Medium challenge, documentary: “De verdeelde klas”, Friday jan 12th.
My third and final blog will be about a documentary on racism. In the nineteen sixties, the day after Martin Luther King died, an elementary school teacher named Jane Eliot started a social experiment in her class. The children were divided into 2 groups. One with dark couloured eyes (brown-eyed group) and one with lighter colours (blue-eyed group). On the first day the brown-eyed children got several privileges and the blue-eyed group got some of their privileges taken from them. The second day they switched roles. De verdeelde klas is about the same experiment, only in 2015 and this time in Antwerp.
Right off the bet I was interested in the subject because I think most people are somehow biased. I was curious about how the children would react and how they would feel about the subject at the end of the experiment. A few hours after the test had started the children already started showing different behaviour. Friends had suddenly become enemies and children that didn’t usually hang out came together because they now shared the same fate.
The children that were being discriminated felt really bad about the whole thing while the privileged kids enjoyed their freedom. On day two, when the roles got swapped, those same children showed almost the exact same behaviour they had so despised the day before.
At the end of day to the experiment was lifted and the teacher discussed the matter with the children. They said they had all learned a valuable lesson. Just like the kids back in the sixties.
During the documentary I felt sorry for the kids that got discriminated but in the end I think it was valuable to them. It gave me a glimpse of what life is like when you are being excluded for something you have no control over whatsoever. Food for thought, that’s for sure.