On April 5, 1968 an 8 year old asked his teacher, Jane Elliot, why "That King" died the day prior. He was referring to the death of Martin Luther King. Jane Elliot decided to change her class that day and asked her students if they would like to try an exercise of what it felt like to be treated as a person of colour in America. The children were enthusiastic about participating in the excercise.
The video footage is now renowned as "Blue eyes - Brown eyes". Where Jane Elliot separates the class based on the colour of their eyes. On the first day, the children with Blue Eyes were given privileges and made the superior group, whilst the brown eyed children were made the minority group.
Watch the clip below to find out what happens. The insights and results from this experiment will astound you.
This exercise occurred forty odd years ago now. Long before I was born. It exposes the nature of discrimination, bigotry, prejudices purely based on the colour of eyes. The children who were made inferior, became subservient in such a small amount of time. Whilst the children who were made superior became arrogant towards their class mates.
This isn't just about a class divided. It's a reflection of how a society is divided.
I wonder how far we have progressed? Have we really progressed at all? Or has discrimination, bigotry or prejudices manifested beyond the colour of someones skin?
I can read the news at any given time and see these behaviours occur on a daily basis.
Today alone I read an article on Katie Hopkins descriminating on working mothers calling them #slackmums. In the past week I've read on assylum seekers, people experiencing racial slurs on local buses, a young teenager committing suicide due to bullying and the list goes on. And more frustratingly, this photo which has been has been circulating the internet.
We consider ourselves a tolerant and accepting society yet all I see is a society built on an irrational class system based upon arbitary factors.
A friend of mine shared his experience today whilst volunteering for a shelter home and told me he would bring his children to visit homeless shelters to stay grounded and develop a sense of gratitude for what they have.
But here's the thing.
Children aren't born with prejudices or bigotry, they don't know the language of racism. Those are taught. And as parents it's our responsibility to nurture them. To teach them to be unaffected by the colour of someone's skin, beliefs, disabilities or any sort of financial background that is available to anyone.
And if we as parents use our knowledge, life experience and common sense into practice, then perhaps we can prevent a woman arriving to foreign shores without her child, whilst seeking assylum.
Perhaps with humility we can erase irrational class systems, or save our children from witnessing racial slurs.
I know I can. Will you?