As this semester and blog come to close, and as I have finished reading this work, I am, as I was during the course of the novel, reminded of my privilege. As a white, middle class, cis-gender woman who is able-bodied, English-speaking, and a United States citizen, I have been afforded vast opportunities, a good education, plenty of food, and shelter above me while I sleep. My chances of success are almost guaranteed, the choices are entirely mine to make. But as Kozol points out, and drives home in his conclusion, there are systems and policies in place which inhibit certain groups of people from having access to these same basic necessities. Many people think it is impossible that the scenarios that Kozol describes are happening in the United States, and this is why his work is so important. He showed us the truth, light, and despair of these childrens’ lives, and called us to action in the discourse of our community.
I urge you to examine your own life and y our own identities. How have they worked together to help you through the education system? How have they not? And not just the education system, but your entire life? Everyone here at the University of Michigan-Flint is fortunate to be receiving an education, but not everyone has taken the same path or faced the same challenges to be sitting next to you in your classes. Please consider this, and know that recognizing and checking your own privilege is your first contribution to a socially just society.