I think my professor is discriminating against me. Read my essay please!


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Drjones
May 9, 2003, 12:20 AM
I just got my last essay back from my "Ethnic Studies" class (yes, that one again) and I got NO CREDIT. :what:

I have NEVER gotten such a low grade before on a writing assignment. I have always been an exemplary writer.

I strongly believe that my "professor" took a cheap shot at me because he doesn't approve of my opinions.

I know that there are some educators on this board, as well as many other intelligent people, and I request your assistance.

I am going to post the prompt the "professor" gave us, my essay as given to him, and his remarks.

Please tell me what you think, and of course be honest.

He is going to be so gracious as to allow me to rewrite it, but I honestly do not think I have to, and I don't have the time to. (School is over in two weeks and I've got other classes, believe it or not.)

I am willing to take it to his superiors if necessary.

I'd like to add that we discussed this essay A LOT in class, as most all of the class was very confused and lost on it. In addition, we even spent most of a class session after we turned it in discussing further what he expected from it.

THAT is how vague and ambiguous he is as to what he wants.

Anyhow, enough from me.


Essay Prompt:

Write a 5-page essay discussing the impact of political, legal, economic, and social obstacles experienced by racial/ethnic groups on their economic class, positioin, social status, and political power. Discuss similarities and differences among the groups.

Your analysis must be grounded in, backed up by, or explained in terms of the reading material. Although this paper will utilize the ideas in the readings, the analysis should represent your own articulation and synthesis of ideas in the readings. (Pay very careful attention to this last sentence. ALL of my ideas in my essay are garnered from, and backed up solely by the class reading materials. This last paragraph here is what makes me question his motives in grading my paper as he did. Again, as he said, its supposed to "represent your own articulation and synthesis of ideas in the readings." Since he doesn't agree with my ideas, I think he knocked my grade. His comments make me question his motives a ton too.)


My Essay:
“Perhaps what I value most in Western Culture has been this profound sense of “freedom”…a freedom of movement and choice that is essential to any human being, and certainly essential for any writer” (Hagedorn 44). America is a country of immigrants; it was founded by immigrants and populated by immigrants. Most immigrants came to America in search of something they could not find anywhere else in the world: Freedom and a chance to better their condition. Unfortunately, all immigrants encountered barriers of some sort in their quest for true freedom as well as political, social, economic, and legal equality in this country. In this essay I will examine the impact of various obstacles that have been experienced by different ethnic groups on their current social, political and economic situations.

It is purported that one of the obstacles Native Americans encountered that most hindered their status in this country was that of “exclusion”; a result of which Native Americans were not allowed to become integrated into the major institutions of American society (Pedraza 16). This simply is not true. Beginning in 1882, the United States government began an “Assimilation Policy” that it imposed on many Native Americans. Under this policy, the government removed Indian children to boarding schools where their native language and cultural practices were replaced with those of America (Earth 136). The American “Assimilation Policy” is inclusion and assimilation forced upon the Indians; it is not indicative of “exclusion.” This inclusion that was forced upon Native Americans is further demonstrated by the lack of public education instruction on Native American subjects, which serves to further integrate Native Americans into American life (Churchill 247).

Contrary to the claim that Americans excluded Native Americans, if they have suffered from exclusion in any form, it is because they have chosen to not assimilate or include themselves. This is illustrated by the long history of lawsuits and militant skirmishes between Indian tribes and the United States Government (Earth; all pgs.). The Native Americans do not fight the U.S. Government in order to win “inclusion” for themselves; they fight to “free themselves and the lands upon which they depend from the grip of U.S. and Canadian colonialism” (Earth 146). This statement demonstrates that Native Americans do not seek social, political, legal, or any form of “inclusion” with the United States. They wish to remain separate and to regain sovereignty as nations separate from the United States, but while living within American borders (Churchill 149). There have been many legal battles over sovereignty issues throughout history between the US Government and various Native American groups, and the battles still continue today.

Like all immigrant groups who came to America, European immigrants faced many obstacles. However, in most cases the obstacles the European immigrants encountered served to strengthen and aid them. Anti-German sentiment existed in America from the time of the American Revolution, and culminated in anti-German hysteria during World War I. (Kamphoefner 152 & 160). German immigrants clustered together in cities, which helped them preserve their language, culture, customs, and otherwise protected them from a hostile America (Kamphoefner 154). Some Germans acted very differently from groups such as African Americans and Chinese in that they rapidly urbanized upon first arriving in America, and as they earned enough money they would purchase land and move to rural areas. The Germans proved to be very successful in agriculture, and were the largest immigrant group in agriculture. They were also quite isolated in the rural areas and the least assimilated, and since they chose to remain isolated they were able to preserve their traditional culture, language, and customs without much persecution (Kamphoefner 160). Throughout the twentieth century, most all Germans have assimilated fully into mainstream American society; politically, legally, socially, and economically (Kamphoefner 160).

