Derrick Swaby 7/12/11
Equality finally in America…Or is it?
America has come a long way in its development. We are revered by some countries for our rapid advancements in technology, medical science, and astronomy. Unfortunately this is not true for our educational system especially for the African American race. Today there are specific laws that prevent schools from legally segregating schools In America. Contrary to this fact schools still remain segregated, because the key word in this statement is legally in short segregation has somehow managed to defy the law and therefore become an everyday occurrence in this country. In short segregation never ceased to exist, in fact not only did it never cease and desist but neither has anyone tried to do anything about it except a journalist named Jonathan Kozol who wrote the article “Still Separate still unequal” and the subject is more delicately and in some ways incoherently touched upon by Susan Cain who wrote the article “Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic?”.The fact that the African-American community had to go through such hardships for us to be equal only to have the very same people they were fighting for (our generation and the future generation as well) to have to attend schools that are not even fit for sitting in much less learning in. It can be and has been argued that this is something that the black community has brought upon itself and therefore has nothing to do with the government and its morality. I can inform you that this argument is very wrong.
The state of our country like the recession, and the occasional budget cut has had crippling effects on the American economy which in turn has affected every aspect of life in this country. However, many people will be dismayed to understand that out of all the changes this country has gone through, whether they are good or bad the educational system of this democratic country has never gone through any major modifications. What about Brown vs. Board of Education you ask? What about the historical abolishment of segregation in the entire school system? And most of all what about the 14th amendment which states that all Americans are created equal? Well they are all insignificant events in history because of the fact that schools are still segregated today. The article “Still Separate, Still Unequal: America’s Educational Apartheid” written by Jonathan Kozol illustrates the segregation taking place in our school system by putting together a collection of statistics, history, interviews, and letters from children that have taken a stronger hit from segregation than most other kids have had to withstand in this day and age. His arguments are extremely compelling and his leveled tone never falters. In the article one of the main points that Kozol makes is when he expounds on a quote from Marina Warner who according to the text is an essayist and novelist who has written many books for children. In the quote she says “There are expensive children and there are cheap children” He expands on the fact that the moment a child is born in a poor family they are cut off from many of the opportunities that people in wealthy families are often offered and in many situations never take advantage of. Although, a situation such as this one is not illegal it is undoubtedly a form of segregation which is a large contradiction seeing as segregation, in any form is considered illegal according to the constitutional laws of the United States of America. (Keep in mind that the same thing is said about slavery and yet there are still hundreds of pimps (slave masters) and prostitutes (slaves) running around all over the US.) This would count as segregation because if you were to count the amount of wealthy White families in America and the amount of Black wealthy families in America you would see undisputedly that the wealthy White families well out way those of the Black…minus the people who play professional sports. Therefore this financial separation can produce not only educational segregation but occupational segregation as well. According to http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O88-occupationalsegregation.html occupational segregation is: “The division of labor, in the context of paid employment, as a result of which men and women (or members of different ethnic or religious groupings) is channeled into different types of occupational roles and tasks, such that there are two (or more) separate labor forces.”
In the article “Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic?” by Susan Cain the subject of segregation comes up very subtlety but not in the form of suffering school children. However, it does come up in the form of shy people. This notion is just as ridiculous as it sounds but non-the-less it is true and it happens quite frequently in our society. “As a society, we prefer action to contemplation, risk-taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. Studies show that we rank fast and frequent talkers as more competent, likable and even smarter than slow ones. As the psychologists William Hart and Dolores Albarracin point out, phrases like “get active,” “get moving,” “do something” and similar calls to action surface repeatedly in recent books.” This quote illustrates how keen our society is to separate those who are “different” It can also be a strong indicator to people who are not too bright that the problem, which is segregation has never went away, instead it has just become less transparent. Although there are plenty of people who would like to think that things like segregation and racism are completely nonexistent in the United States Susan Cain and Jonathan Kozol knows otherwise. Susan demonstrates her keen sense of equality by stating in her article that while “sitters” would think things through and “rovers” would jump into action “Each strategy reaps different rewards”. Jonathan Kozol however, did not show his displeasure with his own words but with the words of children suffering in broken down public schools. This sends a far more serious message than the one Susan sends. I think that what makes this situation so serious is the fact that thousands of African-American men, women, and children were stoned, beat, spat on, bit by dogs, hosed, and worst of all killed just so our generation did not have to withstand such treatment. They made sacrifices that were put in history books and because of them laws were made to insure that the African-American community was given the same rights as the white community and above all the same opportunities to become successful in life as those of the white community.
In my opinion if the president of the United States of America or Donald Trump would not send their children to one of our public schools then something needs to change in the way public schools (especially in the inner city environments) are managed. As bad as things are plenty of actions can be taken to fix our educational system and inform some wealthy individuals of the problem at large but the question is who will be the one to do it. And what’s more is that there are people who are capable of helping to but they are not being heard…the problem is that if people are speaking all at the same time then nobody gets heard and in extension nothing gets fixed.