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Jonathan Kozol's Essay Still Separate, Still Unequal

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Throughout Jonathan Kozol’s essay “Still Separate, Still Unequal: America’s Educational Apartheid” (347) and “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” (374) by Beverly Tatum, both Kozol and Tatum discuss racial issues in the educational system. Kozol and Tatum explain racial issues by presenting two different instances that racial issues have played a roles. These two instances being visiting different public schools by Kozol and noticing the cafeteria segregation by Tatum. Using their own personal experiences, their arguments essentially come to similar conclusions, so by comparing their essays, the most significant problems are brought to the table. Kozol begins by introducing the idea that Americans who live farther…show more content…
She points out that around the time the separations start, puberty and the questions of identifying themselves start to arise, making the black kids feel like outcasts to the white kids. While kids start to segregate themselves, the issues at hand being to strengthen, making them harder to fix as the kids age.
With segregation rates as high as they still were, Kozol then goes on to argue that schools reflect lives of the students attending the schools, which corresponds to the dominant races of the school. I agree with what Kozol argues that white schools are normally better built and nicer, reflecting the higher income families. Dominantly black and Hispanic schools reflect much lower income families and are typically broken down, such as one elementary school he described. He states:
In another elementary school, which had been built to hold 1,000 children but was packed to bursting with some 1,500, the principal poured out his feelings to me in a room in which a plastic garbage bag had been attached somehow to cover part of the collapsing ceiling. ‘This,’ he told me, pointing to the garbage bag, then gesturing around him at the other indications of decay and disrepair one sees in ghetto schools much like it elsewhere, ‘would not happen to white children.’(Kozol
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One of Tatum’s points in her essay “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria” is understanding racial identity development. As black children are growing up, they start to experience things other white kids do not. As little girls start to grow up, they start to compare themselves to other girls, particularly white girls. Tatum states that, “When their White friends start to date, they do not. The issues of emerging sexuality and societal messages about who is sexually desirable leave young black women in a very devalued position” (378). Tatum also explains how little boys face a devalued status when growing up. Black boys receive this image due to the medias, profiling them as violent criminals, filling peoples’ mind with fear of these Black boys. If not profiled as violent criminals, it’s athletically talented. She used The Autobiography of Malcolm X as an example of a young Black boy being shut down of his dreams by his teacher because he was black. “The message was clear: You are a Black male, your racial group membership matters, plan accordingly… and eventually left his predominantly white Michigan home to live with his sister in Roxbury, a Black community in Boston” (379). Boys and girls of racial differences are receiving messages like this on a normal basis now, adding to the racial issues that are already to come in educational
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