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A Class Divided

On Friday, 16th of November, the whole world celebrates the International Day of Tolerance. UNESCO announced this significant date in the "Declaration of Principles on Tolerance" in 1995. Meanwhile, psychological studies show that people still judge people around according to color of the skin, religion, culture, and other characteristics.

Back in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States was an experiment, which proved that in the age between 5 and7 years old the child learns stereotypical notions of their own race, which in one form or another, shoot through their entire life. Researchers showed the children pictures of white and black skinned people and asked which variant they like more. It turned out that the black skinned children had chosen pictures of white people. The reason was racial segregation. And children with a black skin in early childhood perceive white skin as a definite advantage.

After Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in April 1968, the inquisitive teacher Jane Elliot told her pupils that blue-eyed children are smarter, nicer, neater and better than those with brown eyes. Behavior of children had changed in the same day. Blue-eyed children were better in reading and got better grades in math and language. While the brown-eyed pupils became unintelligent, even those who used to be among the best, performance slipped noticeably. Blue-eyed classmates, enjoying superiority, began to humiliate "inferior" classmates. On the second day, the roles are turned and the blue-eyed children were encouraged to feel inferior, and brown eyes were identified dominant groups (“A Class Divided”).

The lesson of Jane Elliott was very important in that period. She taught her class of the third grades that each person is unique, with its joy and sorrow, hopes and disappointments. Everyone has individual vision and perception, because in many respects people are fundamentally different from the others. Blue eyes or brown, black skin or white it is not the sense of life. Everything is in our hands. When you want to be confident, do not be afraid of life. We should always remember that we can overcome any obstacles if only find desire and perseverance.

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