Anti-racism activist speaks to students about equality

Jane Elliot speaks on diversity Feb. 28 in the GUC Performance Center. Elliott is best known for her “Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes” activity that began in 1968, when she separated her third-grade class into brown and blue-eyed people. 

by Associate Life Editor Tyler Hargett

Anti-racism activist Jane Elliott spoke to about 100 students at the Guillot University Center Performance Center on the perception of racism.

UNA’s Programming Council’s Culture and Education committee hosted the event Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.

The evening marked the second time Elliott has held a speaking engagement in the state of Alabama.

Elliott is best known for her “Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes” activity that began in 1968, when she separated her third-grade class into brown and blue-eyed people. On the first day, blue-eyes were superior to brown-eyes, and the next day it was the opposite.

Elliott focused on human equality during the event. Elliott said while people are different in some ways, they are “all members of the family of man.”

“(Since MLK was assassinated in 1968) how many of you think we could have dealt positively with racism and gotten rid of it?” Elliot said. “JFK said ‘we were going to be on the moon in three years,’ and in three years, we were. If we could do that, don’t you think we could start treating one another like human beings in 50 years?”

Elliot said she believes the cure for racism is educating people to the fact everyone is a part of the human race.

“We will never have a loving society until we have a just one,” said Elliott, drawing from the words of author Gloria Watkins.

Sophomore Brett Garner said Elliott made sure to keep jokes rolling to lessen the tension.

“(Elliott) is hilarious, knows what she’s talking about and goes straight to the details,” Garner said.

At the end of the program, Elliott showed the 1970 ABC documentary “The Eye of the Storm,” which showed how Elliott performed the “Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes” activity.

Sophomore Keaira Willis said it was important to hear Elliott’s words.

“I feel like it should’ve been mandatory for every student on campus,” Willis said. “It was very informative.”

To learn more about Elliott, visit her website at www.janeelliott.com.