By Cindy Huggett
The Angry Eye was selected a Best2Buy winner for 2003 by Training Media Review and T+D magazine in the video category. Here is Cindy Huggett’s explanation of her choice.
“Provocative, real, full of emotion” – those words describe The Angry Eye, a documentary of Jane Elliott’s famous diversity exercise. This powerful activity has participants experience discrimination firsthand and causes viewers to feel as if they’re in the middle of the action.
The diversity lesson begins as a group of participants approach a registration table. Elliott is rude to the blue-eyed participants and puts collars on them. Then the participants are separated into two rooms based on their eye color. The blue-eyed room has only three chairs for 12 participants, while the brown-eyed room has plenty of chairs for all.
Before the groups are joined together, Elliott instructs the brown-eyes to treat the blue-eyes as inferior. When the blue-eyes enter the main room, they’re forced to sit in the middle, as if they’re on display for all to see. Posters on the walls belittle the blue-eyes with such phrases as “If I have but one life, let me live it as a brown.”
As the blue-eyes read the posters aloud, Elliott talks about racism and the inexcusable treatment of people who are different. Even though some of the blue-eyes break down in tears – one leaves the room – the uncomfortable experience continues. Elliott is unapologetic, explaining her reasons for conducting the program in this manner.
Viewers can’t watch this video without having some kind of emotional reaction. Its powerful message sinks deep. Because of that, only experienced facilitators should run this program and sponsoring organizations should be aware of the risk involved.
Such an unsettling, emotional video requires strong supporting materials. In this case, they’re excellent. The Angry Eye is a fantastic diversity training program, and it deserves recognition as this year’s best.
Cindy Huggett has over 10 years experience in the training and development field. She’s currently the Learning and Development Manager for Kinetic Systems, Inc., with expertise in both technical and soft skills training programs.
tmr (training media review – www.tmreview.com) Copyright 2004 TM