Rereading America, from chapter five:
-Parrillo, “Causes of Prejudice”
-Fredrickson, “Models of American Ethnic relations: A Historical Perspective”
-Harris and Carbado, “Loot or Find: Fact or Frame?”
-Kaplan, “Barack Obama: “Miles Traveled, Miles to Go”
Making arguments in our lives usually means persuading an audience; often it means, if it is a real argument, addressing a group that is not completely open to hearing and understanding our point of view. This assignment will address two issues:
• Building an argument using convincing textual evidence
• Writing in order to persuade an unsympathetic argument
Chapter 5 in Rereading America addresses the history and present realities of the tensions that have surrounded, and still surround, racial and ethnic differences in the United States. We can broaden the range of this topic to include areas of class, sexual orientation, religion, gender, and political affiliation, at the least. Each of these categories, including race, are populated by groups we could call “others”—groups that both are seen by the majority culture as being somehow “outside” and are viewed by the majority culture with a degree of suspicion.
In a four-and-a-half to five-and-a-half page, double-spaced, 12-point typeface essay, argue for how some of the ideas in TWO of the essays in chapter 5 of Rereading America apply to ONE of these groups of “others” of your choosing. Define the group carefully. Write to an audience who would doubt the validity of your topic, the book’s texts, and your argument. If you choose to write about an “other” that is defined by race or ethnicity, be specific in naming this group (e.g., Korean, or mixed-race, or Persian).
—–For example, I might take the arguments in Harris and Carbado’s essay and apply them to similar thought patterns I see in Orange County about people whom the majority culture in the OC might consider “others”—those out of the cultural mainstream. Perhaps I would select French people as my group of others. I could talk about how Orange Countians see French speaking people suspiciously—people who spend too much time thinking about food. This would be a fairly silly paper, but I could nonetheless choose this topic.