Savage Inequality Analysis

910 Words 4 Pages
Inequality exists across organizations, institutions and societies, but these disparities between groups of people can be analyzed in a number of ways. Jonathan Kozol, in his book Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools devotes his research to the divide between classes and races within the educational institution. The primary depth of his work lies in visits to an East St. Louis public school and a New York public school (Kozol 262, 265). These two environments – starkly contrasted in their financial, racial, and educational structures – allow Kozol to explain a form of institutional racism that continues to be detrimental to many members of American society. In a different study, sociologist C. J. Pascoe discusses gender inequality …show more content…
Kozol, after detailing the health issues, nutrition deficiencies and safety problems in East St. Louis, turns the narrative to the $400,000 auditorium in New York (Kozol 261-262, 265). Inequality, to Kozol, comes from extreme dysfunction that is then juxtaposed against an affluence that exudes power and wellbeing. The problems within East St. Louis are economic, they are long-term and they are structural (Kozol 263). In an interview with a popular teacher at the school, Kozol lends a humanized voice to classroom inequality. The weary educator laments that he feels that he is entirely cut off from the rest of the educational institution – yet there is nothing he feels he can do to change it (Kozol 264). All of this boils down to Kozol’s main point: racial inequality. In a 1991 interview with the Christian Science Monitor, he said that, to him, fiscal inequity and racial isolation are the same issue (Walters). Thus, these educational struggles do not occur in isolation; instead, they are tied to the racial makeup of the city, and the subsequent institutionalized nature of racism (Kozol 264). Inequality is not just personal prejudices; instead, it includes institutional practices that perpetuate disparity (Roy 106-107). And in his visits to both of his case study schools, Kozol is quick to note the makeup of the student …show more content…
Unlike Kozol, Pascoe analyzes an aspect of gender identity – in this case, adolescent male homophobia – as a means of approaching gender inequality as a whole. Masculinity, she argues, is reinforced by a gendered homophobia around the word “fag” (Pascoe 318). This term is applied to individuals who someone (often adolescent boys) considers to be the opposite of masculinity (Pascoe 319). On a broader level, however, we can understand that masculinity is socially constructed and actually changes over time (Roy, lecture 8). Recognizing this, Pascoe uses a gay rights issue as a means to critique the ongoing movement for gender equality. She notes the fact that “fag” now applies to masculinity as a whole instead of sexuality (Pascoe 322-323). Gay rights “reinscribed” the issue rather than challenging it, she explains (Pascoe 322). Gender inequality as a whole has areas like homophobia that become gendered and lend themselves to opening the conversation. Thus, every small fight is actually a unique opportunity to approach the topic of gender equality and create change (Pascoe

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