savage-inequalities - Chapter 1, "Life on the...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Chapter 1, "Life on the Mississippi: East St. Louis, Illinois," Summary and Analysis East St. Louis is a city in ruins with no doctors or hospitals that care for pregnant women, no garbage removal service and no escape from poverty. The buildings on the main street are abandoned and chemical plants pour pollution into the air. Because unemployment is so high, the city can't make money from tax revenues and has to close down city hall and fire service workers who do things like pump out the flooded sewers. Almost everyone here is black and desperately poor. The city is located below some bluffs where white, wealthier residents live. The sewage and factory runoff from these residents' homes pours into East St. Louis but the more wealthy citizens do not contribute any funds to cleaning up the lower area. Kozol says many black communities across America lie in low flood plains and get the trash and runoff from more prosperous cities. East St. Louis experiences sewage-flooded playgrounds, typhoid, cholera and a high level of mercury arsenic and lead in the ground from chemical factory runoff and smelting. Children from the area test dangerously high for lead in their blood. Kozol pays a visit to the area with a religious worker named Sister Julia Huiskamp from the Daughters of Charity. He sees burning garbage, threatening teenagers, and the playground where sewage is sometimes puddled. Now, greenery hides the dangerous chemicals and germs beneath. The sister and Kozol stop to talk to some children. One seems only to know herself as "Little Sister." The other kids tell him about how a friend has been recently beaten to death with a brick and her body dumped behind the playground. The children point out that one of their teachers comes to the murdered girl's funeral. Another child remarks that his grandmother has been shot dead. All this is said matter-of-factly, along with prattle about pets and squirrels. Kozol sees the children's trashy school. Next to this dilapidated building is a new school that has been constructed incorrectly. The roof is too heavy and the walls are sinking into the ground, so the kids can't use this new school. When it's almost time to go, Sister Huiskamp has to call a cab before dark, or the driver will not enter this neighborhood. At night in East St. Louis, plumes of brown smoke pour out of the chemical plants, leading to a higher-than-average rate of asthma for children growing up here. People on the bluffs are out of the path of this air pollution, but East St. Louis is downwind of all the toxins. The author describes shack- like homes next to factories of Monsanto, Big River Zinc, Cerro Copper and a garbage burning plant. Many residents have been given $400 payments to keep them from suing the plants for the damage they are inflicting. Chemical plants do not pay taxes to the city because they incorporate their factory areas into small, independent towns within the township of East St. Louis. Sauget, one such town, consists only of strip clubs, a factory and a lottery outlet. Kozol notes that the lottery money is
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 03/25/2008 for the course SOC 302 taught by Professor Langenkamp during the Fall '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.

Page1 / 5

savage-inequalities - Chapter 1, "Life on the...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online