The Irish immigrated to America in order to escape poverty and famine. The Irish faced obstacles to equality before they even left their home country. Like Native Americans, the Irish had their land taken from them by the English and became increasingly poorer as a result. The English barred the Irish from sending their children to school, they faced severe economic and religious persecution in Ireland, and most Irish first came to America as indentured servants or prisoners (Diner 162-163). Yet despite the many obstacles the Irish faced in Ireland and in America, despite their extreme poverty and the strong anti-Irish sentiment in America, these obstacles only served to help the Irish forge a stronger Irish identity (Diner 166). They banded together in the face of hardship and overcame it. The extreme poverty that plagued many Irish is evident from their amazingly high rates of mortality, alcohol-related deaths, and high infant mortality. Mainstream American hostility toward the Irish persisted well into the twentieth century, as did the fact that a disproportionate amount of Irish were imprisoned and in mental institutions (Diner 169-170). These are the same problems that Blacks face today: disproportionate imprisonment, rampant drug and alcohol abuse, and poverty (Glasser 88-90). However, in spite of the many obstacles the Irish faced, by the early twentieth century many had moved into the middle and upper classes of American Society (Diner 170).

Blacks came to America from Africa much like some Irish did: unwillingly through slavery. Slaves in the US had come from many different African cultures and were charged with the difficult task of adjusting not only to a whole new way of life under slavery, but also to each other; they essentially had to build a new culture. This new culture included a new church, language, value system, economic and political structure (Rawick 62). While slaves were not allowed to legally marry and families were often broken up, they did not breed promiscuously; they did form relationships. With the end of the civil war came the end of slavery, and thousands of freed slaves went to reunite with their family members from whom they had been separated.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, many newly freed blacks migrated from the south in search of a new life. Many moved to the industrialized North, and it proved to be a perfectly timed decision; World War I was under way, and the demand for labor was huge, thus providing many blacks with jobs (Marks 73-74). Like Mexican, Asian, and European Immigrants, blacks faced much racial prejudice in the workplace. Many blacks were denied jobs because of their color, and often the most dangerous, low-paying, and “dirty” jobs were reserved for blacks (Marks 74). Blacks suffered from discrimination and segregation to a much greater degree than any other immigrant group. Discrimination, segregation, and political inequality were largely ended as a result of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s, and blacks have been able to assimilate into mainstream American society in ways that were impossible before the 60’s (Cohen and Kennedy 290-291).

Asian immigrants were drawn to America largely because of the huge labor demand created by the gold rush in the mid-1800’s. Because their reason for immigrating was hard labor, a disproportionate number of Chinese who came into the US were men. Chinese women were also discouraged from immigrating because of patriarchal control in China (Chow 113). In the later part of the nineteenth century, most of the Chinese women that immigrated to the US were either prostitutes, like many Japanese women, or indentured servants, like many Irish immigrants. Similar to German, Irish, and Mexican Immigrants, the Chinese lived clustered together in Chinatowns. The towns were formed as a self-defense mechanism to insulate them from racial conflicts and anti-Chinese hostility, and also served as a support system for the Chinese as well (Chow 114). The Chinese carved a niche for themselves in various “ethnic enterprises” such as laundries, restaurants, and all manner of retail stores. The Chinese viewed business ownership as a symbol of opportunity, just as the Irish viewed politics, and the Germans regarded land ownership (Chow 118, Diner 166, Kamphoefner 155). Despite the hardships they encountered, the Chinese lovingly referred to the United States as “the Gold Mountain” and found a much greater degree of social freedom in America (Chow 118-119). Chinese women, who suffered greatly from exclusionary immigration policies and other barriers, have been experiencing a dramatic increase in their labor force participation rate, which currently surpasses that of white women (Chow 120). Intrestingly, Chinese women did not have to resort to tactics of anger and agitation as advocated by some black women as means to gain inclusion and equality (Lorde 99).

Mexican immigrants have faced many of the same obstacles as European and Asian immigrants. Mexicans, like all other immigrant groups, have had to struggle for full economic, social, legal, and political rights and integration. Mexican Americans gained legal citizenship in 1848 as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and that is where their struggle for equal rights began (Romo 85). From 1930 to 1964, Mexican Americans began a movement to challenge their second-class status. They successfully desegregated schools in Texas and California, and gained broad legal protection with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Romo 85-86). In some New Mexican counties, Mexicans were able to influence the local political process, exactly like Irish and German immigrants did. For the Irish, involvement in politics complemented their climb into the middle class, as it has aided all immigrant groups (Romo 88, Diner 169). Again exactly like Asian and Irish immigrants with their Chinatowns and shanties, Mexicans set up communities called “barrios” which served as support systems on many levels for them (Romo 90). Largely due to gains from the Civil Rights movement and organizations formed since then, voter registration is up among Mexicans, and the number of Mexican American elected officials continues to rise. In Texas alone, the number of elected Mexican American officials has rocketed from 500 in 1973 to 2,000 in 1992 (Romo 96).

Every group that immigrated to America has encountered numerous obstacles to political, social, economic, and legal equality and success. Each immigrant group provoked frenzied bursts of xenophobia from the larger American society (Cohen and Kennedy 193). “Completely by the accident of racism, we have been bound together with people with whom we may or may not have something in common, just because we are ‘black’” (Gates 30). This sentiment applies equally to all groups of immigrants, as each have at one time or another faced persecution based on their ethnic background. Most immigrants came to America in search of a better life, and some came unwillingly. In spite of numerous obstacles, all immigrant groups have achieved levels of success and freedom unparalleled anywhere else in the world.

END.


