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Persuasive research essay

As has been discussed in class all semester, essays ultimately work to persuade a reader, to prove to the skeptic or ideal reader that the thesis statement is true.  This particular project calls for the student to choose a contemporary issue of some controversy or significance, to take a stand on the issue, and to write an essay defending that position.  Logic, appeals to authority, appeals to emotion, and refuting the opposition are all approaches that are useful in the art of persuasion.

A writer or speaker, unless s/he is a noted expert in a respective field, must often rely on research (authority) in order to substantiate claims.  For this reason, and because it is always helpful to become better acquainted with the college’s library, there will be a research component to this assignment.  Students must incorporate at least two outside sources into the paper and document them in MLA format.  (This goes for quoting, paraphrasing, and statistics.)  Also, no more than one Internet site may be used; therefore, at least one source must be print format (newspapers, magazines, academic journals, or books are acceptable).  Finally, essays from the textbook or readings for class do not count as one of the two required sources.

This project should follow the format specifics noted in the course syllabus (3-4 pages, 12 point Times New Roman font, typed, double-spaced, paginated, etc.

The project topic is open.  Students may expand upon the ideas presented in the unit’s readings or develop their own.  Think locally and globally here, and be creative.  Students may not write about overdone topics like abortion, steroids, or the legalization of drugs; instead, seek issues that do not automatically foster cultural consensus or necessarily have easy answers, and learn a bit more about them.  In a year that has yielded discourse on politics, guns, race, the media, economics, and class, American society offers no shortage of potential subjects.

Answer

An Argumentative Essay on Racism: A Case Study of the United States

Racism occurs due to the perception that an individual or a social group is superior or inferior to another due to attributes of skin color, ethnic background, or racial identity. The United States has not been left behind in regards to this issue. It has been affected by the problem throughout its history. For example, white Americans have traditionally subjected other racial groups to racial discrimination, with some of the victims being Native Americans, African Americans, Japanese Americans, and Jews. For instance, racial discrimination against Native Americans dates back to the immigration of Europeans into America. The latter believed that the original inhabitants of the country were heathens and savages, and thus they chose to conquer them in order to occupy the land that they owned. On the other hand, African Americans were discriminated against along racial lines following their entry into the country as in the states as slaves. This paper will discuss the effects of racism in the United States with the aim of qualifying the argument that its eradication in the country is long overdue.

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Firstly, racism is a major attribute of America’s troubled past and its most significant manifestation was during the era of slavery. Today, the problem is not as serious as it was during the days of slavery during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, though it remains pervasive. It should be eradicated because it denies equal opportunities to all members of society. All over the world, racism has caused genocide, eviction of people, erosion of culture, and social inequality. In America, some of these injustices have been meted out against Native Americans by the Europeans. The disenfranchisement of the latter is an affront to their fundamental rights and freedoms. By viewing them through the racial prism, Europeans saw Native Americans as people whose culture was primitive and who needed to undergo transformation through cultural assimilation and Christianization. The resulting stigma has greatly contributed to social inequality, with Native Americans being among the most widely affected social group.

Moreover, the struggle against racial discrimination is ongoing. Some critics argue that the United States is free from racial discrimination, yet its ugly face continues to persist (Bonilla-Silva 129). In fact, it is the central factor that determines minorities’ access to opportunities in most communities. It has created a situation where there is dictatorship of the majority over the minority. To some extent, America’s self-proclamation as the world’s super power may be viewed by some through racial overtones as it presupposes the nation’s top position of authority in relation to other nations (Bonilla-Silva 205).

Throughout history, many efforts have been made to justify racism, including through mistreatments, workplace discrimination, stripping off people’s names, and efforts to change their identities. For example, Africans faced all these injustices in the hands of their American masters during slavery. Today, African Americans continue to face problems that can be attributed to racism. For instance, they work for long hours under poor conditions while receiving poor pay. Social welfare to this group also remains a mirage due to limited access to education, healthcare, and information.

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Similarly, Americans of Japanese ancestry have suffered immensely due to racism. For example, during the World War II, Pearl Harbor bombing in Hawaii in 1941 was a contributing factor for increased discrimination against the social group. In February 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizing the internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry. The move increased the rift between America and Japan. The Japanese were subject to suspicion hence a challenge towards cohesion and peaceful coexistence between the two states. The development led to immense suffering of Japanese Americans who had nothing to do with the bombing mainly through increased feer and deepening social inequality. The executive order led to discrimination based on race, whereby Japanese Americans living in certain areas were transferred into camps and denied proper medical care. Their transfer into concentration camps surrounded by barbed wire has been termed one of the lowest moments for the U.S. human rights record.

Besides, Jews living in America have also been subjected to racial discrimination. Some of the areas where the discrimination is manifested include limits on the purchase of particular properties, denial of enrollment in colleges, and restricted access in social clubs. Following the enactment of the Immigration Act of 1924, a ship carrying hundreds of German Jewish refugees was denied to dock in the United States (Hing 218). Those who managed to enter the country were discriminated based on their religious affiliation and skin color.

Evidently, race in the United States shapes people’s lives in more or less the same way gender strongly influences differences in access to opportunities between women and men. People’s life experiences tend to vary depending on their racial identities (Frankenberg 29). It is wrong to deny a person access to services due to racial considerations. Everyone deserves a chance in life, and the racial constructions are a major hindrance to this human right. There is no perfect race, and differences in performance at the workplace can never be justified by racial differences. On the contrary, such justification leads to the denial of a chance for millions of people from minority communities to demonstrate their skills and knowledge.

Works cited

Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. Racism without racists: Color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in the United States. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006. Print.

Frankenberg, Ruth. White women, race matters. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993. Print.

Hing, Bill. Defining America: Through Immigration Policy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004. Print.

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