Saturday, October 19, 2013

Revisiting Kozol & August with Johnson

I realized that in two of my previous posts (Talking Points #1 & 3), I had forgotten to include connections to other texts that we had discussed in class. As I revisited these posts, I found that both Jonathan Kozol's "Amazing Grace" and "Safe Spaces" by Vaccaro, August, and Kennedy could be directly linked to Allan G. Johnson's "Privilege, Power, and Difference."

Jonathan Kozol's "Amazing Grace"
    Kozol's text reflects the struggle that so many individuals experience as a result of living in conditions of poverty. In Mott Haven, the health of both children and adults is compromised, due to the polluted atmosphere and perpetual risk of disease. Crime rate is high, and the poverty level is of the worst in the entire nation.
    If one were to refer back to Johnson's "Privilege, Power, and Difference," he/she would find that one of the differences in society that he analyzes is social class. Johnson's text explains how privilege determines who holds power, and in the case of "Amazing Grace," the citizens of Mott Haven had little power due to their poverty. In the instance of the incinerator, it was placed in Mott Haven as opposed to Manhattan due to the refusal of the upper class citizens. Mott Haven's hospitals were also in harsh conditions, where patients were forced to wait days in order to be seen. Crime ran rampant in the area, whereas reduced levels of crime may have been reported in districts of higher class. The difference that Johnson explains in his text is quite relative to Kozol's "Amazing Grace," for this difference of privilege was evident, as it affected the lives of all citizens of Mott Haven. 

"Safe Spaces" by Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, & Megan Kennedy
    "Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth" examines the struggles that LGBT youth face in the educational setting. So many LGBT youth have had their voices silenced. They have been subjected to harassment and exclusion, as well as have become victims of suicide. "Safe Spaces" explores the constant battle that LGBT youth experience, as well as provides helpful methods for educators to use to help make schools safer places.
    In Johnson's "Privilege, Power, and Difference," the author discusses how the issue of privilege relates to race, gender, sexual orientation, and social class. One group has privilege over another, which results in greater power for a certain group over other groups. This issue of privilege creates difference, and the treatment of individuals differs. On page 32 and 33 of "Privilege, Power, and Difference," Johnson provides multiple examples of heterosexual privilege. The treatment of those who do not fit these molds of "privilege" is always unfair, as this is evident for LGBT youth, as well as in the case of the residents of Mott Haven.
Kozol, Jonathan. Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation. Harper Perennial, 1995. Print.
August, Gerri, Megan S. Kennedy, and Annemarie Vaccaro. Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth. Praeger, 2011. 1, 83-100. Print.

Johnson, Allan G. Privilege, Power, and Difference. McGraw-Hill; 2nd edition, 2005. Print.

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