My professors remarks:

Strati, unfortunately you wrote an essay which does not address the question of how obstacles affected the status of these groups. Instead, you wrote an essay on how these groups have experienced mobility despite obstacles. Thus, for the exception of AFrican Americans, the discussion throughout the entire essay is lacking.

So, no credit.

You have a lot of key info here in terms of the obstacles. If you wish to rewrite it, I will allow you to do so, but make sure to get your facts straight and not define terms in a convenient fashion. (THIS REALLY makes me question his motives in grading my paper!!!!!!)

***(This remark of his below here also is highly questionable, as it sounds exactly like the only reason he knocked my paper is because he doesn't approve of my opinion. As I stated above, ALL of my ideas and statements were backed up by, and "synthesized" from the books.)***

If there is any group that takes pride in, and has fought to be considered Americans, its native americans. There's probably more U.S. Flags per capita among native americans than any other group. Strange, huh? ***(See, he disagrees with my opinion set forth in my essay.)***


This is an ethnic studies class, one set upu to teach students the obstacles encountered by people of color and their impact. This essay in many ways glosses over taht fact. You make a good argument but you also neglect much of the info in Schneider (1997) and Cohen and Kennedy (2000). (I am not sure what the prof. is referring to here, I'll have to check.)

Regardless, there's the need to do the assignment. Don't dismay, Strati. You are an above-average writer, exemplary in fact. What's missing is the assignment.


END.


If you are still with me, you are awesome.

I would really appreciate any and all input as to what you think;

-Did I fulfill the guidlines stated in the essay prompt?

-Pay special attention to his remarks that I highlighted. I believe they show his motives.

Anyhow, of course be blunt and honest.

If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, and I'll redo the essay. I just want your opinions before I confront him.

Regardless, I REALLY don't think I deserved absolutely ZERO credit.


Thank you SO much.

Drjones

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Jerrywahid
May 9, 2003, 12:34 AM
***Strati, unfortunately you wrote an essay which does not address the question of how obstacles affected the status of these groups. Instead, you wrote an essay on how these groups have experienced mobility despite obstacles. Thus, for the exception of AFrican Americans, the discussion throughout the entire essay is lacking.***

This seems to be a contradictory statement. Mobility and status seem like they would be very related. ZERO credit is rediculous. You are an excellent writer. I didn't read your whole essay but I will try to get around to reading it in full tomorrow. I think you are getting shafted here. Good luck...If you feel like you wrote a good essay that you deserve more than zero credit for (it seems obvious that you are proud of your work) and that he is trying to get you to conform to his standards, you should take it to someone in a position of authority. Have that person make a decision. Anyway...I hope this is at all helpful.

Jerry

Drjones
May 9, 2003, 12:40 AM
Thank you for your input, Jerry and WELCOME to THR!!!

I would much appreciate it if you could read my essay and tell me what you think. (Perhaps copy and paste it into word, then print it out...easier on the eyes. :) )

I don't mean to brag at all about my writing.

I feel that I am a good writer, but mostly because I've always done well on writing assignments.

In fact, I was quite taken aback by the profs remark that I am "an exemplary writer."

Anyway, I just don't want to seem boastful, though I do think the prof is totally out of line with his grade he gave me.

Jerrywahid
May 9, 2003, 12:47 AM
Why do you think he is taking out his own political beliefs on you? I don't see anything very controversial in your essay. Are you supposed to be writing about how you feel sorry for minority groups or something? It seems like one of the major aspects of your essay is the idea that over time sentiments of minority resentment and oppression diminish. Also, as stated in your closing sentence, life here is much better for minorities than anywhere else. Maybe that's what he doesn't like. Your honest appreciation for your country and the freedom people have to make their own choices.

Jerrywahid
May 9, 2003, 01:00 AM
Ok...I read it. I don't see what your instrustor is talking about really. It seems to me that in each paragraph you analyze obstacles for each minority group and the effects of those obstacles.
***Discrimination, segregation, and political inequality were largely ended as a result of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s, and blacks have been able to assimilate into mainstream American society in ways that were impossible before the 60’s (Cohen and Kennedy 290-291).***

Maybe he doesn't like this. I don't entirely agree with the first part of this statement either but you have a right to say whatever you want. If he doesn't like this statement he should take issue with it instead of some roundabout demand for you to dilute your essay.

grampster
May 9, 2003, 02:12 AM
Drjones,

Appears to me the prof was asking for your opinion, backed up, with respect to what impact did the obstacles that confronted ethnic groups, in the end, have upon the the total group. Vague question in my opinion in that he did not do a good job of specifically asking the question properly. But.....

