Jane Elliot is a teacher and diversity trainer who developed the "Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes" exercise to teach students what it feels like to be a person of color. This video begins pretty abruptly, where one of the students who's been singled out based on eye color is extremely frustrated.
At 2:46, Elliot explains why she keeps going even after she's made the point. At 3:35, she delivers an important message. And at 10:05, you may laugh a little, but I think you'll really get it.
Many years ago, I could have been the girl who walked out, not understanding how this feels to the people it affects. I'm glad that's no longer the case.
A partial transcript from a very powerful portion of the video, beginning at 3:19:
Elliot: “No. You don’t come back in here until you’ve apologized to every person in this room because you just exercised a freedom that none of these people of color have. When these people of color get tired of racism, they can’t just walk out because there’s no place in this country where they aren’t going to be exposed to racism. They can’t even stay in their own homes and not be exposed to racism if they turn on their television. But you, as a white female, when you get tired of being judged and treated unfairly on the basis of your eye color, you can walk out that door, and you know it won’t happen out there. You exercised a freedom they don’t have. If you’re going to be in here, you’re going to apologize to every black person in this room. And do it now ... and every person of color.”
Student: “I’m sorry there’s racism in this country..."
Elliot: “Bullshit! No, you’re not going to say ‘I’m sorry there’s racism.’ You’re going to apologize for what you just did.”
Student: “I will not apologize because it’s not a matter of race always...”