W.E.B Du Bois utilizes the metaphor of the veil to depict the ‘color-line’ of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in American politics and society. Several contemporary political moments and issues also resemble the protracted nature of the ‘color-line’ in the 21st century. This assignment asks you to research an issue linked to race and power in American politics. Your goal is to construct an argument about a current issue that helps to depict what the ‘color-line’ looks like today, not in opposition to Du Bois’ arguments of the past, but demonstrating ways in which race continues to play a prominent role in American politics and life. Ideally, your essay makes a contention about whether the world Du Bois depicts in The Souls of Black Folk has changed substantially linked to a short research project considering race and power.
Potential case studies include: educational institutions; identity-based empowerment movements; incarceration; policies linked to race and representation (i.e. affirmative action, reparations, etc.); public protest; policing; language and discourse; inequality; immigration; segregation; pop culture; advertising; social media; music; and/or any other issue that considers the role race plays in American society.
Purpose: develop a contemporary framework of analysis through a case study considering the continuing resilience (or lack thereof) of the ‘color-line’ in America. Demonstrate an ability to carry the arguments from the work of Du Bois and civil rights activists/thinkers into modern concerns of politics. Extend your ability to develop and apply arguments with historical connections to power.
Task: Write a 500-750 word argumentative/analytical paper identifying a modern issue linked to the ‘color-line’. This paper will include:
1) at least 3 news sources (more are welcome) identifying the controversy/issue chosen and referencing source material from the syllabus to identify how it relates to race and power;
2) an introduction presenting the topic and clear initial claim/thesis backed up with criteria for argumentation (thesis and 2-3 subarguments which justify the thesis);
3) commentary and analysis of the controversy demonstrating why it links to race and power based upon lectures and readings from the course (in other words bring Du Bois’ arguments into the analysis to either critique or support);
4) summarizing the controversy as succinctly as possible and spending more time on analysis and argumentation;
5) an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion;
6) either in-text or footnote citations to the news articles and any class material utilized;
7) a works cited/bibliography.
Criteria: Paper meets the requirements stated above; demonstrates clear connections to course material and discussions from class; accurately reflects the underlying concerns of race and the ‘color-line’; presents an original argument and utilizes research to back up claims; and demonstrates effort in research and careful writing.
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