I think more people on tumblr have seen the video of Jane Elliott’s blue eye v brown eye workshops with older people than have seen this one with 3rd graders. The other one makes me angry, but this one just hurts. It also reminds me of how I was treated as a black child in an almost all white area in Utah:
My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Allen(who was teaching in Layton, UT in 1990-91 in case anyone has a chance to tell her to go fuck herself) was amazing at motivating her white students. She created a tree house in our classroom that I’m sure is much higher and amazing in the memory of a 5 year old than it was in reality, and at the beginning of the year the tree branches painted on the wall above the treehouse platform were bare. Every time a kid spelled a word right, she’d give them a leaf with the word written on it to stick on the wall. I loved climbing trees and reading and I had never wanted anything as much as I wanted to climb that treehouse, but you weren’t allowed to unless you spelled a word correctly.
I was an excellent speller, and I raised my hand every time she called out a word. They were all under 4 letters, and always very simple. One day, after a full day of raising my hand and being ignored as usual, she asked the class to spell the word “elephant.” I raised my hand, along with two or three other children. She called on each of them, but none were able to spell the word. Seeing that my hand was the only one still up, she called on me with a smirk on her face. I was so excited, but I said each letter slowly, purposely, to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. When I finished the word I noticed how unhappy she was. She put the leaf back in her folder and said, “that was a trick question. Kindergarteners can’t spell that word. I’m not giving leaves out for that one.”
Bullying by teachers happens. The kind of bullying she’s using in these videos, the kind that everyone is considering hyperbole, happens. The pressure that the white people in her videos can’t take for a day or two is every fucking day for some children of color.
Warning: she refers to people as “yellow” and “red” at least once in the video.
Being on 3 different medicines does obnoxious things to your body, no matter how much you try to ignore them