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“Window into Bias: Mine, Yours, Societies”
All of our readings and assignments are organized around a central theme. A “themed” course, in which the class engages in a series of related readings and discussions around a particular topic, is something you will encounter at times during your college experience. Having a central theme for the next sixteen weeks will help us focus our thinking and conversations, share a common interest, and develop a kind of expertise on the topic.
Our theme in English 115 this semester will look at the different ways bias functions in our society. Sometimes bias is obvious and expected; I know I prefer chocolate over vanilla ice cream, for example. But where else does bias occur? How does it impact our lives? How does it impact our decision making? How does it impact the way we treat each other or the way we are treated? We will look at how bias functions within our own lives and within society as a whole: from the way we interact with each other to whom vote for.
Here are some questions that we will be considering throughout the course as we work through the complexities the biases that exist in our society:
What is bias and what are the different types of biases?
What’s the relationship to bias and stereotypes?
How does bias effect our thinking and decision making?
What’s the relationship between bias and racism?
How does bias and racism function within society and societal institutions?
Are there similarities between educational institutions and detention facilities?
How does it affect people I know and love?
How does it affect me?
We will read the course texts closely and write about them thoughtfully throughout the semester. In so doing, I hope we all become more conversant in this topic and come to understand the ways our actions and our lives are impacted by bias.
For your Final Exam, you will need to access your Diagnostic Writing Assignment you completed during Week 1, so please make sure you can see that BEFORE you begin the Final Exam. If you have trouble doing so, just let me know and I can always email it to you.
List of Course Texts:
You guys were able to accomplish so much this semester! Are you exhausted? Before you complete your Final Essay, I recommend taking a few minutes to refresh your memory about the texts we have read this semester. It will be helpful for you Essay 5. Also, be sure to pat yourself on the back for reading all of these texts in just a few short weeks:
“The Danger of a Single Story” – TedTalk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Definition of microaggressions by Derald Wing Sue
“Eye Tracking Technology Shows that Preschool Teachers Have Implicit Bias Against Black Boys” by M. Healy, LA Times
“Black Men and Public Space” by B. Staples
Poems from Citizen by C. Rankine (pages 10-18)
“Why Muslims Should Never Have to Apologize for Terrorism” by O. Alnatour
Chapters 3, 4, 5 of Blindspot
Chapters 6-7 and Appendix 2 of Blindspot
“How Microaggressions Relate To Systemic Biases” by Paolo Gaudiano
“Fear, Hope, and Deportations,” video and news story by the Washington Post
“The Year in Hate and Extremism” a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center (optional)
“It Was Cultural Anxiety that Drove White, Working Class Voters to Trump,” the Atlantic
Excerpts from The Latino Threat by L. Chavez (pages 1-10, 23-47)
“The Mass Incarceration of African Americans,” video by the Atlantic
“Black Men’s Sentences 20% Longer than White Men’s for Similar Crimes, New Study Shows,” the Huffington Post
“The New Jim Crow” law article by Michelle Alexander, Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law
13th by Ava DuVernay
Due Feb 6 at 11:59pm
Time Limit 30 Minutes
Allowed Attempts Unlimited
Share Your Ideas
Don’t worry; this will not be graded, and there is no right or wrong answer! This writing exercise is an opportunity to share your initial thoughts and ideas on our course theme. It will also provide me some insight as to your strengths as a writer.
Materials Needed: None
You do not need course materials, outside information, texts, or anything else. I am just interested in your ideas on this topic.
Please note: while you are not being graded on your response, this is your Week 1 writing assignment, so please spend the FULL 30 minutes on this assignment. Respond as thoroughly as you can in that time. If I don’t feel you have spent enough time on this assignment, I may ask you to redo it, so please invest the time. Thank you!
Take the Quiz Again
Attempt Time Score
LATEST Attempt 1 30 minutes 5 out of 5
Correct answers are hidden.
Score for this attempt: 5 out of 5
Submitted Jan 28 at 8:06pm
This attempt took 30 minutes.
“Bias ….. Mocks” (Links to an external site.) by Mocks 108 (Links to an external site.) is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (Links to an external site.)
Biased opinions can be good or bad, it is just the assumptions we make based off thoughts that we have that can make them a good or bad thing in our everyday life. I am biased in ways that I cannot seem to understand. I do have biased opinions at times, and as a child to a stubborn Hispanic father who constantly yelled and screamed and always said hateful things about certain groups of people, it had me thinking strange things about that certain group and started disliking them, it is my belief that it all starts at home. I certainly believe that a lot of individuals out there are biased, we learn and observe from those surrounding us like, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak on my own subjective experiences growing up with a father who was biased to certain groups of people. We are molded into thinking particular ways and we do not always realize how and why we think the ways we do.
Your essay should:
Be presented as multiple paragraphs—including an introduction, supporting body paragraphs (using AXES), and a conclusion
Include a thesis which responds to the prompt, makes an argument, and states the focus of the essay
Include specific examples from your own writing (including the First Day Writing Diagnostic) and/or our courses texts to serve as evidence
Effectively introduce and integrate evidence
Be edited and proofread so that ideas are clear and any grammar/punctuation mistakes are not distracting to the reader