You described and defined generally and in some detail the groups and the obstacles, then concluded that they overcame them and in many cases were assimilated. (That is the mobility the prof observed) But it is obvious, even to the casual observer that not all have been assimilated, or have even wanted to assimilate. So, the question you need to answer might be..."was it the obstacles that caused some of them to lose hope or decide not to assimilate?" Or perhaps "were the obstacles merely a catylist for them to cluster together and attempt to maintain a better piece of the status quo that they abandoned in coming to the USA." In other words there were "some things" that caused them to leave their homeland (in the case of the native americans it was settlers and military) and in so doing they avoided the things that motivated them to move. Other obstacles became apparent here, but some ethnic immigrants also found that in the freedom the USA represents, they could decide not to deal with the new obstacle in that they were satisfied to live within their old culture in a new place, and could do so in relative safety and happiness compared to their former lot. The question is did the obstacles cause them to make that decision, or were the obstacles merely a thing that could be ignored because we are a free society. (If I am making myself clear)
So....I guess I would rewrite the essay by ADDING to it by making some conclusions with respect to the ethnic groups you describe. I would do it in this way....That because of the obstacles you described some of each group A. elevated their lot through assimilation in spite of the obstacles and no longer were identified as ethnics, but in fact became Americans. B. Recognized the obstacles, but were free to ignore them in America and merely transplanted their old culture to a new place. C. Allowed themselves for some reason (perhaps define a few reasons) to be overwhelmed or embittered by the obstacles and found themselves in a multigenerational new culture of misery and poverty that they in fact created because of the obstacles, perhaps being helped along by left wing liberal government programs and the failure of same. D. Created a new culture of reactionary hyphenated-Americans who seek to fractionalize our indivisibleness because of a belief that America is not a melting pot but rather a multicultural society that "celebrates" diversity, while also "celebrating" incusiveness, which, it seems to me to be contradictory)
I agree with your prof that you did a fine job insofar as you went. But you did not answer the question of what did the obstacles mean specifically not generally to each group. I hope the afformentioned suggestions help you get a grasp of what he was asking you for. I think he wants you to bash America because "we" create the obstacles. (some truth in that) but I think you can turn it around on him and make a case that obstacles give the opportunity for "choice". Libs are always going on about "choice" aren't they?
He is giving you a perfect opportunity to make an intellectual case that freedom allows people to make choices and that they don't always make the choice that some left wing know it all believes it ought to be. Freedom is about individual choices and then living with the ramifications of those choices without the interference of outsiders or having to deal with the choice that they impose upon you. (another obstacle?)


Cordially,
Grampster

Graystar
May 9, 2003, 03:00 AM
Well, I think your professor's initial comments are correct. But I'm not letting him off the hook so easily.

First, his essay assignment is way too broad. I can see why there was so much discussion on this essay. From my own interpretation of the assignment, it's pretty clear what is asked. However, I don't see how to do it without writing an entire book. It definitely should have been more narrow in scope.

That said, I would have expected a discussion of experience vs. impact. For example, something like "in many urban area the white majorities have used their political clout to affect redistricting, causing minority groups to have disproportionately lower representation in local government. The result is that predominately minority areas get fewer services, such as police and school services." So in this example we have a political experience, and political and social impacts of that experience.

The impact part is what's missing in your essay. You state obstacles, but then close it up with (for example) "Throughout the twentieth century, most all Germans have assimilated fully into mainstream American society; politically, legally, socially, and economically." To me, that doesn't describe an experience and its impact.

I think that your professor's comment "but make sure to get your facts straight and not define terms in a convenient fashion." relates to excerpts such as "In spite of numerous obstacles, all immigrant groups have achieved levels of success and freedom unparalleled anywhere else in the world." It sounds nice, but there are no facts in there.

I don't know enough to really comment on his other remarks. But overall I'd say you do need to demonstrate some cause and effect in there in order to satisfy the essay's requirements.

tyme
May 9, 2003, 03:42 AM
I'd first like to say that I'm in no way qualified to grade your essay; I think that's quite harsh grading unless prior assignments in the course indicated that the prof expected exacting adherence to the question at hand.

Strati, unfortunately you wrote an essay which does not address the question of how obstacles affected the status of these groups. Instead, you wrote an essay on how these groups have experienced mobility despite obstacles. Thus, for the exception of AFrican Americans, the discussion throughout the entire essay is lacking.

So, no credit.
I think I sort of see the prof's point. You point out ways in which various cultures have overcome obstacles or how there were not really many obstacles at all, or how they were self-inflicted. The Prof seems to have wanted a more negative approach, citing various obstacles and then explaining, at least historically, the negative effects those obstacles had on the various ethnic groups.

If there is any group that takes pride in, and has fought to be considered Americans, its native americans. There's probably more U.S. Flags per capita among native americans than any other group. Strange, huh?
If you want to have a bit of fun, you could write a "flag != patriotism" response to that comment, making sure it's dripping with vitriol.

You may want to separate the issue of Native Americans in the U.S. and the hurdles they've faced from Native Americans on Reservations and the hurdles they've faced.

Just to annoy him, you could use the sociopolitical isolation of Indian Reservations as an example of the results of the obstacles native americans have faced over the past few centuries, and as an example of some less-than-patriotic Native Americans.

There's no timeframe specified either, so you could go dig back and pick out historical consequences like the horrific civil rights struggle in the courts that african americans endured during the mid-20th, the unmentionable horror of japanese americans' internment, etc. etc., without having to deal with the fact that current effects of past discrimination/stigma/hurdles in the path of particular ethnic groups may be overrated, may not exist, may be reactionary, etc. I'm not sure whether those examples fit in with the course.

Given the hindsight the prof's response offers, I'd say he wants you to focus on the negative aspects of the struggle rather than the (mostly) positive [current] results, since that's what you did in the case of blacks and he liked it.

