“History … does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.”
— James Baldwin
In the second unit of the course, you have learned key strategies for argumentation as well as gained knowledge about how implicit bias based out of associations made in our unconscious mind can lead to discrimination that can have grave effects depending on the person’s position of power. For example, a judge in a court room or a police officer with a gun are in a high position of power in that they can alter the course of another person’s life with one decision. When that decision is made based on implicit and unconscious bias that has been cultivated in historical racist ideology that permeates our society in the media, the workplace, social interactions, etc. we begin to see trends like we do with more people of color getting pulled over, arrested, turned down for jobs, and on and on.
Using the knowledge you have gained about the history of racial bias, the war on drugs, the current racial imbalance of those incarcerated, as well as the understanding you have of implicit bias, why good people can commit immoral acts and justify the acts, write an essay examining a current event about a police involved event or a court proceeding where critics are alleging discrimination or biased treatments. Analyze the event identifying where implicit bias, self-justification, and social power contributed to the outcome. Your thesis will make a claim about to what degree these unconscious factors were at play in the event you have researched.
You will start this essay by researching the topic more, then deciding on a model for developing your thesis statement—Hypothesis-testing, Correcting-misinterpretations, Filling-the-Gap, Modifying-what-others-have-said Model (these are covered in detail in Inquiry CH 5).
Where do you start?
1. You should start this essay by identifying a current event and then begin the writing process by brainstorming sub-questions to the larger question. You can do this with a quick brainstorm. Here is an example:
1. Explore answers to your sub-questions
Spend a couple minutes freewriting on each of your sub-questions. Freewrites are a good way to collect your thoughts. Use your freewrites to identify ideas that you know you want to write about as well as ideas that you need further research to include in your essay.
1. Begin your research
Start researching as soon as possible. You only need three outside sources for this essay assignment. You have a lot of good material from Unit 1, The New Jim Crow, The Lucifer Effect, and Mistakes Were Made. Don’t waste too much time researching. Remember in the internet age there will always be more information and there will likely be better information than one you have. You need to learn to manage your time when you are researching. Find reliable sources that provide you what you need and stop researching. It can be a form of procrastination!
1. Develop a working thesis and decide on a model to use to develop your thesis
*Tip: Just like in the synthesis essay, you want to make connections between and among different texts. Review the texts and podcasts you have read for Unit 1 & 2 with an eye for comparing them. Note relevant examples
· 4-5 pages, double-spaced, MLA formatted
· 5-7 sources– 3 of the sources must come from your own research
· A clear thesis that makes a claim answering the question: What role does history, individual and social psychology play in the state of our current justice system.
· Clear topic sentences that serve as the main ideas for the paragraphs
· Paragraphs that synthesize sources by using direct quotes, paraphrases, and summary from 2 or more sources
· Your essay should be cohesive making use of key words, transition words, and transitional devices to guide your reader
· An MLA formatted works cited page