On April 27 Jane Elliot is coming to the Eastern Washingtoncampus to present her lecture entitled “The Anatomy of Hate.” The presentation will take place at the Showalter auditorium at 7p.m.
Elliot is mostly known for her eye-opening documentary entitled”Eye of the Storm” which consists of third grade students, who wereeager to understand the reasons for Dr. Martin Luther King’sassassination.
Consider this; It is April 4, 1968 in Montgomery, Alabama. If you were anywhere near the Laramie Hotel on that day, it islikely that you would have witnessed the assassination of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.
A man with a voice capable of influencing the minds of an entirenation was slain at the hands of injustice. He dedicated hislife to fighting against prejudice in America.
That was the day that someone put action behind the belief thathis death would end that fight.
However, his assassination sparked the minds of many greatleaders to come.
It is two days later in the all white, all Christian town ofRiceville, Iowa. Imagine trying to explain the assassinationof Martin Luther King Jr. to a class of third graders. Theybelieved Dr. King to be a great man in history, so they did notunderstand why someone would try to kill him.
The dilemma of third grade teacher Jane Elliot was how toexplain it to that class. The only way she knew of explainingthis was to allow them to experience the life of a minority for aday.
Her first step in carrying out this experiment was to divide theclass on the basis of a physical characteristic in which they hadno control over. Elliot later decided that eye color would bethat characteristic, being that the biological chemical thatdecided skin color was the same chemical that decided eyecolor.
The class was divided into two groups, one in which wereblue-eyed kids, and the other which had brown eyes. She thentold the class that blue-eyed kids were superior to brown-eyedkids.
There will be no spoilers of how this turned out, but a copy ofthis experiment (“Eye of the Storm”), and other videos of JaneElliot can be checked out at JFK library. There will also be apublic showing of one of her workshops on Eaglevision from April 18- 27.
Since Martin Luther King’s assassination, Elliot has beenconducting this workshop all across the country. You can seeher lecturing at Universities or performing workshops at majorcorporations.
“Every time I do it I end up with a migraine headache. Iabsolutely hate this exercise. But more than I hate the exercise, Ihate the necessity for something like this in the year 2002. Andthe worst of it is that the exercise is as necessary today as itwas in 1968,” Elliot said, “The only thing necessary for theperpetuation of evil is for good people to do nothing. I believethat, and I believe that bowing to racist intimidation iscowardice.”
Jane Elliot is a legend in her own right.
Elliot’s latest book will be available for purchase at thisevent, and there will also be a book signing session. Therewill also be a chance for debriefing on April 28 at 12 p.m. in theWomen’s Studies lounge.