Friday, September 23, 2005
And the disease still spreads...
I cannot Stress how near and dear to my heart this is. If you are in the struggle, let me know. If you know how to get involved, pass it on. This is a passage from the interview of Jonathan Kozol, Author of The Shame of a Nation. It's all right there...I added the Emphasis.
Everyone who has read the book has said that is the story that made them cry. Mireya wanted to go to Boston University. She was eloquent, and her teachers said she was perfectly capable of going to a first-rate university. She said the school had made her take sewing the previous year, and when I spoke with her, they were going to make her take hairdressing. This was a school of 5,000 kids in South Central Los Angeles, with hardly a white kid in the school. Now, it turns out hairdressing and sewing weren't exactly required, but that students were expected to take two classes in what were called "the technical arts." But whereas at Beverly Hills High School that requirement could be filled by taking a class in residential architecture, computer graphics or broadcast journalism - things that perhaps have some relevance to college preparation. At Freemont the choices were sewing and hairdressing. Mireya cried and said to me, "I don't need to sew; my mother's a seamstress in a sewing factory." That's when a terrific student, Fortino - he reminded me of a sort of Latino Malcolm X, because he had this look of cynical intelligence in his eyes - said to her, "The owners of the sewing factories need workers, don't they?" And she said, "Well, I guess they do." And he said, "They're not going to hire their own kids for those jobs." Another student naively said, "Why not?" And Mireya said, "Because they can grow beyond themselves, but we remain the same." To me that was the most moving bit of dialogue in the whole book.
In the end, one could consider the deep seated levels of racism and segregation in this country as a way to keep all minorities the same; ignorant, uneducated, leaderless, poor, and indebted.