The blue-eyed people were pulled out of line, told to put on green collars and were treated poorly by The Oprah Show staff. The brown-eyed people were asked to step to the front of the line, were given coffee and donuts and were treated respectfully by the staff. Diversity expert Jane Elliot helped set up the experiment, and she played along by telling the segregated audience that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.
Watch the experiment unfold.
The blue-eyed audience members grew visibly upset at being discriminated against, and it wasn’t long before the brown-eyed people bought into the idea that they were superior. Eventually, the audience figured out that the show was not about the color of their eyes, but about race.
“I believe the lessons from that show are still so valuable today because it really illustrates how susceptible we all are to prejudice and how quickly people can be poisoned by misinformation and ignorance,” Oprah says.