Discrimination is an ongoing issue that has been causing problems to millions of people for centuries. With time, discrimination and prejudice behavior does not vanish; thus, changes its forms and manifestations. The video “A Class Divided” is a prominent example of how easy it is to impose discriminative behavior inside the group in just a few days.
A 1968 experiment initiated by Jane Elliot originated a resonant all over the country and is widely discussed to this day. A teacher urged to help children better understand the concept of discrimination towards the minorities, therefore, creating an interactive lesson that would exceed all expectations (Blue or Brown, 2015). The exercise has shown such a powerful effect that the woman began practicing it on adults.
Personally, I expected children to react in a certain way and give into the manipulation of the teacher; however, not to such an extent where 10-year olds would become cruel and dominant towards their friends. Elliot, herself, was astonished by the experiment’s results: “I watched wonderful, thoughtful children turn into nasty, vicious, discriminating little third-graders in a space of fifteen minutes” (FRONTLINE PBS, 2019). I experienced an even stronger reaction while watching some adults react flagrantly and rigorous to the same practice as if they perceived it like third-graders.
While children’s perception of prejudice can be altered, adults face more challenges overcoming prejudice developed by society. Even though the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination, it is still a morbid issue that is not managed enough (Discrimination, 2019). The second part of the video reflects the points discussed in the presentation concerning adult discrimination. Moreover, the media can also impose certain stereotypes relating to the minorities, which are then expressed at the workplace (Sharples & Page-Gould, 2016). Elliot’s seminar is a part of a diversity program that helps reduce prejudicial behavior in the workplace. Such trainings alter the mindset of discriminators and put them in a position of being harassed, which consequently reduces prejudicial behavior.
“A class Divided” is a historical experiment that displayed the nation of how easy prejudice can be created. The clip has left a lasting impression on me and created a new perception of prejudice development that will affect me for a long time. It is essential to teach both children and adults on how to avoid discriminatory behavior in every sphere, making our society more accepting and amicable.
Blue or brown; A classroom divided | Applied social psychology (ASP). (2015). Psu.Edu. Web.
Discrimination and harassment in the workplace. (2019). Ncsl. Web.
FRONTLINE PBS. (2019). A class divided (full film) [Video]. YouTube. Web.
Sharples, A., & Page-Gould, E. (2016). How to avoid picking up prejudice from the media. Greater Good. Web.