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Jane Elliott to Present 'Eye-Opening Experience' About Prejudice

November 30, 2006
Jane Elliott

CONTACT: Lisa Lacher, 515-271-3119, lisa.lacher@drake.edu;
Meghan Harr, Student Activities Board, mmh016@drake.edu


Jane Elliott, an internationally renowned Iowa teacher and lecturer, will give an interactive speech about power, perception and prejudice at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at Drake University's Sheslow Auditorium in Old Main, 2507 University Ave. The event is free and open to the public. 


Elliott is best known for the "Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes" experiment in which she divided her third-grade class in Riceville, Iowa, into two groups based on eye color in 1970.


The children with blue eyes were told they were better than the children with brown eyes. While the blue-eyed children were encouraged in their studies and given special privileges, the brown-eyed children were told not to use the drinking fountain and not to play with the blue-eyed children. Elliott then altered the experiment so that the brown-eyed students received preferential treatment. The study was designed to give students a first-hand experience of what it felt like to be discriminated against.


“Jane Elliott is a highly respected expert who will help us understand the anatomy of prejudice and develop behavioral change strategies that address the concrete manifestations of prejudice,” says Drake University President David Maxwell.


In her lectures, Elliott reveals the absurd and irrational basis of the American class system and the prejudice that supports it.


“We feel that Jane Elliott will provide a quality educational program that students can walk away from with more knowledge and an understanding of what it's like to be a minority,” says Zachary Smith, co-chair of Student Activities Board Campus Programming.


Elliott’s appearance demonstrates Drake’s commitment to an environment that embraces diversity. This event has campus-wide support and sponsors include Drake Student Activities Campus Programming Committee, Coalition of Black Students, La Fuerza Latina, Office of the President, Office of the Dean of Student Life and Drake Weekend, Residence Hall Association, School of Education and Center for the Humanities.


Drake University's mission is to provide an exceptional learning environment that prepares students for meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments and responsible global citizenship.


For more information about Elliott's presentation at Drake, call 515-271-3711.