Jane Elliott to Speak Tonight on Prejudice

 

Jane Elliott, lecturer and former teacher famous for her Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes exercise, will speak on campus tonight.

The event will be held in the Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

In 1968, Elliott was a teacher in Riceville, Iowa, and decided to do an exercise with her third-grade class to demonstrate prejudice in human nature. She divided her students based on their eye color, telling them that the brown-eyed children were superior. The next day, she switched, saying the blue-eyed children were better. She wanted to teach her white students, many of whom had never even met a black person, what it felt like to experience discrimination based on the way they looked. The Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes exercise attracted national attention, both positive and negative.

Now, Elliott tours the country as a lecturer. Her lectures address how to recognize and eliminate prejudice by using visual aids and handouts that allow the audience to address their own discriminatory thoughts and behavior and that of those around them.

She will also discuss the Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes exercise and its impact on education in the United States.

Hannah Bailey, vice chair of UT’s Issues Committee, said, “We believe that her message needs to be heard on all college campuses, especially the University of Tennessee, to combat racism and prejudice against minorities.”

Elliott received the National Mental Health Association Award for Excellence in Education for her work and was the subject of the Peabody Award-winning film The Eye of the Storm.

The lecture is sponsored by the Issues Committee.

For more information about Elliott, visit janeelliott.com.

For information about her lecture and other upcoming events, visit the Student Activities website.

C O N T A C T :

Holly Gary (865-974-2225, hgary@utk.edu)

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