Watch the documentary “A Class Divided”, the classic study of the third grade class experiment of the "blue eyes" and "brown eyes" located in the lecture section this week (or at the link below). Then respond to the following questions: Is this ethical? Does the end justify the means? Is this still needed today?
The act of discriminating others because of their eye color is not ethical. It humiliates those who are considered as inferiors and give privileges to the superiors. What was happening in this documentary can be considered ethical because all the children were subjected to same treatment. The blue eyed and the brown eyed were both considered as superior at one time and inferior at another. Therefore this was a fair trial and justifiable and can be considered ethical with all means. In this documentary we can say the end justify the means. This is so because at first the children who were involved in this experiment could not tell whether it was morally correct or not. After fourteen years, we see the same students explaining how they benefited from this experiment and the way they disliked discrimination of any kind. This is also supported by how organizations are applying this experiment to discourage discrimination. In fact, they are calling teacher Jane Elliott to train their staff on the discrimination issue (Peters, 1987).
Although people are seems to be understanding that we are all equal there are those who still holds their beliefs that some people are more equal than others. This documentary is still needed today so that it can help those who are thinking they are superior to others. It will also assist those who are considered as minorities or inferiors to be valued and be given equal opportunities like others. It was also noted that when the students viewed this documentary after fourteen years they recommended that everyone should have such kind of an experience so that they can kick discrimination away from their nation.
One of the goals of the civil rights movement was to ensure equal opportunity for every U.S. citizen, irrespective of race. When the civil rights movement began, the legal system did not grant the same rights to blacks and other minorities as it did to whites. Today, those laws have been changed, leading some to argue that the U.S. has achieved a level playing field for all. Consider what Koppelman has to say about the idea of a level playing field. Do you think the playing field has been leveled? Is success based exclusively on merit and luck, or is race-based "privilege" still a factor? How was affirmative action policy crafted to address issues of privilege? Has it been successful?
In my opinion I do not think the level playing field has been achieved. There is a clear indication that the level playing field has not been achieved as you can still hear people talking of reverse discrimination. Reverse discrimination is where by the groups which are considered to minority are given special consideration in terms of employment opportunities and other areas like public university admissions. Success of each and every one of us is supposed to be based on merit and luck, although this is not the case where discrimination is practiced. Discrimination can hinder people with better qualifications from excelling in life and instead favor those who have god fathers despite them be not qualified. Racism can also hinder a qualified professional from excelling and favor the unqualified.
In a world where discrimination is practiced there is no way we can say success is exclusively based on merit and luck, race-based privilege is still a factor. Affirmative action in the United States is used to refer to equal opportunity employment measures that federal contractors and subcontractors are legally required to adapt (Fischer, 2010). It was intended to prevent discrimination against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of religion, color, sex or national origin. Affirmative action cannot be considered successive as some of its policies adopted have been criticized as a form of reverse discrimination. Examples of these policies include racial quotas or gender quotas for collegiate admission. Some states such as California and Washington have prohibited affirmative action thus there is no way it can be considered as successful.
Some people argue that racism is primarily a belief or attitude and that anyone who unfairly judges another based on race is racist. Others argue that racism is about action and institutional discrimination, therefore only those with the power to act, and not those who are the targets of discrimination, can be racist. Using the “racism” concepts discussed in Chp. 8 of Koppelman and the article “Race: Too Hot to Touch” linked below, which argument do you find convincing and why? Is institutional racism more offensive than individual racism? Is there a difference between racism and prejudice? If so, what is the difference?
Racism being a belief or attitude and that anyone who unfairly judges another based on race is racist can be considered convincing than racism being an action and institution discrimination. This is so because even in those institutions it is individuals who are discriminating their companions but not the institution itself. Although the institution can give power to certain groups to discriminate their companions, I do believe that discrimination will mostly depend on your attitude towards the other group. If you have a positive attitude towards them you will try to support them and may be try to urge the management to treat them fairly as they are still human beings. Individual racism is more offensive than institutional racism because you can always change from the institution which is discriminating you but it is difficult to stay away from someone who is discriminating.
In one or the other you will have to collide with these individuals who are discriminating you and you always feel humiliated in their presence. There is a big difference between racism and prejudice. Racism is the practice whereby there is different treatment to some groups of people both socially and legally and is then justified by recourse to racial stereotyping. On the other hand prejudice can be considered as a prejudgment made about someone or something before having adequate knowledge to determine the accuracy of your judgment (Brown, 2010).