In short, I think after thinking it through I disagree with grampster; your opinion is just that current hurdles are mostly nonexistant, and the prof wanted your analysis of past hurdles that actually tripped up various ethnic groups. The question was poorly worded. Accept that this prof might be really picky or might just be an idiot, and rewrite the paper focusing on the negative aspects.

Kaylee
May 9, 2003, 03:51 AM
I'll agree with the above -- the assignment itself is too broad to get any more than a **very** superficial paper. Hard to focus.
Thus, I'll admit I'm not quite certain what your theme is myself.

I *think* it is as follows: "although external obstacles affected given groups socio-economic status, the main determinant was a group's willingness and ability to assimilate into the dominant culture."

If that's the case, I'd have liked to see your theme stated plainly, and backed up explicitly from the materials and outside references (the latter being necessary when dealing with a prof with an agenda who also defines the reading list).

As it is... it looks kinda like you hemmed and hawed on the topic question given.. not an answer to the question he posed, and not a direct confrontation with proof, but rather a "sorta answer."

Other than that.. what grampster said. He sounds smart. :)

-K

PS- I *will* say that given my (admittedly limited) exposure to American Indian culture, I think your prof's right on the patriotism thing. I don't know if you've ever been to a pow-wow, but you'll see more respect for US veterans there than you will at most 4th of July celebrations back in suburbia.

Seeker
May 9, 2003, 03:53 AM
does not address the question of how obstacles affected the status of these groups. Instead, you wrote an essay on how these groups have experienced mobility despite obstacles.

A stream encounters rocks.
Over time the stream wears down the rocks,
but the rock does change the course of the stream.

savvy?

R127
May 9, 2003, 04:19 AM
It's not just an education, it's a bunch of cr@p! ;)

"Welcome to indoctrination 101, students. In this class we will be reprogramming you into a pliable drone."

Your assignment, and the class itself, was completely bogus. From the very words your professor chose to describe your assignment it is abundantly clear what the real agenda at work here is.

"Ignore the rest of the world! Read only this specially prepared propaganda! Internalize and regurgitate the materials you are presented with!"

What a crock. If you don't mind my asking, how old are you? Things weren't this bad even when I was in school...

Your essay was great. You were given weak materials, a vague task, you covered all the bases and it was well written. You get at least a B in my book. However this is a new era. This is doublespeak. Since you are a young man with independent spirit and strength of mind your will was not easily molded, therefore you fail the hidden assignment.

I can tell from your words you are very intelligent. I'm going to be conservative and guess that if you were tested you'd have an iq of around 120. That puts you in the, oh, top 7% of the population. You've got heart, too. You'll get some foolish ideas once in a while, occassionally somebody will tell you something that sounds like it makes a lot of sense, but you are a poor canidate for indoctrination. As a consequence you will never meet their standards so the best you can hope for is to just slip through the cracks. Talk to your "teacher," get detailed and specific instructions, follow them out to the letter, accept a passing grade and charlie mike. Every day that goes by is one more day they can't mess with you, you get that little scrap of paper that says you are worthy of gainful employment and enter the relative freedom of normal human adult working life. Assimilation is for Borgs.

"We are the Government. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

For you to have to hear that means you're doing all right, Drjones. If I were you, I'd find my roots and learn about my ancestral culture/s. I mean your real roots, not this mythical "white race" garbage, if it applies. Find your tribe and your kinsmen, learn your family history. Read up on the Constitution and the American Revolution. Read about other cultures, too. Hey, I have a pet favorite non-ancestral culture, that's fine. Just know and take pride in your own roots. Being pro-one-thing doesn't mean you're anti-anything, and if there is something you don't like, well, that's your right.

Of course, you already understand all that or you would have aced that propaganda assignment. Whatever differences we may have in points of view or ethnic background, I hope to break bread and raise a glass with you in more enlightened times. Hang in there, brother.

Drjones
May 9, 2003, 04:20 AM
Ladies and gentlemen:

I am positively amazed at the time you obviously spent on your responses.

A heartfelt "thank you."

You people rock.


:D

jmbg29
May 9, 2003, 04:20 AM
Listen to what your "professor" has to say, at the appropriate time parrot back to him exactly what he said, and quickly forget that you paid money to take something as laughably irrelevant as something called "Ethnic Studies".

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :scrutiny: :uhoh: :barf:

Savvy?

Drjones
May 9, 2003, 04:23 AM
R127:

Tears are in my eyes.

Honestly.

Thank you.

I am 22 and am very proud to be Greek in decent.

I don't even need to mention the people with whom I share the great honor of also being called "Greek."

Drjones
May 9, 2003, 04:25 AM
R127:

Sorry, just saw the last line of your post.

I live in CA. I do hope you are near, as I would be honored to meet you too.

BrokenPaw
May 9, 2003, 11:33 AM
Drjones,

Your paper was very well-written. Your language is clear and precise, and you make your points well. Most of your points are backed up with citations (which I'll assume are valid, since I don't have your volume of research material on the matter ;) ).

Your professor sounds very much like one I had years ago for Honors English at Virginia Tech. The grade for that course was based entirely upon seven papers we were to write on various subjects. Each of these papers went through several revisions and were edited and reviewed in class by small groups of students. Each of my papers was given highest marks by the peer-review groups (none of which counted toward the grade, but indicated that I wasn't just spouting drivel). Each of my papers (all 7 of them) was returned by the professor marked "Incomplete. Redo."

