Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Give Them a Chance at Life

Picture this: You go into a school with classrooms, bathroom, and teachers. Normal? Of course. Now picture you walking into a school with stomach-churning bathrooms with hardly any functional toilets, stall doors broken, and busted sinks. Classrooms are packed with over the capacity students, and teachers unaware of what they are doing. Conditions so horrendous most students are either forced or decide to drop out of their schools. These are just some of the “minor” set backs of schools in East St. Louis. With affirmative action U.S colleges give extra points to people of a different race and to women. Do those conditions sound any where near a normal school? That is why I think affirmative action should be given, but should also be given to people of lower income.

It seems still in this century women are being denied opportunities men are given. In many situations women are considered the “weaker species.” Not only do they hint toward their muscles, but also in the brain department. That often affects job interviews, job payment, and their futures. Women have been judged as inferior compared to the male race; people believe that women do not think things thoroughly like men; they believe they freak out over nothing. In the begging women were discriminated, they were not allowed to vote, sign documents, or anything! People once thought that women were only capable of cooking, cleaning, and populating the planet. Yet, there are still sexist jokes intoxicating the air of how men are so much better at everything.

Along with the sexist jokes there are still racism and stereotyping out in the world effecting people every day. Every day when a “colored” person walks into a store, a first- time conversation, or anything they are just judged. Stereotypes affect everyone though, He’s African American he must have a gun or he’s going to jail, he’s Mexican he must be dirty and he must mow lawns, she’s Asian she must be smart. Who says colleges aren’t going to say the same thing? They take a look at the application and see that the person is of a different race, thinks of all the stereotypes and they acquire the thought they are going to be disruptive people, or bad influences to the other students. Not only does that affect the schools, but it also affects the person being judged. When they start seeing they are rejected thoughts begin to form in their mind: something is inaccurate with them, they are not good enough, they start thinking they are freaks, when in reality nothing is wrong with them, they are just a different skin tone of someone else. Soon grades are affected, and sooner or later their lives are affected.

It’s hard to get an education in place where there are not even functional schools, and where people are being discriminated. It seems like everything and anything could affect the people of East St. Louis. Dental care is just a myth to poor children; “Although dental problems don’t command the infants fears associated with low birth weight, fetal death or cholera, they do have the consequences of wearing down the stamina of children and defeating their ambition”(Kozol 1). In St. Louis the situation is far worse than what we can ever imagine, there are, “children growing up in burnt- out housing, playing on contaminated land, and walking past acres of smoldering garbage on their way to school”(Kozol 7). Everywhere there is despair being shared through out the city, including the schooling networks. Even the teachers of the schools are confessing “They feel cut off from educational developments in modern public schools” (Kozol 3). Even if the education was well taught, the conditions of the schools are simply unbearable. There are bathrooms without stalls, sinks over flowing, classrooms with scorching hot temperatures, and biting cold temperatures, with these kinds of conditions it is hard for a single student to focus, but the education there is not precise either. With the teachers being denied there payment and budgeting affecting every school in St. Louis it is a difficult task to find a single accurate book. In the elementary schools and high schools teachers have to share books, “A history teacher at the Martin Luther King School has 110 students in four classes, but only 26 books” (Kozol 7). It is very hard to obtain the interest of people interviewing you for college when all you really have to offer is your musical talent and athletic ability, if any. The fact is, “A diploma from a ghetto high school doesn’t count for much in the United Stated today. Living in East St. Louis is like living in one of their toilets. Broken down, filthy, nauseating, and no one wants anything to do with it. Their conditions are far past a disastrous, and they can’t do a thing about it. Life in East St. Louis “Is simply the worst possible place I can imagine to have a child brought up” (Kozol 3). The worst part about being in the “toilet” is even if things are repaired, building, schools, in such the grounds are still contaminated, and the area is still tainted with racism.

Many people think that it might not be far for richer people of the same or even different race. People of lower income are incapable of preparing as much as those of higher income. Richer people are able to attend classes of SAT preparation, and can even afford to retake the SAT as much as they want, increasing their score each time, while those of lower currency have to stick with what they acquire the first time. Income also affects the school they go to. Which person are the colleges going to look at the most? The person who went to a high-class high school, or the person who goes to a broken down, ghetto school? Academics would in addition affect in the school situation. Also, the people of higher income are able to afford assistance from tutors, while others must depend only on themselves and on their teachers, with no additional lending hand.

People argue that in order to succeed in life, you must work hard. I agree completely, but it is so hard to establish your goal when there are people getting in the way. A student from East St. Louis started in a school where she and one other student were the only African Americans. Her and her mother wanted her to get a good education, she claims “My mother pushes me and she had wanted me to get a chance at a better education,” than that in East St. Louis. (Kozol 6). Yet, it seemed as though even the children there did not want her to succeed at her goal for a brighter future. She even received a hurtful note telling her to “Go back to Africa”( Kozol 6). People seem to always blame the people for not working hard for their own education or even their guardians, but as the student says, “It was not my mother’s fault that I was not accepted by those people (Kozol 6). People of color may try to work hard, but one thing almost always stands in their way of the finish line, racism.

People have also formed the thought that affirmative action is just reverse racism. As David Sacks states, “The basic problem is that a racist past cannot be undone through more racism” (1). Racism is defined as belief in racial superiority. Racism was used to discriminate African Americans from equal rights of everything, but that is not what affirmative action is trying to do. Affirmative action is trying to help people of different race, and to put variety into colleges. It is not there to take away rights. Without variety in colleges interacting with different races in work related situations start to become more awkward. People are unaware of what they are able to say around the different race or what they can do, because interaction with them is new to them. In East St. Louis, children want to interact with those of a different race, “They still believe in that dream” (Kozol 5). It shouldn’t be a dream, for anyone, interaction amongst races is meant to happen. Without it this world is divided, and people are stuck with seeing the same type of group for the rest of their lives. It’s segregation all over again.

This is why I believe in affirmative action is needed, but with lower income added to it. If affirmative action is not given schools start losing variety in the races situations start become more awkward toward the different race, women could be denied the chances men are give, and people of lower income are rejected the dream of a better education, and maybe even the dream of segregation not standing in their way, such as the students in East St. Louis. There is no need for separation with anything, God made us all equal that is why we must try to achieve equality amongst everyone.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback