Seeing Through The Eyes Of A Child

1867 words - 8 pages

To see the world through the eyes of a child would be a chance to regain the innocence one loses as they age. No one has ever been born hating other humans for the color of their skin. When a child is born they have a purity that adults cannot hold. The idea that one race is superior to another is a belief learned with time, through personal experiences, parental influences as well as community effects. The author’s technique of distorting the stereotypical attributes of the races keeps the reader in a constant muddle as to which character was salt and which was pepper. This leaves the reader to realize it did not matter the color of the girls skin. Mutual circumstances brought Twyla and Roberta together in “Recitatif,” written by Toni Morrison, and as they aged it was race that tore them in different directions. The two of them never viewed each other in a prejudice way until they were older, and were presented with other peoples values and opinions.
It did not matter who was white and who was black. Both girls were dropped at the shelter. Twyla was dropped off because her mother “danced all night” and Roberta’s because she was “sick” (Morrison 199). Regardless of what was really wrong with their mothers, they were both now in the same situation in the same room without parents to influence their opinions.
In the spring of 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. “His assassination led to an outpouring of anger among black Americans” (History.com). His death also rallied up one white women enough that she decided she needed to do something about it.
In Iowa, Jane Elliott, a white, 3rd grade teacher, felt the need to try a new approach to teaching her young students about discrimination and its effects after watching days of news commentary in the aftermath of MLK’s assassination where white men sat around discussing ‘those people’ and ‘those communities,’ as if black Americans were somehow not a part of America. The patronizing and condescending talk was too much and Elliott responded with her experiment (PBS Film).
The experiment consisted of Elliot dividing her class by those with blue eyes and those with brown. On the first day, the blue-eyed children were told they were “smarter, nicer, neater, and better than those with brown eyes” (Elliot). Throughout the day, Elliott commended them and allowed them privileges such as a taking a longer recess and being first in the lunch line. In contrast, the brown-eyed children had to wear collars around their necks that made them stand out. “Their behavior and performance was then criticized and ridiculed by Elliott” (PBS). On the second day of the experiment the roles were reversed. This time the blue-eyed children were made to feel inferior while the brown eyes were designated the “dominant group”. This experiment has gone worldwide, but the video shows one of her first third grade classes right around the time of King’s death. Not only were the reactions of the children as Elliot...

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