallow but it’s a truth that needs to be faced if we’re going to fix this thing.

It’s hard to imagine a teacher getting away with that lesson today.


The worst thing about those experiments is how fast they spiral.


Crazy, I remember seeing the made-for-TV movie based on that event at some point in my childhood but didn’t realize it actually happened.


The “cool” 9th grade English/Social Studies teacher at my public high school screened that movie in our class. It made quite an impression on me too.

He also was rumored to have been spotted at an English Beat concert dancing with his shirt off.


Saw this back when I was in high school; like so many others, it resonated and stayed with me.

Good on Jane Elliot for continuing her work all these years.



The Standford prison experiment may be the worst of the bunch.


Storming lighteyes! It’s always their fault, keeping the darkeyes down.


In the Fallon interview she explains that after doing that she lost all her friends, her children were spit on and their belongings destroyed, no other teachers would be seen talking to her, and her parents lost their business. Pre-internet doxxing.


The shit hit the fanatic after Johnny Carson.


I would also suggest the 2008 German movie by the same title.

I saw the Frontline broadcast when I was 11 years old & it has never left me. Jane Elliott should be in any pantheon of great educators, anywhere. Some of the “academic” criticisms are rather telling


there is a lot of talk about negative mental, health, psychological and physiological effects on people that experience racism.
And here this teacher discovered this during this ONE DAY experiment. ONE DAY! Imagine the effect after experiencing racism for your ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE.


I watched this and was in a similar experiment when i was a kid and it has made a lasting impression.


So many flaws in that one. Too bad that it’s just not ethical to repeat it.


Given the sheer degree of entitlement that a lot of parents exhibit, and a more litigious environment, I also can’t imagine it.

But, interestingly enough, some teachers still have the “f-it, this is the right thing to do” attitude. My kid’s schooling is now entirely online, and Girlchild had some pretty interesting and informative discussions this week about racism and the BLM movement. My wife e-mails with the teacher, and thanked her for making this a classroom discussion, and the teacher’s response was “well, it was the right thing. Let the Republican parents come after me.”. (and we’re in S. O.C., a traditional bastion of republicanism…)

(edit) Also, this was to a classroom of ~9year olds.


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Cabin John Junior High did a “No Blondes Allowed” week in the Montgomery County School District back in 1969.

I would have posted the original WaPo article but it is paywalled for me).

Your lived experience of being treated as an inferior human being and citizen every day of your life due to the color of your skin?

Well why didn’t you tell us about that, instead of your post above?


Black children were and are traumatized on a daily basis in much worse ways than this…Your pearl clutching over white children being subjected to just a fraction of that is pretty hypocritical here. Unless you believe some children deserve to be shielded from trauma while others don’t.

Also, I was traumatized too by bullying, but I was told that I just had to suck it up and live with it and that I was better person for it. Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. I don’t know. I do know that it has permanently screwed up my sense of self-worth and that will never be fixed. But this isn’t about me or any other white person, it’s about the constant barrage of trauma our society imposed on communities of color, day in and day out. Elliot was willing to face that problem head on and help her students to understand in a real and visceral way what that kind of exclusion does to people.

But how about as a society we stop acting as if children can’t hear about terrible, awful things in this world in order to understand that as they grow and become adults, it’s part of their responsibility to CHANGE THAT SHIT rather just passively accept it.


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