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December 2, 2011
Understanding Human Diversity
The purpose of this paper is to reflect upon and react to the exercise "Blue-eyed/Brown-eyed" conducted by Jane Elliot in relation to the ideas of diversity, race, and privilege. The objective of this exercise was to give white people an idea of what life is like to be something other than white. Elliot's exercise pointed out both blatant and indirect ways that prejudice demoralizes people of color. Elliot facilitates everyone involved aiding their recognition of the cost that prejudice and racial behavior has on an individual. This exercise employed an open dialogue approach on topics that may be looked at as most people as off limits. The dialogue encouraged through the "Blue-eyed/Brown-eyed" experiment allows people to understand what it's like to feel dispirited and the role they can play through daily interactions with people of the opposite race that promote the aspects of being supportive and understanding.
While watching this video and seeing the relentless way that Jane Elliot demoralized the participants of this study, I was reminded of my past relationship with my son's father. Watching the shift of confidence in these individuals was startling. The relentless ridicule and humiliation bestowed upon these individuals was sad to watch. As the exercise went on you could see the way these individuals obtained a sense of powerlessness and shame. I was shocked to see such a frail, older white woman create a situation in which participants experience discrimination first hand. Consequently, this experience enabled the participants to actually feel the emotional distresses correlated with this form of abuse. One of Elliot's statements that really stuck with me was something along the context; these individuals participating only have to live through this reality temporarily but people of color deal...