Asian-Americans, Back Off of Affirmative Action
Order ID# 45178248544XXTG457 Plagiarism Level: 0-0.5% Writer Classification: PhD competent Style: APA/MLA/Harvard/Chicago Delivery: Minimum 3 Hours Revision: Permitted Sources: 4-6 Course Level: Masters/University College Guarantee Status: 96-99%
Asian-Americans, Back Off of Affirmative Action
Objectives: For this second major writing assignment, you will be asked to write an opinion piece for a popular audience. (Just as you chose your own CFP for A1, for A2 you will pick your own venue for publication.) The primary purpose of this assignment is to encourage you to treat persuasion as an act that requires strategizing and planning. To that end, before you even begin writing, you will be asked to assess the rhetorical situation you find yourself in. Furthermore, you will aim to investigate the power of the personal narrative when crafting an argument and find ways to avoid the landmines that abound when we set out to argue from a personal perspective. You are still being asked to treat writing as a process, and during this assignment cycle, we will focus especially on rhetorical analysis of published editorials and works-in-progress, both to learn about the conventions of the genre and to practice giving valuable, constructive feedback to fellow writers.
Background: While the blurring of the line between the news and editorial has been a problem in much of today’s media, that does not take away from the importance of editorials in mainstream media outlets. Editorials (or “op-eds”) are often written by professional columnists (such as Nicholas Kristof), but newspaper editors curating editorial pages are increasingly interested in the voices and perspectives of everyday people with expert knowledge and/or experience. As Trish Hall writes in “Op-Ed and You,” a paper like The New York Times is “interested in everything, if it’s opinionated and we believe our readers will find it worth reading.”
What this means is that any person who has a meaningful argument to make and has a desire to shape public opinion has an opportunity to try and publish their commentary on the issues of the day—including political events, contentious public policies, dominant social practices and recent cultural trends. What this also means is that readers of a given publication have an opportunity to hear from those who ordinarily might not have a viable public platform and who might shape the conversation in surprising ways due to their own subjective positions.
Your Job: You will be crafting an op-ed piece for a respectable news outlet (such as The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, or even a local outlet like Daily Trojan). Specifically, I would like to you approach this task from the perspective of yourself as a member of a particular group. Drawing on your experiences, expertise and skills (including research, if you wish), as well as your knowledge of current issues, you should create an argument that utilizes elements of the personal narrative as a viable tool in persuasion.
Writing Task: After choosing a publication and using invention to move towards a meaningful argument about a contentious—or neglected—topic, write an editorial of 1000-1500 that aims to engage and enlighten the readers of your news outlet. As you write, ask these questions: What insight is your audience missing about your chosen topic? How can you use your membership in a group and your skill at personal writing to convey that insight?
Breakdown of A2 grade:
Companion essay: 5%
*The companion essay will require you to answer a series of questions about your op-ed once you’ve written it. Essentially, you will be asked to do rhetorical analysis of your own work, to explain the writerly choices you’ve made and to reflect on your writing process and on your progress as an argumentative writer.
“A Farm Boy Reflects” by Nicholas Kristof
“Fellow Asian-Americans, Back Off of Affirmative Action” by Elyse Pham
“Op-Ed and You” by Trish Hall
“My New Vagina Won’t Make Me Happy” by Andrea Long Chu
Optional: “Our favorite Washington Post op-eds of 2018”
Optional: “So you want to get out of your bubble: try reading these conservative websites” by Jason Wilson
Tips for Writing Successfully:
Pay close attention to course readings: As we read and analyze, we’ll soon find that many of the “rules” of academic writing are renegotiated in this new arena. You may not find a thesis at the beginning of the introduction; sources, statistics and “hard” proof are used more sparingly (but no less significantly); emotional and personal responses are of equal value to “objective” ones; and the art of storytelling becomes more of a central concern.
Note that writing non-academically does not mean writing casually/badly: On the contrary, the standards for “good writing” are arguably much higher in the world of long-form journalism than they are in the academic world, because in addition to clarity of expression, readers will also be looking to be entertained/engaged by your prose.
Consider your audience: Publishers look for pieces that will be of interest to a large population of intelligent readers. This doesn’t mean you can’t write about a topic that is interesting to you but obscure to others; it just means you need to find a way to make its importance or value clear to a wider audience. Also bear in mind Aristotle’s idea that any given piece of rhetoric may have more than one audience. The broader audience of an editorial is obviously anyone who reads that newspaper. But who is the smaller, more specific audience you are seeking to target? What will you need to do to engage multiple audiences?
Don’t forget the thesis: As with any piece of writing in 340, you are pushing to make a fresh, specific argument. Try to find a new take on an issue, and remember that this will not (and should not) come quickly. Let the reader reap the benefits of the hours of thinking and reading you’re going to put into this assignment.
Use sources thoughtfully: You are absolutely welcome to use sources to provide useful and interesting support for your argument, or to represent a counterpoint, or as a lens to view your chosen topic. But don’t info-dump or use sources as a crutch to avoid you putting forth your own ideas and opinions.
Think about yourself: What kind of writer are you? Are you witty? Subversive? Playful? How are you going to get your point across? Through emotion? Logic? Anecdotes? What are your strengths? How can you play to them? Since you are required to write from the perspective of a person who belong to a group, think about how you want to represent that relationship. Are you seeking to critique your group? Are you seeking to speak for your group? Are you seeking to change the perception of your group as a monolith? Make sure you spend time thinking about this before you start drafting.
Remember to be relevant: While you don’t necessarily have to write about whatever went viral this morning, your editor will want to know “Why should I publish this now?” “What is the ‘occasion for writing’?” My hope is that once you’ve written this (or once you’ve revised it for your final portfolio), you might actually try to get it published.