Jane Elliott and Diversity Training

Irmin Vinson

Commissar Elliott's Experiment

On the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in April 1968, Jane Elliott's third graders from the small, all-white town of Riceville, Iowa, came to class confused and upset. They recently had made King their "Hero of the Month," and they couldn't understand why someone would kill him. So Elliott decided to teach her class a daring lesson in the meaning of discrimination. She wanted to show her pupils what discrimination feels like, and what it can do to people.

Elliott divided her class by eye color -- those with blue eyes and those with brown. On the first day, the brown-eyed children were told they were smarter, nicer, neater, and better than those with blue eyes. Throughout the day, Elliot praised them and allowed them privileges such as a taking a longer recess and being first in the lunch line. In contrast, the blue-eyed children had to wear collars around their necks and their behavior and performance were criticized and ridiculed by Elliott. On the second day, the roles were reversed and the brown-eyed children were made to feel inferior while the blue eyes were designated the dominant group.

Excerpted from http://www.pbs.org/

Jane Elliott's influential training exercise was essentially a form of child abuse put into practice for well over a decade in a small school in rural Iowa. It presupposed that the racial differences that distinguish Blacks from Whites are entirely inconsequential, simply a matter of superficial differences in appearance. She selected eye color as an inconsequential physical feature that illustrated the supposed errors of White "racism" and the suffering of its victims. Just as Whites had historically inflicted terrible suffering on Blacks based merely on the color of their skin, Elliott's White students would experience analogous suffering based merely on the color of their eyes.

Elliott initially stigmatized the blue-eyed White children in her third-grade class as criminally inferior and subjected them to abuse by the brown-eyed White children. Then, in the second stage of her exercise, she reversed the hierarchy, with blue-eyed Whites becoming the preferred group, encouraged to abuse brown-eyed Whites just as they had been abused in the first stage. In other words, both groups of Euro-American children were compelled to become the victims of Elliott's manufactured "racism."

Jane Elliott, a multiracialist O'BrienWe should emphasize that this dose of educational sadism was administered to young kids in the third grade. Jane Elliott's grand idea was that the White children in her class should be forced to become both racial tormentors and racial victims, and that they should learn how the suffering they experienced as victims had been based on an insignificant physical feature, eye color, over which they had no control. They would experience a small, concentrated sample of what Elliott believed was the near-genocidal oppression that Euro-Americans had imposed on Blacks. The White children were, as far as Elliott was concerned, getting off lightly: They deserved far more punishment for their inherited racial sins than she could possibly inflict. [Image: Jane Elliott.]

For this bizarre educational exercise, tormenting powerless children to combat their racial prejudices, Elliott became famous, and in the years that followed she expanded her anti-racialist career, becoming a leading diversity trainer and the subject of a fawning PBS documentary honoring her accomplishments in the holy war against White "racism." Her more recent diversity-education seminars, also celebrated in a television documentary, are just as racially demeaning as the cruel exploit that first won her fame in the 1960s.

Elliott's experiment, like most exercises in diversity training, was nothing less than pedagogical Maoism. Diversity education begins with the belief that Whites as a group are disfigured by a severe racial pathology, which has caused untold suffering to countless numbers of innocent persons of color. Whites acquire this pathology from their parents and from the surrounding Eurocentric society, but by strenuous efforts in reeducation they can be at least partially liberated from it. The psychological and physical welfare of racial minorities demands that this therapeutic liberation occur.

If you're White, there is something profoundly and dangerously wrong with you, even if (like a third-grade kid in an all-White community) you've never been in any position to mistreat minorities. You can hurt Blacks even if you've never met a Black, which was the case for all of Elliott's initial child subjects. That's because the racial assumptions that you have learned from your parents and from the cultural environment that your White forefathers created themselves constitute an insidious assault on racial minorities, spawning a pervasive and destructive "racism" that must be ameliorated, though it can never be entirely eradicated, by repeated immersion in programs of racial reeducation. Diversity trainers are not, by the way, afraid of this word "reeducation," despite its blood-stained history in the reeducational campaigns of Marxist killers from Stalin to Pol Pot.

Most National Vanguard readers will, of course, have detected the massive fallacy inherent in Elliott's experiment. It is clearly untrue that the racial differences between Blacks and Whites are as inconsequential as the difference between blue and brown eyes. Blacks are, for example, statistically more violent than Whites and score lower in measured intelligence, and those non-debatable facts would remain true even if, as Elliott and her ilk wrongly believe, race is an artificial social construction rather than a hard genetic reality.

There is, however, a small but significant truth in the common leftist claim that race is a social construction, a truth from which any non-racialist Whites who have dropped by this site can learn an important lesson.

Elliott, to her credit, is principled in her evil. In her current diversity seminars no White -- man or woman, liberal or conservative, fire fighter or bank president, recent European immigrant or old-stock Anglo-Saxon -- escapes racial vilification. Elliott attacks Whites as Whites. All of us have been infected with what she calls the "live virus of racism." Even if you are a naively raceless White, for the growing diversity industry you remain a mentally diseased enemy whose thoughts and unconscious attitudes must be unlearned or restructured. In that respect your racial identity as a Euro-American is indeed a construction produced by the political and quasi-therapeutic forces arrayed against you, forces that will undoubtedly gain greater strength as non-White demographics expand. You may be an inveterate celebrator of diversity and a supporter of open-borders immigration and compensatory discrimination, but you are still criminally White in the eyes of diversity trainers. Like affirmative action, diversity training objectively defines you as White regardless of your own subjective self-identification. You become, to borrow a term from multiculturalism's academic jargon, a member of a "racialized population," assigned to a fixed racial category whether you like it or not.

The lesson: White nationalism is rational self-defense. If you are attacked as a member of a group, then you must defend your group in order to defend yourself.

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Originally published (2003-10-18) on National Vanguard. NA member Mike Monteros recounts his confrontation with Elliott here; another NV article, describing Elliott's contemptible antics on the Oprah Winfrey show, is here. For a timid conservative response to Commissar Elliott, see James Fulford's Abolishing America and Jane Elliott: 35 Years of Rage.


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