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Flashback Class Divided

November 7, 2008

“Brown-eyed people are better than blue-eyed people. They are smarter than blue-eyed people and if you don't believe it, look at Brian.”
Teacher Jane Elliott, to her third grade class, 1970

The day after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, in April 1968, a young Iowa schoolteacher devised an ingenious way for her all-white third-grade class to understand how a person could be murdered for the color of his skin. A Class Divided is the story of that experiment, and the deep and enduring impact it had on all who participated.

First shown in 1985, the film was re-broadcast and made available online in 2003; since then, it has become the most requested FRONTLINE ever.

This brief excerpt picks up the experiment on the second day, and affords a sobering look at how easily intolerance can be taught.

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