Saturday, October 15, 2005


The New York Times today and September 25, 2005. Reading the letters in the Sunday Book Review made me go back and read Nathan Glazer's review of Jonathan Kozol's The Shame of the Nation: Separate and Unequal.

Re-declaring groups of people ("minorites" and "the poor") incorrigible. As in, "incapable of being corrected or amended," "Bad or depraved beyond correction or reform," "Of something faulty or defective ... Of disease: Incurable," AND also "Not liable or open to correction; so good that it cannot be improved."

An instance of the unheimlich. Incapable of being corrected/defective and not liable to correction/ SO GOOD it cannot be improved.

Here's Glazer; "That problem is the conditions under which we educate the children of the poor and minorities. In his account, they are trapped, almost uniformly, in old schools that are overcrowded, in poor repair, with scanty teaching materials and disgraceful toilets, and staffed by generally underqualified teachers." And, "Because Kozol's forte is the detailed description of the school, the classroom, the work of the teacher and its effect on the student, we do not get from him any large discussion of why this resegregation has occurred. It's true court-ordered desegregation programs have been abandoned in many cities, as judges have been persuaded either that they are having no useful effects in closing the educational gap between blacks and others, or that they have become futile, since the number of white students in many school districts, particularly in large cities, has declined to insignificance."

In the letters. Henry Giroux writes, "Nathan Glazer states that even if racism exists in the schools there are other problems that contribute to segregation that are not really racist in nature and deserve a positive hearing, i.e., state's rights, the quest for individual freedom (always removed from any notion of the public good), local control of schools and a host of other utterly privatizing issues. Glazer ignores the growing incarceration of people of color; the rise of gated communities; the increasing racial profiling of immigrants; the increasing rates of poverty and unemployment among black youth; and the inadequate health care, health insurance and other basic social provisions for many black citizens." ...


See in this earlier post a Salon article on Kozol's book Apartheid America.


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