Jane Elliot's "A Class Divided"

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 589 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 589|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Jane Elliott’s A Class Divided is a groundbreaking documentary that explores the impact of discrimination, prejudice, and racism in society. The film follows a third-grade teacher, Jane Elliott, as she conducts an experiment on her students to teach them about the effects of discrimination based on physical traits such as eye color. This essay aims to critically analyze the documentary, discussing its significance, implications, and relevance in today’s society.

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Elliott’s experiment began the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, in an effort to help her students understand the concept of racism and the impact it has on individuals and communities. She divided her class into two groups based on their eye color, with the blue-eyed children being treated as superior and the brown-eyed children being treated as inferior. Throughout the day, Elliott observed the changes in the behavior and performance of the students, noting how the blue-eyed children became more confident and dominant, while the brown-eyed children became submissive and less capable.

One of the most powerful aspects of the documentary is the emotional and psychological impact it had on the students. The blue-eyed children quickly embraced their elevated status and began to exhibit discriminatory behavior towards their peers, while the brown-eyed children internalized their inferiority and struggled to perform well academically. This experiment effectively demonstrated how discrimination and prejudice can have a profound effect on an individual’s self-esteem, behavior, and overall well-being.

Moreover, A Class Divided sheds light on the perpetuation of discrimination and prejudice through socialization and institutionalized systems. The students’ behavior mirrored the patterns seen in society, where individuals are socialized to believe in the superiority or inferiority of certain groups based on physical traits. This socialization is reinforced by institutionalized systems such as education, employment, and the justice system, perpetuating inequality and marginalization.

The documentary also highlights the role of power dynamics in perpetuating discrimination and prejudice. The blue-eyed children, who were given power and privilege in the experiment, readily embraced their elevated status and exhibited discriminatory behavior towards their peers. This reflects the broader societal dynamics where those in positions of power perpetuate and uphold systems of inequality to maintain their privilege and status.

Furthermore, A Class Divided prompts viewers to reflect on their own biases and prejudices. The documentary challenges the audience to confront their own internalized prejudices and consider how they contribute to perpetuating discrimination and inequality. This introspective approach encourages individuals to critically evaluate their beliefs and behaviors, paving the way for personal growth and social change.

In today’s society, A Class Divided remains as relevant and impactful as ever. The film serves as a powerful tool for educating individuals about the insidious nature of discrimination and prejudice, prompting critical conversations about the impact of these issues in our daily lives and communities. Additionally, the documentary underscores the importance of empathy, understanding, and solidarity in combating discrimination and working towards a more equitable and inclusive society.

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In conclusion, Jane Elliott’s A Class Divided is a thought-provoking and impactful documentary that continues to resonate with audiences today. The film effectively demonstrates the psychological and emotional impact of discrimination, the perpetuation of prejudice through socialization and institutionalized systems, and the role of power dynamics in upholding inequality. Moreover, A Class Divided challenges viewers to confront their own biases and prejudices, prompting critical self-reflection and fostering empathy and understanding. This documentary stands as a timeless and essential tool for educating individuals and communities about the impact of discrimination and prejudice, and the importance of working towards a more equitable and inclusive society.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Jane Elliot’s “A Class Divided”. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“Jane Elliot’s “A Class Divided”.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024,
Jane Elliot’s “A Class Divided”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2024].
Jane Elliot’s “A Class Divided” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from:
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