Monday, May 28, 2007

Challenging Prejudice - Blue Eyes Brown Eyes Exercise

I have not had much chance to blog over the past month and there was a very good reason - I have been very actively involved in a life changing training programme for two weeks and in putting together business plans to deliver diversity training based on that training.

The training in question is based on the Blue Eyes Brown Eyes exercise conducted by Jane Elliott who has been in Hull for the past two weeks to deliver seminars and support Gillian Neish who organises the trainer training here in the UK. The programme was brought to Hull by the City Council as part of the 2007 Wilberforce Commemoration - William Wilberforce, a Hull MP, was responsible for the abolition of Slave Trade act in 1807 so we have a huge citywide campaign on this year.

Jane Elliott started her exercise as a class project in 1968 after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. as a way to help her 3rd grade students understand what it feels like to be discriminated against. Despite that long history of this training, I had never come into contact with it and was stunned by the impact of going though the exercise even though I have now had six years experiencing discrimination as a trans woman - I shall now be using this material to help other people to challenge prejudice and create a fairer society.

I will be blogging more about this training and the work I will be doing with it in the future, but in case you have never come across the exercise, in 1970 a documentary was produced of Jane doing the exercise with her 3rd Grade students - 14 years later a class reunion was filmed which included highlights from the original documentary and showing that this exercise had had a permanent impact on the students which was also the subject of a book called A Class Divided UK - A Class Divided US

A Class Divided - Part 1

A Class Divided - Part 2

A Class Divided - Part 3

A Class Divided - Part 4

A Class Divided - Part 5

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