Friday, February 12, 2010

Talking Point 1

Amazing Grace
By: Jonathan Kozol

1. "Have you read about George Washington?"
"I dont even know the man," he says. (Cliffie)
-When Cliffe is asked to name heroes he named Michael Jackson and Oprah. What Kozol wanted Cliffie to refer to was some important historical figures; yet Cliffie first mentions black heroes. I think this shows that students in school were not so concentrated on imporant white figures and rather focused on the important black people in their culture.

2. "A nurse come once a month to take her temperature and check her heart and her blood pressure."
-The text is speaking of a woman named Alice Washington who had AIDS. Alice is extremely sick, but it is shocking that she is only visited by a nurse once a month. Many people in this area (South Bronx) are of extreme poverty and many are sick. Throughout the whole article, maybe people die of AIDS all the time, which again reflects on the poverty of the area. There are not enough nurses and doctors to help the sick patients.

3. "That's how it is. What can i say? she often asks."
-When Mrs. Washington is questioned about troubles in the neighborhood, she is often saddened as she gives an answer. While reading, you can tell that her tone is upsetting and quiet, and that she feels helpless in her city. Nothing good happens in her life and especially the neighborhood. Alice feels helpless and has come to the conclusion that she cannot change how it is. She knows there is nothing she can do about the violence, sickness, drugs, and poverty in the Bronx.

As i read this article i got very upset when Cliffie was talking about all of the violence in the streets. It is so sad that a young child has to live in this kind of an enviroment. He has seen death, shootings, guns, and drugs all at such a young age. I feel that because eh is growing up in such a violent and poor neighborhood, this could affect how he learns at school. It is crazy to think that this little boy has seen so much death for so many terrible reasons. Then, when Alice describes death, it seems to come out so easily because it is normal to her and the people in her community.
I thought this was an easy read, but the stories and situations were not easy to take in. They were disturbing. i am curious to know how the students do in school and wish that there were more statistics on that aspect. If i had to guess, i would think that their home lifes are so distraught that they would have some learning trouble. As Delpit thinks, since the students are most likely not learning enough about the culture of power at home, hopefully the teachers in teh school systems are helping the students and are understanding of some or most of the childrens troubled home lives.


  1. Hi Brittany,

    I agree with you about the parts in this article involving Cliffie were also very difficult to read. When they are walking and he had just pointed out the bears on the tree and he says "I saw a boy shot in the head right over there... would you like a chocolate chip cookie?" - I was flabbergasted. That this little boy could talk about witnessing a shooting and then wanted to eat a cookie a moment later is so odd for us to understand. Like you said that living in that environment and seeing so much death and problems at such a young age, it has to affect him some how.
    It makes it worse because you know that children that live in neighborhoods like this are the ones who need an education to ultimately get out of there. And since they see all of this on a daily basis and have to be effected by it, it will probably ruin their chances of making the best out of their education. It's like a never ending cycle, and just the thought of it makes me very sad.

  2. Brittany my jaw dropped when Cliffie did not know who George Washington. Oprah is a good role model but to not know who the founding fathers are is really depressing.

  3. Like Mike said the first post made me surprised. At the same time though it made me laugh. I don't know if you've seen Super Size Me, so here it is =P but about 45 mins in there is a part where these kids can not name the important figures presented in front of them, even JESUS! Anyway, and then the 3rd post where you said "She knows that there is nothing she can do about the violence, sickness, drugs, and poverty in the Bronx." that isn't necessarily true. Though it is a lot of work and a ton of responsibility, everyone can help make a difference. At the same time though sometimes things just can't be helped and will always be the way things are, but it doesn't hurt to try.

  4. Brittany,
    I liked your choice of quotes espcially the first one. I never would have thought to put that into my post. Now that you explain it I think about what it means for Cliffie not to know who George Washington is. Thanks for helping me out. I'm taking this into account now.

  5. I also got upset when Cliffie was talking about violence in the streets. I also thought it was sad how the kids in the neighborhood have to see so much violence. I think it is wrong how kids have to go through these troubles at such a young age.

  6. Hi Brittany,
    I agreed with a lot of what you said. Especially about Cliffie and his exposure to violence, and all the other horrific things in his neighborhood.
    It makes him, Alice, and I'm sure others, feel helpless, and so they just stop feeling anything about it.
    Your thoughts on the first quote you used made me look at it in a different way. I just took it as the education he gets is just not up to par with the schools in more affluent neighborhoods, but I can understand where you're coming from. It makes sense that he would be more interested in heroes that look like him.

  7. Hi Brittany,

    I also find it so upsetting that Cliffie has to witness and be exposed to such things and being of such a young age. In your third quote, i feel that is pretty much sums up the entire piece. They seem to just accept what they are put in and that is just so sad to me.

  8. Hi Brittany,
    I agree with you i had the same opinion on the article and i agree with the quotes you chose i can see the signifcance of them and the roles they play in the text.

  9. I liked the first quote you used, it struck me that not only did Cliffie only know the black celebrities but they were celebrities that you would learn about more from television than from school, so I think this shows something about the education the children in this area are recieving if the only heroes they can name are the ones they see on television.

  10. I agree with Mike To know who Oprah is but not George Washington is scary lol

  11. I highly agree with all of your points. I can't believe how much violence some of these kids are used to seeing on a day to day basis.