I did an experiment back when I was in high school. Especially since I was part of the “in” or popular crowd. I lived in a small town, and community that was comprised of mostly whites, only one black family, and Hispanic families.
I being Russian, Hungarian, and Turkish and religious-wise, I was christened as a Russian Orthodox Christian, I was very curious how my peers, friends and all of the teachers would react if I came to school dressed in the traditional Russian dress from the Old traditional Russian Orthodox churches. We had some students, who were my friends dress like that and they were accepted to a degree, but were also mocked. So I personally wanted to see if my own friends, and the “in” crowd would treat me differently if I changed what they were accustomed to and not used to.
I had a few custom made dresses from my cousins, as I usually received some for the Easter holiday, which is almost always a different day, usually a week later, but sometimes longer in the Russian Orthodox faith as it goes by Passover and old calendar.
I didn’t tell anyone, and wore a dress one day. None of my friends seen me like that except for those who were also Russian. My friends knew, but have never seen me in the traditional dress. The looks and body language told me a lot. Now, some of my good friends were cool with it, even though they thought it was brave of me to do that knowing that there were plenty who would not receive me the same.
Some of my teachers were different in there actions. I decided to do this for an entire week. That is when I really saw the changes in how I was treated and viewed. I even sat at the table where the few who dressed in that traditional dress sat at.
It really surprised me at how many were different in there reactions, facial, body language, how they acted, even my teachers. More experiments should be done in classrooms to show how easy it is to sway how one views a person, or a thing, and not knowingly become prejudice or begin discriminating against a person for something different or surprising or unknown to them.
With the technologies today, more of these types of interventions can be implemented and then discussed like that experiment of Mrs. Elliott and her 3rd grade classroom on the Blue and Brown eyes. (Frontline) For my experiment, this was eye-opening to me and the people were cool people I never thought would waiver and they did.
You would be surprised that any of us may have prejudices that can change on circumstance that is presented just as in “A Class Divided” has shown. (Frontline), and with my own experiment I shared here. If we try to do more interventions by implementing similar types of experiments, then more people would really FEEL what transpires and become more mindful of actions and reactions and thinking in the future and better implement fair practices.
Frontline. (1985). A Class Divided. Retrieved online at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/divided/