Many trainers told us that the original Blue Eyed was the most compelling film on race they'd ever seen but at 86 minutes was too long for many training contexts. So we prepared a special Trainer's Version condensing the original film to the most insightful 50 minutes. Then we packaged it on one cassette with an all new 36 minute Debriefing making what we call The Essential Blue-Eyed.
Many trainers first heard of Jane Elliott's path-breaking 'blue-eyed/brown-eyed' exercise from her two previous films, Eye of the Storm and A Class Divided, or from her appearances on the Today, Tonight, Donahue and Oprah shows. One of America's earliest and most celebrated diversity trainers, Jane Elliott describes The Essential Blue-Eyed as, "The most dramatic and complete summary of my 30 years experience helping organizations grapple with the difficulties and opportunities offered by a diverse workforce."
Jane Elliott's method is based on her belief that people can best be motivated to fight discrimination by experiencing it themselves - if only for a few hours in a controlled environment. In The Essential Blue-Eyed, Elliott divides a multiracial group of Midwesterners on the basis of eye color and then subjects the blue-eyed members to a withering regime of humiliation and contempt. In just a few hours, we watch grown professionals become distracted and despondent, stumbling over the simplest commands. People of color in the group express surprise that whites react so quickly to the kind of discrimination they face every day of their lives.
As an added bonus, we've appended a 36-minute Debriefing where Jane Elliott shows how to help participants apply the lessons of her exercise to their daily work lives. She encourages the mixed group to compare their personal experiences of discrimination to appreciate that white people and people of color inhabit two separate worlds. She asks why none of them came to the aid of the tyrannized group and points out that this makes them de facto accomplices to racism. The Essential Blue-Eyed can help trainers:
Demonstrate how people of color encounter subtle (and not so subtle) discrimination every day.
Reveal how even casual bias can have a devastating impact on personal performance, organizational productivity, teamwork and morale.
Illustrate that 'color blindness' can itself be a form of racism if it doesn't value the experiences of others.
Identify culturally biased codes of conduct within an organization which may be invisible to the majority.
Help all participants realize they have a responsibility for building an organizational culture welcoming diversity.
If you'd like to see the feature length version of this title, check out the original Blue Eyed
"This film is extraordinary in so many ways...Other videos may have an impact equal to Blue Eyed - maybe - but I can't imagine any having the potential for a greater one."
Bill Ellett, Training Media Review
"A terrific training tool to get dialogue started in your organization."
Barbara Stern, Vice President, Diversity, Harvard-Pilgrim Health Care
"Brava, Brava! Thanks to Jane Elliott we may just have 800 more students who are cognizant of the issue of racism on our campus."
Joseph A. Oravecz, Jr., Central Michigan University
"It is hard to find words to express the effect of her message. One student commented: 'I thought I had learned everything I needed to know about discrimination until I heard Ms. Elliott - she has turned my life around.'"
Col. Ronald Joe, Former Commander, Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute
"A powerful experience! I can safely speak for everyone here that we have all been challenged by Jane Elliott to open our eyes."
Karen J. Westryck, University of Findlay
"Perfect for our cultural diversity week. Firmly attacked all the isms (racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism) and forced those in our audience to realize how prevalent these things are in our society and campus."