Elliott had gone from being a midwestern schoolteacher to the pioneer of a global industry of diversity awareness and training. But most of these 'racist incidents' are just kids falling out. She and Darald split their time between a converted schoolhouse in Osage, Iowa, a town 18 miles from Riceville, and a home near Riverside, California.
The blue-eyed children sat in the front of the classroom, and the brown-eyed children were sent to sit in the back rows. She has gone on to repeat the blue eye-brown eye experiment on countless occasions, first at her school and then in workshops for adults, businesses and government offices throughout America and the world. To reflect on the experience, she asked the children to write down what they had learned. The blue-eyed girl apologized. Elliott tells me it's "really difficult to get people of colour to play the role of the oppressor during the exercise. She chatted about the experiment, and before she knew it was whisked off the stage. In the event, two of the brown-eyed group decide they are not prepared to take part in the humiliation of the blue-eyed group and are therefore told to leave. How Racist Are You? White people are finally beginning to realise that. Elliott's friends and family say she's tenacious, and has always had a reformer's zeal. That got the other teachers angry. And so people of colour are going to be the people in positions in power in the future. That's what it feels like when you're discriminated against. And the result, in Elliott's own words, "wasn't as successful as I am accustomed to being". On 5 April of that year, the day after Martin Luther King was assassinated, Elliott organised an exercise to show her class how racial discrimination worked. It's cruel to white children and will cause them great psychological damage. Everyone's tired of her. That might have been the end of it, but a month later, Elliott says, Johnny Carson called her. The tallest structure in Riceville is the water tower. Some of them are scared to death. After she spoke about her exercise in a short interview segment, the audience reaction was instant as hundreds of calls came into the show's telephone switchboard, much of it negative. ABC broadcast a documentary about her work. The Seven Essential Virtues That Teach Kids to Do the Right Things, educational psychologist Michele Borda says it "teaches our children to counter stereotypes before they become full-fledged, lasting prejudices and to recognize that every human being has the right to be treated with respect. A televised edition of the exercise was shown in the United Kingdom on October 29, , on Channel 4 entitled The Event: In , she began her teaching career in a one-room school in Randall. The corn grows so fast in northern Iowa—from seedling to seven-foot-high stalk in 12 weeks—that it crackles.
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