Despite the fact that the us is an immigrant culture

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Rereading America:

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


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 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).

IMPORTANT ADVICE: Read all four essays and the discussion board entries on the essays. Try choosing the focus of your essay by writing about ideas from the essays that strongly affect you; don't start out with a particular group in mind. Once you have identified interesting ideas, then think about a group of "others."

AUDIENCE: Each of the assigned essays from Rereading America for this assignment are written for audiences that likely will not agree with the respective writer's ideas. Note the following areas in both the essays you read, and in constructing your own essays:

· Tone-how does the writer decide to present these issues to a potentially unsympathetic audience? Often times a level tone (remember Devor's essay) is used to dampen the emotions an audience may feel.

· Introductory content-oftentimes, when a writer believes an audience may be unsympathetic, the introductory section of an essay may be used to build bridges of understanding and shared experience. Perhaps I could choose an anecdote from my own experience that would echo the prejudiced behavior that the group of Others I have selected has experienced. This is a way to help people to understand what it feels like to be a recipient of prejudiced thinking and behavior.

· Thesis-in your thesis statement, make it clear as to what you specifically want to argue. Clearly identify your group of Others and the prejudiced thinking and/or behavior you want to discuss.


Despite the fact that the United States is an immigrant culture, our society has trouble discussing (or arguing about) subjects that pertain to cultural or racial differences. Rereading America looks at one aspect of difference: race. It looks at the history of racial prejudice in the United States, the psychological underpinnings of racial prejudice, and ways in which racial prejudice is still with us today.

We can take some of the historical, psychological, and contemporary factors of racism, however, and apply them to prejudiced thinking and behavior more generally. In racism, the object of the prejudice-that is, the group that is on the receiving end of prejudiced thinking and behavior-is defined by its race. The group is referred to as "the other"-that is, those who are racially different from the person engaging in the racist thinking or action. When we consider prejudice more generally, we understand that the "other" can be any sort of group-young people, old people, Democrats, Republicans, women, men, Christians, Muslims, Engineers, English majors, artists, dancers, construction workers...anyone who can be categorized and defined by generalizations.

Reference no: EM13809386

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