When I asked him about it, the first time, he told me my conclusions were wrong, even though every point in my paper was backed up with citations from our assigned reading material. He told me that I'd not get credit for the paper until I changed my written opinion to match the one he had expressed in class lectures. He was the department chair, so I didn't feel like I had any recourse (which I did, of course, but I didn't think clearly about it at the time).

I was quite headstrong and arrogant at the time[0], and I was righteously convinced that he had violated my intellectual freedom by trying to make me submit to his opinion. I refused to change my opinions to match his. I failed that class, and (inexplicably) every other english class I ever took at VaTech. That was enough to get me involuntarily disenrolled from the school, halfway through my third year.

I guess the point I am making is this: pick your battles. If fighting this guy to the mat is important to you, then do it. If you feel that he has stepped out of ethical bounds by doing what he did, fight him on it. But. You have to be absolutely sure that you're in the right, if you decide to fight this. Because if you go over the professor's head, and the Dean (or whomever you appeal to) determines that the professor is correct, and that you did not fulfill the assignment, you're still not going to get credit, plus the professor's (however small) goodwill toward you will be gone, because you tried to make him look bad to a superior. Your grade will suffer.

I'm not suggesting that you cop out. But you need to think long and hard about (a) how sure you are that you fulfilled the assignment to the letter (which is a very difficult to determine, because of the vagueness of the assignement itself -- this works to your professor's advantage), and (b) what will it cost you to swallow your outrage and give him what he wants, so that you get a decent grade.

If you don't care that much about the grade, go after him. If this is a make-or-break class for you, don't; the situation is too murky to guess at what the outcome would be.

My opinions. Worth what you paid for them. :)

-BP

[0] A situation which has been corrected; I am now the very model of forbearance and humility, as you can tell. :D

Oleg Volk
May 9, 2003, 11:51 AM
Well-written and interesting paper. I'd do a "re-write" by adding info to the existing paper...submit it for re-grading while taking copies to the school dean and explaining that you are being persecuted by a person not fit to teach. Every year, most schools here end up with at least one and sometimes several professors having to leave due to incompetence. The least you can do is cost yours his job or, at a minimum, some grey hairs.

"No prisoners!" (T.E. Lawrence) ;)

cordex
May 9, 2003, 11:59 AM
Doc,
Just me, but I'd very loudly complain about the course - though probably not in class. I'd approach my guidance counselor and speak with them about it and send an extremely polite but critical letter to the dean of your school complaining about the class and the professor. If you can, rewrite the paper just like your prof wants. He's not important but your grade may be. At the end of the semester you get to fill out those class evaluation forms, right? Make sure you express your frustrations at length there.

I'm sure you've answered this before, but was the class really required? You have my sincere condolences.

bogie
May 9, 2003, 12:14 PM
Suggestion: Print out the paper as the prof saw it, and ask for a meeting with his boss. Take a copy of the assignment with you. Ask his boss for an opinion on the paper. Then show him the one with the grade on it. Explain that you're PAYING to learn, etc...

Oleg Volk
May 9, 2003, 12:27 PM
bogie speaks truly.

TallPine
May 9, 2003, 12:51 PM
Drjones, been there and done that ;)

I got off a little easier - only lost a full letter grade for not reaching the right conclusions. Gee, those profs must have hated us older "non-traditional" students (like a 37 yo freshman).

In the business and computer departments, we referred to these types of classes (like ethnic studies) as the "sit around in a circle and talk about your feelings" classes. :)

Anyway ...
the analysis should represent your own articulation and synthesis of ideas in the readings.
Pretty clear to me that this means that he wants to make sure that you have been totally suckered into the opinions that he wants (requires) you to believe.

Is this a required class, or just a general studies credit?

Okay, if you want to have some fun , here's a suggestion:

Rewrite the assiginment, describing at great length how "obstacles affected the status of these groups" - for the worse of course. How, for instance, these groups have been permanently harmed by the obstacles and how they cannot possibly ever overcome these obstacles without "help" ... pour it on, I am talking about satire here - see how good you can really write. ;) Make up some false statistics, cite some false sources, and throw in a few spelling and gramatical errors to boot - I bet he will love it! Of course, any thinking person would recognize your paper as a joke, but your prof ... :rolleyes:

The crew of the USS Pueblo was tortured to write confessions, so they did - confessions so outlandish that no one in America would believe them, but the North Koreans ate it up.

Whatever you do, remember that your main goal is to graduate, get a good job, and make lots of money to buy guns with.

Non illegitamus carborundum - don't let the bastards grind you down

CZ-75
May 9, 2003, 01:46 PM
I read your essay last night and responded, but my browser ate it when THR's server timed out.

My first comment is that your essay is kinda general and you don't necessarily support your conclusions, though, considering the scope of the assignment, that's understandable.

Next, I think you should trash the original and start over. Hard I know, but sometimes trying to make something work is harder than a fresh start. Never become too fond of a paper or idea. I think that your essay is trying to show how these groups overcame their situations (albeit w/ minimal support other than your assertions), when, looking at the professor's mandate on the topic, I think he only wants you to show the problems faced by ethnic/racial groups and the similarities/dissimilarities of the effects of these problems - cause and effect. This is "doom and gloom," I know, but this is his intent - to lead you to see oppression and hopelessness everywhere.

