Savage Inequalities Book Review

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In Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools, Jonathan Kozol exploits extreme inequalities between the schools in East St. Louis and Morris High in Rye, New York in the 1990s. The living conditions in East St. Louis were deplorable. There was no trash collection service, the sewage system was dysfunctional, and crime, illness, poverty, and pollution ran rampant. The schools in East St. Louis had a predominately black student population, and the buildings were extremely obsolete, with lab equipment that was outdated by thirty to fifty years, a football field without goalposts, sports uniforms held together by patches, and a plumbing system that repeatedly spewed sewage. In addition, there was a substantial lack of funds that prevented…show more content…
The majority of students at Morris High were white or Asian, and the school had the latest computer technology, glorious landscaping, high teacher salaries, and offered students with a variety of foreign languages to study. The interactions that Kozol had with the students from East St. Louis were drastically different from those with the students of Morris High. The students from East St. Louis were poorly educated, as they had faulty grammar and vocabulary, struggled with the concept of time, and had inadequate social skills. These deficiencies are be observed through Kozol’s discussion with the children about the rape and murder of a young girl, who happened to be the sister of one of the children. The discussion Kozol had with the students from Morris High, on the other hand, was completely different. The children displayed their polished vocabularies as they shared their insights on the issues of racial inequality in schools. While the children at Morris high discussed these issues cunningly, Kozol noted that they did not acknowledge the issues as reality, but rather as a theoretical…show more content…
Louis alone are certainly alarming, I am most dismayed by the responses of the children from Morris High. It is evident that the children at Morris High do not fully understand the implications of racial inequality, nor do they regard the immense suffering of children in schools like those in East St. Louis. However, if I were a young white girl from a high class family attending Morris high, I too might have the same outlook. I likely would have been taught to acknowledge the inequalities faced by the minority, but would not have been taught the privileges I have experience for being white. If I were suddenly to start attending East St. Louis schools, however, the inequalities faced by my new peers would become much more apparent. Although race appears to be the source of these inequalities, it should be noted that other factors contribute as well. For instance, if a black child came from a high class family, he could afford to attend Morris High. Likewise, a white child from a low class family might only have the option of attending a school in East St. Louis. Through Kozol’s Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools, it can be observed that children like those at Morris High are taught about racial inequalities, but are not taught to recognize white privilege. In addition, they seem to only be passionate about issues that have potential to benefit them personally. Helping children like those in East
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