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Essay Response to Questions

Essay by   •  February 17, 2011  •  Essay  •  645 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,006 Views

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Kozol could not have chosen a more appropriate title for his book than the one he did. As he accounts his experiences teaching in the 1965 segregated schools of Boston, describing the dehumanizing physical and emotional abuse of little negro children, I shiver to think what life must have been like back then because of the color of ones skin. Despite the brown versus Board decision handed down by the courts in the early 1950's to desegregate segregated schools, nothing meaningful happened with these laws until the courts began monitoring and regulating their enforcement in later years.

As Kozol so vividly describes the harshness of abuse toward negro children in his book "Death at an Early Age", I can't seem to shake from my mind the images of Stephen, an eight years old negro boy, who is the subject of much abuse and mistreatment. "Stephen is tiny, desperate unwell. Sometimes he talks to himselfÐ'...He cannot do any of his school work very wellÐ'...Nobody has complained about the things that have happened to Stephen because he does not have any mother or father. Stephen is a ward of the State of Massachusetts and, as such, he has been placed in the home of some very poor people who do not want him now that he is not a baby any moreÐ'...The money that they are given for him to pay his expenses every week does not cover the other kind of expense-the more important kind which is the immense emotional burden that is continually at stake (Kozol 1)." This quote paints a very sad picture of Stephen. In addition to being poor and black,Stephen had an obvious need for love and attention, but nobody cared. No matter how hard he tried to elicit the attention of his teachers, the responses he received were always negative. For example, his art teacher very meanly referred to his work as "garbage and junk". Could you imagine how deeply her words must have pierced the heart of this little boy? At such an early age, a child needs approval, support, and encouragement, especially one as fragile as Stephen. I believe that these factors help to build confidence, self-esteem, and good character in children. Unfortunately, Stephen as well as others whom Kozol mentioned in his book were denied these things because of the color of their skin. Consequently, like an unwatered flower, they wither up and die at an early age, never realizing the full range of their god-given, human potentials. Hence, this is why I think Jonathon Kozol might have chosen the title he did



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