However, it isn't your job to show a positive outcome or how these groups overcame, only to do as he asks and get the grade. You've already spent a good portion of the semester innoculating the minds of your classmates with reason, so you can compromise on principle on this assignment to please him. It isn't too uncommon for these "education" types to like to exercise their will over their students, particularly troublesome, to them, ones. Having you regurgitate his ideology is what he wants, I expect to subjugate you and make you show contrition.

As to the actual writing, I'd try to limit the number of groups I discussed, since you should, from his mandate, discuss social, economic, legal and political obstacles for each group. It wouldn't hurt if you can lump related categories like legal and political together; same for social and economic. This lumping could save time.

As to the effects of each obstacle, his original prompt contains some redundancy to my way of thinking. Social status and position are distinct how? I'd reduce his effects to those affecting economic and social status, and political power. It wouldn't hurt to show a general relationship between social class, income (economics), and ultimately political power.

I'd probably "synthesize" the similarities in one paragraph, and the dissimilarities in another. You might show how the groups you picked are overcoming the obstacles for a conclusion.

Seminole
May 9, 2003, 03:38 PM
Drjones:

A few pointers from a college professor:

First, don't complain to his "superiors" (as you put it). In most cases, the truth is that--much like a judge in a courtroom--a professor really has no superiors when it comes to how a class is actually run. Academic freedom being what it is in this country, unless a professor plainly violates university policy or the sylabus he has written for the class, no one can tell him what to do or not do. Complaining about it is not going to do you any good and could have negative consequences.

Second, he could have just failed you. He didn't. Take advantage of the opportunity and re-write the assignment. It is not that extensive or time-consuming and you can probably use much of what you already wrote.

Third (and probably most important) if you don't understand his comments on the paper he returned to you, go talk to HIM about what his intention is for this assignment and how you can best fulfill it. What a bunch of people on an internet discussion board think makes absolutely no difference. What your professor thinks is what you need to understand. Besides, most college faculty absolutely love to have students take advantage of their office hours and actually talk to them outside of class. Listen closely to him, ask intelligent questions and don't take a confrontational tone. Tell him you appreciate the chance to re-write the assignment and stress that you really do want to do well on it, which is why you wanted to get absolutely clear in your mind what he expects and how he thinks you ought to go about re-writing it.

Now (in order to make this thread gun-related), as a gun enthusiast, one of the things I think you ought to mention in your re-write is the obstacles that Jim Crow laws represented to African-Americans--particularly as relates to firearms! :evil:

Dex Sinister
May 9, 2003, 04:51 PM
DrJones:

Those "ethnic studies" requirements are ridiculous, aren't they?

Given your instructor’s comments, while it may be true that he is failing to be gracious (possibly because of divergent political stance,) I think it is also true that you unintentionally bypassed his intended assignment, thus resulting in no grade.

It seems obvious that he wants a paper focused on how the rocks in the stream-bed affected the path of the stream, not an essay saying “the stream successfully reached the sea,” which is where yours is more focused.

Write a 5-page essay discussing the impact of political, legal, economic, and social obstacles experienced by racial/ethnic groups on their economic class, position, social status, and political power. Discuss similarities and differences among the groups.

To take a CA example related to guns, the current CA CCW permitting system has racist origins, and was obviously designed, [while in superficially “neutral” language,] to target and disarm Mexican and Asian immigrants. Part of the most obvious discrimination was the section, struck down by the CA supreme court [in the ’60’s?] that treated first offences by aliens [non-citizens] as felonies, while treating first offences by white citizens as misdemeanors.

Another example was the legal prohibition in CA [also killed in the 50-60’s?] against testimony by Asians against whites in court, making it nearly impossible for an Asian to bring criminal charges against whites.

To argue your professor’s apparent side, it is simply not possible that these laws had no effect on the political, legal, and economic status of Mexican and Asian immigrants, regardless of whether they later surmounted the problems or not.

Not saying that his position is valid, but it sounds as if you could fulfill his requirements for the paper without compromising your position by merely citing factual things, i.e., “during the period when Jim Crow laws existed in the south, blacks were affected because they were legally restrained from using the same restrooms as whites, thus sometimes making it impossible for them to use the restrooms for very extended periods of time on bus trips, unless the facility the bus stopped at had both white and black restrooms. If blacks used white restrooms, they could be arrested, regardless of the personal agony that they were in as a result of being forced to hold their bodily wastes.”

Such statements are both historically true, and non-political.

Hope that helps,

Dex http://www.gamers-forums.com/smilies/contrib/ruinkai/FIREdevil.gif

Felonious Monk
May 9, 2003, 04:59 PM
drjones,

You have been given great advice, which I will not try to embellish. Your essay is a B to B- effort at minimum, if there weren't ulterior motives.

The ONLY thing I would say to you is:
IF you are going to take the advice of Seminole--If you don't understand his comments on the paper he returned to you, go talk to HIM about what his intention is for this assignment and how you can best fulfill it. What a bunch of people on an internet discussion board think makes absolutely no difference. What your professor thinks is what you need to understand.--DO NOT let that quench the fire in your belly for independent thought, thinking that you MUST become a cog in the wheel. Yeah, you kinda have to "play the game". But you NEVER have to sell your soul to the idiots running the show.

