Essay 4: Blindspots in Your Field
Overview: We’ve talked a lot about two topics this semester: rhetoric and implicit bias. For your final essay assignment, you will put the two topics together, writing an essay (with some outside research to back you up) arguing the importance of knowing about one of the concepts or arguments from Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People. You will also use this assignment to further develop your academic research skills. Whatever your topic, your claims must be well-supported for an academic audience.
Assignment: In a 1000-1250 word essay, make an argument about one of the topics from Blindspot for a very specific student audience--students in YOUR field of study or major. (Think about it as rewriting and reframing one of the chapters for a new, specific audience.) Think about why students in your field might need to know about implicit bias, stereotypes, “mindbugs,” or even some of the suggestions Banaji and Greenwald give for “outsmarting” bias.
Keys to Success:
1. Summarize the specific chapter from Blindspot you are writing about for your chosen audience.
2. Make an argument that is relevant and specific to that audience about why they need to understand one of the arguments from Blindspot. If you feel like the whole book is relevant to people in your field, choose the concluding chapter.
3. Choose examples to illustrate your points for that audience.
4. Choose a persona that would be appropriate for that audience.
Your argument is up to you, but your essay must cite at least 2 sources not including Blindspot (At least 1 must be a scholarly journal article from the college library database). Books and newspaper articles may also be good sources of information, but be careful of blogs and websites. Any source you use should pass the CRAAP test--we’ll go over this.
Your sources also must be substantial--essay or newspaper article length. A definition of racism on a website is not a good source for a college essay.
Some sample topics from past students:
- Why We Need More Female Engineering Students
- Hiring Bias in the Film Industry
- Why Nursing Students Need to Understand Stereotyping
- How Funeral Directors Can Outsmart Hiring Bias