A Class Divided – A Lesson on Discrimination

photo 4I wanted to share, with you, my boys first introduction to Prejudice and Discrimination. These are the basic rules we’ve been teaching them since they learned to play with each other and on the playground.

Rules of Friendship

1. The Golden Rule Treat Others as You would like to be Treated.

2. The Platinum Rule: Treat Others as They would like to be Treated.

3. The No Bully Rule: Be kind to everyone. If someone is not kind to you, you are allowed to kindly tell them how you want to be treated and give them a chance to change. If they don’t, walk away.

As I was researching and building a Prejudice and Discrimination Lesson Plan for my two boys, 4 and 7 years old, I found a series of videos, I consider them little GEMS. The series,  “A Class Divided” was featured on PBS Frontline. Have you heard of it? Jane Elliott, was a teacher in a small town Iowa. On April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King Jr was murdered, she felt it was necessary to teach her third-grade class about prejudice and discrimination.

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First, I watched the video without my children. In my opinion, she was brilliant!

My boys are not in third-grade, they are 4 and 7. So, before we watched the video, we got cozy on the couch and we talked about our love for each other, our family and our friends. Then, I asked them to compare our physical appearances. We have so many different races around us and because we live by example, the boys never even questioned WHY people look different.

We discussed how I have light brown hair, they have blonde. I have green eyes, while they have brown eyes like their Poppa, my Hunk. I asked them, “Do you think you are happier than me, because your hair is blonde? Do you love Poppa more because you all share the same eye color?”

The conversation quickly included our family and friends and naturally the boys got the hang of it. They realized, that no matter what, we all deserved to be loved the same and treated the same. They also said, “Momma, we always make friends with everyone.”

You should watch these videos in order. I have also listed three more follow up videos at the bottom of this post. 

A Class Divided: Day One The Daring Lesson – 

“Blue-eyed people are smarter than brown-eyed people.” Watch the video now(10:27)

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~ As we watched the video, the boys noticed something interesting. The teacher didn’t mention green eyed people. like me. Smiles asked me, “Momma, Where do you belong?” They were also able to point out, “The teacher is a bully.” ~

 

A Class Divided – Day Two – The Old Switcheroo! Watch the video now. (9:51)

Do you think Jane Elliott’s two day lesson was successful? Will you show this video to your children?

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Do you want to know more about these students and Jane Elliott?

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Well, 14 Years Later… these same kids went back to meet with their former teacher,  to discuss what they had learned. Watch the video now. (6:52)

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Then the film with the 3rd grade children was shown to the inmates in a New York Prison. Then, Jane Elliott was asked to Teaching It To Adults, the Prison Guards and Parole Officers at the same Prison. Watch that AMAZING and UNCOMFORTABLE video now. (13:22)

Finally, see How The Adults Reacted. How did the the “blue-eyed” employees feel when they were being discriminated against? I thought minute 7:15, where some of the discriminated adults were called out as “covering their own asses” is very important. Watch the video now. (14:45)

What is your reaction to the experiment in prejudice and discrimination? Comment below and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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