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JANE ELLIOTT


Jane Elliott

Jane Elliott is the adaptor of the controversial and startling 'blue eyed-brown eyed' exercise in discrimination, developed in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and immortalized in the 1970 documentary, ‘The Eye of the Storm’.

The ‘blue eyed-brown eyed' exercise, which labels participants as inferior or superior based on the colour of their eyes, is a powerful tool in exposing white people to the experience of being in the minority. It was prompted by Leon Uris’ Mila 18, as eye colour was one of the ways Hitler determined who went to the gas chamber.

As Cathleen Medwick wrote in her December, 2000 article for the Oprah Winfrey magazine "O":

"In April, 1968, Elliott was teaching her third graders about the culture of Native Americans. She was at home one evening making her usual preparations, constucting a teepee out of sheets for the children to decorate, when she heard that Martin Luther King, Jr. had been shot. Elliott was devastated. She realized that she had to do something to make her students understand what racism was. She remembered a Sioux prayer: O Great Spirit, keep me from judging a man until I have walked a mile in his moccasins."

The next day, one of her students asked, "Why did they shoot that King?" When she asked her class what they knew about black people, the children said things like "different" and "stupid". Then she introduced a radical exercise in which she got the children to discriminate against one another based on eye color. Those with brown eyes had superior intelligence, she said, and were no longer to play with the blues. Within minutes, the browns began to victimize their classmates. When Elliott reversed the rules, the blues immediately began tormenting the browns.

Jane Elliott firmly believes, and her exercise proved, that racism is a learned response, that even people who think they are not biased have internalized years of subtle - and not so subtle - messages so that it's surprisingly easy to bring racist tendencies to the surface. More than 30 years later, Elliott insists that education and awareness are the solutions to racism."

Jane lectures and works with organisations throughout the world as she continues to challenge racism and all oppression. During her three hour ‘Anatomy of Prejudice’ Seminar she explores with the audience the problems of racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia and ethnocentrism and the responsibility shared by all of us for illuminating them in and eliminating them from ourselves and our environment. In addition, she facilitates with Gillian Neish a five day development course for Trainers to broaden their understanding of these complex issues and to share the most effective ways to use her videos ‘The Eye of the Storm’ and the award winning ‘Eye Opener’ filmed in the U.K. and released in 2005. To order these videos and other titles see Details of Training Courses, DVD's and Other Training Resources.

AWARDS

She is the recipient of the National Mental Health Association Award for Excellence in Education, and of The Christine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice.

Her very first film - Eye of the Storm - won an Emmy,
A Peabody and the Sidney Hillman Award.

Angry Eye has won the following awards:
CINE Golden Eagle
New York Festivals Gold WorldMedal
Chris Award, Columbus Film Festival
Audience Favorite, Palm Springs International Film Festival

‘Eye Opener’ won the Premier Award at the Learning on Screen Awards 2004. To order see Details of Training Courses, DVD's and Other Training Resources

DOCUMENTARIES

Eye Opener (2004 United Kingdon) Shortened version 33 minutes Video or DVD.
Premier Award Winner - Learning on Screen awards 2004.

Eye Opener (2004 United Kingdom) Extended version 50 minutes Video or DVD.

Perception is Everything (2004 United Kingdom) 28 minutes Video or DVD.

Eye of the Storm (1970 USA) 25 minutes Video or DVD.

Angry Eye (2001 USA) Shortened version 35 minutes DVD or Video.

Angry Eye (2001 USA) Extended version 52 minutes Video.

Stolen Eye (2002 Australia) 52 minutes Video.

For detailed information on all these titles and to order see Details of Training Courses, DVDs and Other Training Resources


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