Amazing Grace1




"Amazing Grace"
The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation
Jonathan Kozol

Currently there are about 600,000 people who live in the South Bronx and about 434,000 who live in Washington Heights and Harlem. This area makes up one of the most racially segregated areas of poor people in the United States. In this book we focus on racially segregated areas of poor people in the United States. In this book we focus on Mott Haven, a place where 48,0000 of the poorest people in the South Bronx live. Two thirds of the people are Hispanic, one-third is black and thirty-five percent are children. There are nearly four thousand heroin users, and one-fourth of the women who are tested are positive for HIV. All of this, and much more in one little area of the South Bronx. In the middle of all this chaos and confusion are children. Children who have daily drills on what to do if gunshots are heard, children who know someone who has died of AIDS, children who have seen someone been shot right in front of their face wondering if its their father, children who long to be sanitation workers, and children who die everyday. The lives of these children almost seem lost with depression, drugs, and death all around them.
Mott Haven seems like a place that no one could even imagine existing. A place so distant from most peoples reality that it could only exist in a Spike Lee film. A government owned ghetto that people are just thrown into when the don\'t fit into normal

society. A place that can be shunned and feared and easy to get away from simply by

shutting a newspaper. One would think that the resources necessary to get these people

back on their feet would be available but we see that they aren\'t. Children still die from

falling into faulty elevators, people die from having to wait 4 days in a hospital corridor

just to receive treatment, fires occur on a daily basis, rats are like a family pet when not

gnawing on a defenseless baby for the third time, soup kitchens are filled to capacity

and many are denied services that are long overdue such as food stamps. Discrimination

and prejudice are so prevalent, you would think that the state of New York would want to

do something. Why do these people get overlooked?

One form of prejudice that I couldn\'t help but noticing was the medical waste

incinerator built on Locust Avenue. Originally it was going to built in another part of

New York, but when parents complained of cancer worries they decided to build in Mott

Haven, despite the protest of the parents there. It seems as if they didn\'t even care about

the welfare of these people, these people can get cancer because they\'re already

"unclean". The people of Mott Haven, as seen in Jean Kilbourne\'s discussion "Deadly

Persuasions", seem to portrayed as not human. If the people of NY see them as less of a

person, then its easier to overlook them.

Cultural bias is another form of prejudice. Cultural bias can be in the form of

standardized test to get into a better school or even to get a better job. Access to

resources makes it harder for minorities to get ahead. If a child can\'t even get proper

schooling due to teachers not wanting to pass 96th street to teach, what are they suppose

to do? Some wait hours for care in a hospital because they\'re too afraid to hop on the

train to go into Manhattan and go to a nicer hospital where care would be available

sooner. Why are they scared, because they fear they won\'t be accepted there. They feel

they would probably get less respect there than if they stayed where they felt they belong.

The discrimination that is present in Mott Haven is in the form of racial

segregation. Discrimination is an attitude put into action. The action here is that these

people are being ignored. It truly is amazing how the South Bronx and Harlem make up

the most racially segregated area in the United States. While this is true, the issue is never

discussed politically. Its like segregation isn\'t even present