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4 pages/≈1100 words
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Literature & Language
English (U.S.)
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The Overwhelming Burdens Of Racism And Cultural Stereotypes (Essay Sample)


Topic: This essay will be a part profile of one of your classmates and the object that is important to your partner and one part research essay about the larger history and significance of the object. You will write a partial biography of your partner and provide research to enhance what your partner discusses.
Required Research: You will have two research tasks for this essay:
Primary Research: You will interview your partner about the object s/he has chosen. I will give you time in class to conduct this interview.
Secondary Research: You will conduct library and internet research on the object itself so that your essay is not only about your partner but also a mini-history of the object and its importance. You must quote two sources.
1. Conduct an interview with your partner (primary research). Ask many questions about the object, questioning your partner about his/her positive or negative feelings towards the object, his/her history with it, and how it contributes to his/her sense of identity. Write down as much as you can – including full sentences that might work well as quotations in your essay. NOTE: It's also a good idea to record the interview on your phone. You and your partner can work together to make sure both interviews are recorded.
2. Free-write on how you think the interview went. Write about what your subject told you, but also read between the lines of what s/he told you.
3. Conduct secondary research on the object itself. Browse online search engines for newspaper
or magazine articles (avoid blogs), library databases, and library stacks for information on the object. Print encyclopedias are good places to start – do not, however, trust Wikipedia as a quotable secondary source.
4. Fully read and annotate at least three reputable secondary sources that provide background and/or arguments about the object. Take notes and highlight strong sections in the sources you may want to quote. Keep physical copies of these three sources.
5. Free-write on what you have taken away from your secondary research and how it informs or helps you write your mini-biography of your partner.
6. You may need to conduct a second interview with your partner based on what you find in your research.
7. Write a preliminary outline for how you will organize your essay (see below for a sample).
8. Draft and edit the essay.


The Overwhelming Burdens of Racism
This is a story about Tyron Trevon, a black male student, and his life experiences dealing with cultural stereotypes and racial discrimination. In a world where it is increasingly becoming a challenge navigating the murky waters of youth, people like Tyron have the additional challenge of dealing with racial prejudices. Tyron has many interesting and shocking stories growing up in a society that is yet to accept that everyone is equal despite the color of their skin. On several occasions, he has had to deal with glaring suspicion from shop owners whenever he is shopping. He explains that this is probably due to the racial stereotype that the people of his race are predisposed to stealing. However, despite trying to be honest and explaining the inexplicable actions of shop owners that have displayed racial prejudice towards him, he still insists that he does not really understand them. According to Tyron, “Black people have lived in this country for over a hundred years. You would think that they would get used to having us here by now or learn to see beyond our color and see us for who we really are. Honestly, it is primitive and depressing.” The creases that appear on his face as he narrates his stories suggest the emotional and psychological toll dealing with racial stereotypes has already had on him a such a tender age.
Decades since the illegalization of slavery and the legalization of equal rights for people of color not much difference has been realized in the fight against racism. First of all, in the context of this article, racism is defined as “an ideology of racial domination in which the presumed biological or cultural superiority of one or more racial groups is used to justify or prescribe the inferior treatment or social position of other racial groups,” (Clair and Denis, 857). The history of racism is a long and complicated one. It can be traced back to the advent of the slave trade, going back five hundred years ago. It is a common belief that the slave trade that emerged in early civilizations promoted racial discrimination. According to the BBC, “the burgeoning trade in Africans gave birth to the idea that different races of human beings existed, distinguished by the color of their skin.” Consequently, the misconceived notion that people of color, who were often traded as slaves, were inferior to their merchant counterparts. Racism went on to become a common phenomenon in the 20th century where colored people were denied equal rights with white people. Several demonstrations and civil right movements, the legal barriers segregating races were abolished. The issue of racism still persists today, even though at a lower scale than five decades ago. However, the effects are still the same and colored people continue to experience discrimination.
Tyron's experience with racism has left him in a situation where he has to be overly cautious about his actions, lest they are misinterpreted for hostility or crimes. He narrates an encounter with police officers which almost proved fatal, for him of course. One evening he was skating around a parking lot when he accidentally bumped into one of the

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