Life in the South Bronx
What is social sin? Gregory Baum describes it as the following, “social sin is committed out of blindness and people are involved in the destructive action without being aware of it,” (Baum, 1987). Jonathan Kozol’s book Amazing Grace chronicles the conditions that the poorest people have to endure in the South Bronx. Children are placed in horrendous conditions by society; they live in the ghetto and because of this they are surrounded by the worst hospitals, public schools and garbage dumps. They are pushed away by our society and left to rot in their misery and helplessness. The city of New York turns a blind eye to the poorest children every day and there are many reasons for this, including neo-liberalism and racism.
To begin, Kozol goes onto illustrate the blindness and disregard that these people, especially children, face every day. A disturbing fact that was relayed in the book was that all of the dirty sites, such as garbage dumps and waste incinerators were placed in the South Bronx because wealthier people did not want to have these facilities around their property,
“This waste incinerator burns red-bag products, such as amputated limbs and fetal tissue, bedding, bandages and syringes that are transported here from 14 New York City hospitals. The waste products of these hospitals were initially going to be burned at an incinerator scheduled to be built along the East Side of Manhattan, but the siting of a burner there had been successfully resisted by the parents of the area because of the fear of cancer risks to children,” (Kozol, 1997, 7).
This is just another example of how these children are seen as insignificant. The wealthier people were able to stop this incinerator from being built around their homes to protect their children. The people of Mott Haven do not have the same resources and it also seems that their children’s lives are not as important. Another example of this indifference to these children’s well being...