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School in Hot Water For Separating Kids by Eye Color

blue-eyesSeparating kids based on the color of their skin wouldn’t fly in any American school, so it’s no surprise parents were angry when a Texas middle school split up kids based on their eye color.

Then came the explanation: this was a lesson in racial equality – and differences – for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Makes a difference, doesn’t it? The Dallas Morning News reports parents are still angry, but the school superintendent has explained his teachers were encouraged to do the exercise on Tuesday to drive home a positive message to kids. So students in a gym class were separated with the brown-eyed kids doing a warm up and blue- and green-eyed kids forced to sit on the sidelines.

The gym teacher spoke with the kids about Dr. King’s important role in the civil rights movement and discussed separation based on differences of any sort. Sounds like a much more substantive tribute than some ill-conceived menu, doesn’t it?

It’s a well-known exercise developed by Jane Elliott after King’s assassination. Called the “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes” exercise, it labels one group as inferior based solely on eye color to give them the chance to experience what it’s like to be a minority. Considering it was developed specifically to educate kids about racism, I’d say the school is in the clear.

What about you?

Image: Made Underground, via flickr

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