A class divided essay

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A class divided is an epic film depicting escalated levels of racism, discrimination and prejudice. These prominent themes are constructed in through Jane Elliot’s experiment where she segregated her third grade students on the basis of eye color. The pupils were divided, those with brown eyes separate from those with blue eyes. The blue-eyes pupils were considered superior and enjoyed privileges that were limited to the brown-eyed pupils. The brown eyed pupils were discriminated because of a superficial factor, similar to racism in actuality (Boatright-Horowitz, 2005).

Mrs. Elliot intentionally declared the brown eyed pupils lesser intelligent, slower and dumber than the blue eyed pupils. Therefore, the blue eyed pupils would perform better academically as compared to their counterparts. This classification is generally similar to the stereotyping of whites and black. Black people, represented by brown eyed pupils are mistaken to be dumb while white people are assumed to be very intelligent. For this reason, where whites and blacks co-exist, more privileges are accorded to white people while blacks are maltreated (Benshoff & Griffin, 2011).

Eliot’s discrimination truly created a no-win situation for the inferior group. On each day, the superior group (blue-eyed pupils) was accrued long recession time and priority during meal time and showered with praises making them more motivated than those in the inferior group. She selectively interpreted the outcomes relating to the kind of enforcement offered to the pupils. On the first day when the blue-eyed pupils were treated lavishly, the performed better and treated the brown eyed pupils harshly. When the conditions were reversed on the second day, the outcome was also translated because of the reversed conditions (Boatright-Horowitz, 2005).

The negative and positive labels placed on the two groups of children became self-fulfilling prophecies right on the day they were made. Mrs. Jane Elliot herself claimed that the children had spontaneously changed from being the wonderful, marvelous, thoughtful and cooperative children that they were to nasty, vicious and discriminating beings in a span of fifteen minutes. The blue eyed children performed poorly on the day they were meant to be the inferior group while the brown eyed pupils also shone on their second day. To an extent, the labels extracted the kind of behavior that was witnessed from both the inferior and the superior groups. At the end of the exercise, the children had actually felt the impact of hurting others, being hurt and why that discrimination was really inhuman. They looked at each other as a family after learning how hurtful it was to be discriminated (Benshoff & Griffin, 2011).

My number one takeaway from the film centered on racism and discrimination is about the different levels of discrimination. On this film, explicit discrimination is perpetrated through the hostility of superior group over the inferior group. The other form that is neglected in real life is the subtle and unconscious form that impacts on the respect and rights of every individual. I learnt that bot forms are severe and emotionally harmful from the children’s expression at the end of the experiment. In addition to this, the role that institutional frameworks play in breeding racism and discrimination is the point on which the classroom set up was chosen. The contribution from this constitutes a majority of the platforms where discrimination is rampant. One thing I learnt about myself is that my very own mindset may be the tool encouraging racism and discrimination. Bearing in mind that discriminatory behavior is fostered in the mind and the perspective people have on other, I realize that I can either perpetrate or avert inequality.

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  1. Benshoff, H. M., & Griffin, S. (2011). America on film: Representing race, class, gender, and sexuality at the movies. John Wiley & Sons.
  2. Boatright-Horowitz, S. L. (2005). Teaching antiracism in a large introductory psychology class: A course module and its evaluation. Journal of Black Studies, 36(1), 34-51.
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