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A Class Divided

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A Class Divided

I believe Jane Elliot effectively created two unequal groups in the three times we watched her run her experiment. Each time one group was given considerable special treatment. The “majority” group was giving things like being allowed into the conference room early, given seats and a more comfortable environment, and treated with respect. The advantages were even more distinguishable for the “minority” group who was subjected to sub par conditions, forced to wear bands of shame, and faced even harsher criticism. I think you can see from the immediate reactions, hostility, and frustration of the “minority” group that two very unequal groups are created. But the criticism is so over the top that it really makes you feel for those that are being yelled and verbally abused for their slightest mistakes. It really make you hate and despise Jane Elliot but that doesn’t mean the point is lost.

I think it’s pretty obvious that the group being abused and forced to deal with an unequal situation takes a way a whole lot more from the experiment. The woman from East Germany assumed that the best way to get through to everyone was through talking and open discussion. But I think that most people have been told in their lives that racism and discrimination are wrong, our experiences shape our opinion more than someone else’s words. There is no other way to show white people what it feels like to be discriminated against. That is why it is such a good idea to put the blue eyed people in the “minority.” Most of those who probably experience discrimination on a daily basis get to see it from the other side of the fence as well. There are very few situations in the real world where they may feel like the minority and experience discrimination. This discrimination is also only temporary and not as powerful as the kind some people have been experiencing their entire lifetimes. Appealing to their emotions is a much stronger way of getting the message through and you can see the effectiveness through the testimonials of the college kids after words and at the class reunion.

The reason I keep referring to the groups as “majority” and “minority” in parenthesis is because one of the main problems I have with the experiment is that it seems that the groups are actually equal in number. Thus the “minorities” don’t get the full experience of being different from everyone else. They can fall back and hide

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