September 29th, 2008


A Lesson in Discrimination...

Well, I'll be damned.

When I was in sixth grade, my homeroom/religon teacher separated my class into blue-eyed people and everyone else. She then proceeded to treat my blue-eyed classmates better than the rest of us. This being a Lithuanian Catholic school, more than half-the class had blue eyes.

By the end of the class, us non-blue-eyeds were angry, resentful, and acting out, while the blue-eyed kids started...well...lording it over us because we couldn't breathe without getting nailed but they could get away with all kinds of shit short of violence.

Then, at the end of the class the purpose was made clear: it was to give every single one of us an object lesson about prejudice, which just so happened to be the subject we'd tackle in religion class the following day (remember: Catholic school). Us non-blue-eyed kids were relieved. The blue-eyed kids were ashamed.

And oh, yeah, blue-eyed kids that acted like dicks? They were punished like you wouldn't believe. When they protested, the teacher kindly pointed out that they knew what they did was wrong and against the rules, but they did it anyway once they thought they could get away with it.

Years later, that lesson stayed with me.

Here's what I didn't know: It was based on an exercise that a third-grade teacher in an all-white Iowa town did in 1968.

Much thanks to jennem for the link. For years I've always wondered where my diabolically genius religion teacher got the idea.

Remember kids: The big problem with Catholic schools is that they make you think, even when you don't particularly want to.
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