This is on the long-ish side, but I promise that there's a really valuable message here that makes it worth watching all the way through.

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..."

Elliot: "Out."

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

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