In the video, Jane Elliot uses explicit forms of racism to make her point. She tells the blue-eyed people to avert and lower their eyes to avoid offending her. This is the exactly the concept of The Essential Blue Eyed film clip, i.e. how brown-eyed people have been treated like slaves, someone lower than the whites. It also revealed how even casual bias can have a devastating effect on performance, morale and productivity of a person.
The Essential Blue-Eyed is a clip where white skinned people are asked to get in to the shoes of the coloured skin to show them how blacks must feel to be discriminated against, to be distinguished as unintelligent, slow and smelly. The video shows a group of 40 adults (teachers, police, school administrators and social workers) from Kansas City, Missouri, who’ve been invited to take part in a workshop about appreciating diversity. The group was a mixture of men, women, blacks, Hispanics and whites. It was divided in to two groups based on eye-colour; blue-eyed and brown-eyed. The blue-eyed people were gathered in a small, hot room with not enough chairs for everyone to sit and were kept under strict security. They were left in that room without any further instructions or information. The brown-eyed people on the other hand were prepared to act like the white people. They were given answers to the test questions and are taught to humiliate the blue-eyed people.
When blue-eyed are brought back in to room, some of them are asked to sit on the floor at the feet of the brown-eyed people. When someone mentions that it was hot in there, Jane Elliot in an unrelenting and humiliating tone says “It was hot in there. Was it hot in there? Well, then it was probably smelly wasn’t it, because blue-eyed people sweat a lot and you know they don’t smell good, so I wouldn’t want to be in that room after they have been in there”. This is stereotyping the blue-eyed based on a set of inaccurate generalizations while allowing others to categorize and treat them accordingly.
Within a few hours in the video, due to blatant discrimination against the blue-eyed, open ridicule and humiliation by the brown-eyed and Elliot Jane, the grown professionals turned in to unsure, distracted, despondent, lacking confidence dependents. They started stumbling upon simple commands and scored low on the test designed by a black male because they knew nothing about the questions they were being asked. Later, when the blue-eyed expressed sadness, guilt and anger for being treated the way they were, they had realized how it must feel to be treated like this for a lifetime. They had taken part in this workshop voluntarily but the humiliation and powerlessness they experienced was painful nonetheless, of not being able to express opinions, being cut in mid-sentence and not even given chairs to sit. At the end, the people of colour talked about the stress of being denied so many opportunities like housing, job and basic health facilities.