Children in Amazing Grace by Jonathon Kozol

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In the book Amazing Grace, the author Jonathan Kozol closely examines how religion, racism and neo-liberalism influence the daily lives of the children living in poverty-stricken neighborhoods of New York. In addition, the themes of social sin and dehumanization should also be investigated in order to gain a more complete perspective over the whole situation of the children in Kozol’s book. Kozol takes the reader into the heart of underprivileged New York communities like South Bronx, Mott Haven, St. Ann’s Avenue, Brook Avenue and etc. From this point of view, Kozol explores the sad realities of young life in detail through conversation. Brook Avenue is situated in the poorest part of the city where “the 600,000 people who lives here make up one of the largest racially segregated concentrations of poor people” (Kozol 1997, p.11) in the United States. The population of this area is “two-thirds Hispanic, one-third black. Thirty five percent are children.” (Kozol, 1997, p.11) These people are not integrated into society as a whole; they are trapped within the walls of poverty. On a popular talk-show, the host asserted the following: ‘They are something apart. They are distinct. There is nothing to do but segregate yourself from them.” They are a “different species…” (Kozol, 1997, p.49) This is clearly an act of social sin where the privileged community (the rich and white) dehumanize the poor and colored community. Society accepts this because “people raised in a racist environment have a false consciousness which influences decisions that deepen the dehumanizing trend” (Module 11, Section a). Ensuing, this social sin leads to the “Instrumentalization of the ‘other’; where the ‘other’ becomes a means to satisfy our own needs” (Module 11, Section a). Once the poor and colored has been defined as the “other”, the privileged society can be relieved of their obligations

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