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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 390

Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol is a work of non-fiction, so there aren't characters in it, in the same way characters appear in a novel. The subjects of the book are no less interesting, however. The school children of the districts he visited play a big part, although mostly passive, since they're the victims of deliberate segregation through the manipulation of education funding. The parents, school officials, and teachers are presented here like stage extras: part of the story, but not really part of the problem or part of the solution.

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The real villains of the book are the politicians and their wealthy donors, who are presumed to control governments and their budgets, and who through their racism deliberately cause under-investment in schools in low-income districts. They do this in order to over-fund the schools they prefer, which are overwhelmingly to be found in wealthy, mostly-white districts. These people are presented with a range of grievances or prejudices. Some are old-fashioned, unrepentant racists and segregationists. Others are ideologically opposed to immigration. Some are committed to market mechanisms and meritocracy at the cost of social justice. Still others are adamantly opposed to helping poor people. What they all have in common is a determination to exclude students at schools in low-income districts from opportunities to get their fair share of the American dream, starting with a solid education and a shot at attending college.

The children...

(The entire section contains 390 words.)

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