The Eye of the Storm (1970 film)

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The Eye of the Storm
Directed byWilliam Peters
StarringJane Elliott
Narrated byBill Beutel
Distributed byAmerican Broadcasting Company (ABC)
Release date
  • 1970 (1970)
Running time
25 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Eye of the Storm is a 1970 American television documentary[1] featuring schoolteacher Jane Elliott conducting her "Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes" exercise in discrimination, in her third-grade classroom at Riceville Elementary School in Riceville, Iowa. Riceville, a small town near the Minnesota border, is almost entirely white; in that context, young children had little understanding of the concept of discrimination. The documentary is narrated by Bill Beutel and directed by William Peters, who developed the idea with his spouse and associate producer, Muriel Peters.[2]


William Peters follows Jane Elliott's schoolroom exercise, conducted over two consecutive days, during which an otherwise homogenous group of elementary school kids was divided by their eye color. On the first day, members of one group were favored and thus received deferential, even preferential, treatment all day. Meanwhile, the members of the other group were disfavored; their treatment was a reflection of that. On the second day, the roles were reversed.


This documentary was followed up with "A Class Divided",[3] a 1985 Frontline episode in which The Eye of the Storm is shown to the original participating students—now adults 15 years later—and Elliott is given a chance to find out how much of the lesson her students retained.[4]


  1. ^ Anthony, Andrew (October 17, 2009). "Jane Elliott, the American schoolmarm who would rid us of our racism". The Guardian. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  2. ^ "NYWIFT Interview with Muriel Peters". New_York_Women_in_Film_&_Television. June 2, 2007. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  3. ^ "William Peters, 'Class Divided' Director, Has Died". NPR. June 2, 2007. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  4. ^ Mio, Jeffery Scott; Awakuni, Gene I. (2000). Resistance to Multiculturalism: Issues and Interventions. Routledge. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-0876309544.

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