By Saeed Villanueva |Staff Writer|
Hundreds were in attendance May 2 to watch Jane Elliot, creator of the famous blue eyes/brown eyes experiment, speak about the current state of racism in our country.
The event took place inside the SMSU Event Center and was the third annual event at CSUSB featuring Elliot.
The event was a huge success with approximately 700 people attending, of which an estimated 500 being students and faculty, and 200 were community members.
The event was headed by the Institute for Child Development and Family Relations (ICDFR) by professors Mark D. Agars and Kelly Campbell, director and associate director of ICDFR.
The ICDFR tries to have Elliot come to the college and speak at least once a school year.
“It raises awareness about how we think and treat each other. It challenges our assumptions we have about race,” said Agars.
Elliot first conducted her blue eyes/brown eyes experiment the day after Martin Luther King Jr. died in 1968.
Since then, she has become a prominent anti-racism activist, speaking to people all over the country.
Elliot first opened her speech with her thoughts on our recently elected President Donald Trump.
She expressed her unapologetic feelings about Trump and her concerns about the direction of the country with him in office.
“Do not allow him to ruin our future,” she said.
She understood that what she was saying was going to rub some people the wrong way, but she did not care about what people think of her.
“It used to bother me, but now I don’t care what people think of me. I’ve been called bitch so many times, but you know what I say bitch stands for now? Being in total control, honey,” exclaimed Elliot.
Elliot entertained the crowd throughout the entire event.
She conducted a survey with the crowd, asking participants to stand up when she mentioned a certain race in which they identify themselves with.
After everyone was stood, she told the crowd to sit down if they associate themselves with the human race and everybody in the room took a seat.
“We are all part of the human race, we’re all cousins,” said Elliot.
She then spoke about her thoughts on abortion, stating that she herself would never get one, but she believes everyone should be free to make decisions about their body.
Elliot conducted an experiment onstage in which she compared a young, tall Caucasian male to an average height African-American, middle-aged woman and asked each of them a series of questions.
She asked them if they feel like their skin color, height, gender, and age gives them power.
The answers from both individuals were very different. The young Caucasian male said that he believes all these things give him power. On the other hand, the African-American woman said she felt like none of these factors do.
Elliot then explained how those factors are out of their control, yet society treats these people very different from one another.
We cannot choose the height, gender and skin color of ourselves. Yet in society, people treat each other very differently based on these things.
“If you believe the more or less melanin you have makes you more valuable, then you have a problem with ignorance,” Elliot said.
Elliot suggested several books the audience should read that discuss the history of race.
She shared with the crowd how the history books in school hide significant facts from us.
Elliot explained to the crowd that the real first African-American President was not Barack Obama, it was Abraham Lincoln; and how Jesus Christ was not the blonde hair blue eyed depiction people often see him as because there were no light-skinned people during that time.
At the conclusion of the speech, Elliot complimented the crowd by saying she never had a group as patient and polite as CSUSB.