Did We Fail the Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes Experiment—Or Did It Fail Us?

A Half-Century Old Classroom Exercise Shows Americans’ Hunger for a Silver Bullet to ‘Cure Racism’

Today’s heated arguments about critical race theory shouldn’t surprise us because they aren’t new. Indeed, one of the best-known classroom experiments to combat racism remains a divisive subject more than a half-century after it was tried out in a rural Iowa elementary school.

You may not know Jane Elliott by name, but you likely have heard of the blue eyes/brown eyes experiment, which has been performed on hundreds of thousands of children and adults across the United States and around the world. Elliott was a schoolteacher in Riceville, Iowa, a small …