By Gary A. Johnson, Publisher – Black Men In America.com
I’ve been a student of Jane Elliott’s for over 25 years. In 1995, when I launched my training and consulting company I specialized in Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Harassment prevention training. One of my flagship teaching tools was the landmark ABC documentary “Blue Eyes Brown Eyes,” featuring then Riceville, Iowa 3rd grade school teacher Jane Elliott. Recorded in 1968 in an all-white, all Christian town, this documentary has changed untold lives and made Jane Elliott and international educator, anti-racism activist and feminist. When I branched out and started training in Fortune 500 companies and on Wall St., I consulted Ms. Elliott. She was always kind and very generous with her time. I felt honored to be a Jane Elliott disciple. Jane is on my short list of people who transform and improve lives. My dear friend Mildred Muhammad, (the ex-wife of the D.C. sniper) is on that short list. Jane and Mildred are examples of people with courage. For the record, I define courage as “the willingness to act on what you believe to be true.” (I got that definition from my mentors, Floyd and Jacqueline Dickens).
In response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, the day after it occurred the then 3rd grade teacher Jane Elliott created the “Blue Eyes Brown Eyes” exercise that has brought her international acclaim and notoriety for her courageous stand in 1968 to created an eye-color based exercise that for the duration of the exercise made white children the victims of the racism that is so pervasive in American society. A stand at the time that also brought with it family shame and death threats. Learn about this courageous educator in her own words on this episode of The Rock Newman Show.