Prejudice & Discrimination

For this discussion you will need to make sure that you watch the film “A Class Divided.” It is about 55 minutes long, so please plan accordingly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mcCLm_LwpE

This PBS Documentary film focuses on a lesson Iowa teacher, Jane Elliot, used to teach her 3rd grade students about discrimination in the 1960’s. Though it is an older film, it remains relevant today as variations of this lesson have been and continue to be used in diversity trainings across the country, and students continue to enjoy it. The video you are to watch shows pieces of the original lesson with the third graders, as well as a reunion where the same students come together as adults to reflect on their experience. Towards the end of the video you will also get to see a diversity training seminar with adults.

In your discussion posts, please respond to the following prompts:

What was your general reaction to this film? The children portion? The adult portion?

How can childhood socialization or enculturation increase or decrease negative attitudes toward racial, ethnic and religious groups?

Reflect on your own childhood and what you learned about groups different from the ones to which you belonged. What were the sources of this information?

What did the children’s body language indicate about the impact of discrimination? Did you notice any of the same or similiar with the adults?

In the adult part of the film, why doesn’t anyone in the blue eyed group stand up for their fellow group members?

At recess, two of the boys from different groups get in a fight. Elliot asks the one who was teased if responding with violence made him feel better or made the teasing stop. What does the answer suggest about the use of violence as a political strategy?
At the time who was using violence for political purposes and why?

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