Seminole
May 9, 2003, 05:10 PM
Felonius Monk:
--DO NOT let that quench the fire in your belly for independent thought, thinking that you MUST become a cog in the wheel. Yeah, you kinda have to "play the game". But you NEVER have to sell your soul to the idiots running the show.

Well put!

Double Naught Spy
May 9, 2003, 06:26 PM
Drjones, I never had you figured for a victim mentality, but maybe I was wrong. This is evident in the fact that you think you are being discriminated against by a professor because you didn't get credit and you attribute this to your perception that it is because he has a different opinion. Just because you don't come out on the high end does not mean you have been discrimated against. It matters ZERO that you have been such a good writer in the past. This issue does not seem to pertain to your writing skills, but your coverage of the subject matter. Sure enough, you seem to write fine, but that doesn't mean you completely the project correctly. Simply put, and as noted here, the major difference of opinion between you and the prof is that you apparently did not complete the assignment properly. In no way is the prof suggesting your opinion on the matter is wrong, just incomplete. While ethics profs may be some really unique folks, they are VERY used to dealing with diverging opinions. In fact, the whole body of ethics continually deals wth differences of opinion concerning what is or is not ethical for a given situation, above the status quo, such as written law.

With all that said, this forum is not the place to post your term paper and solicit comments in regard to your perceived mistreatment by the professor. You seriously need to consult your student handbook and follow the appropriate procedures if you think the prof needs to be dealt with. More than likely, if you have dealt with the prof, the next step will be the department chair, then ombudsman or maybe VP of student affairs.

TallPine
May 9, 2003, 06:28 PM
most college faculty absolutely love to have students take advantage of their office hours and actually talk to them outside of class

Yeah, I have noticed that also - it seems to turn their key somehow. Must be the "Maytag repairman" syndrome.

I had one prof that would fail you if you didn't come to see him in his office at least once. His office looked like a scene out of some comedy movie - every surface was piled several feet deep with books and papers, and he had to re-arrange things to find some kind of place for me to sit down.

Seminole
May 9, 2003, 06:49 PM
TallPine

I had one prof that would fail you if you didn't come to see him in his office at least once. His office looked like a scene out of some comedy movie - every surface was piled several feet deep with books and papers, and he had to re-arrange things to find some kind of place for me to sit down.

That's odd--I don't remember ever having a student named TallPine. . . . :D

But I'll have my office looking better next week--after finals are over.

Hkmp5sd
May 9, 2003, 06:51 PM
Strati, unfortunately you wrote an essay which does not address the question of how obstacles affected the status of these groups. Instead, you wrote an essay on how these groups have experienced mobility despite obstacles.

How does one write of how groups overcame obstacles without simultaneously stating how those obstacles effected the status of the group? It seems to me that by describing the process and results of overcoming the obstacles, you have in fact described the effects those obstacles had on that group.

DRC
May 9, 2003, 07:52 PM
Hello,

I read your essay and will parrot others in saying it is very well written. You should be proud of it, however....:) Your essay will only garner a passing score if read and graded by someone with less bias in favor of oppression as a virtue. Sorry dude, if you want a passing grade you will have to spew the garbage the prof wants, but how ironic it will be if you do just that and viola` you get a perfect score ;)

I agree with you whole heartedly, I really do but here's what will happen. You will have to file a grievence with the Board of Regence in your area, present them with the information to justify your complaint, then (after waiting 6 months to a year) they will get back to you with any clarifications needed to proceed further. Then after another waiting period they will bring this to the attention of the prof at which point he will rebut you with his version and it will come down to a he said/he said scenario and it will fall in favor of the prof every time.

So my suggestion is spew like no ones ever spewed before to get the grade. Once you have the grade, go to your prof and tell him how many times you had to retch while writing this obviously biased drivel in order to pass his liberal arts class. And then tell him you're going to sterilize yourself after handling such waste. You might also suggest that he might need abdominal plexi plasti to take care of that rectal cranial inversion problem he has :)

Seriously though, do yourself a favor and write it the way it will be accept by the prof. You don't have to agree with it, nor do I think you will, but if you need the grade then do it, get through the class and move on. Is it worth the fight? Yes, but only if you have nothing better to do ;)

Take care big guy,

DRC

txgolfer45
May 9, 2003, 08:50 PM
drjones,

I had a similar experience with a Rhetoric class my freshman year in college. It was widely known as the freshman flunkout class.

Everyone in the class was struggling to understand what the instructor wanted. For one paper, I had an upperclassman, who was majoring in English and ended up graduating with honors, help me with one of the papers. He thought for sure I should get an A on the paper. It came back a C minus. I got my C for the semester and moved on.

Scott

atek3
May 9, 2003, 10:02 PM
It stinks sometimes being in classes where "wrong" opinions are penalized. I'm lucky, as a chem major there isn't a whole lot to disagree w/ "The Law of Mass action is bunkem!" :) I don't think so. However the classes I've been required to take such as environmental "science" 10, geez, what a load of pap. The lectures are so obnoxious, I get to listen for an hour where my professor, who makes Gore look conservative by the way, rants about the need for more laws and regulations to fix the old laws and regulations.
I'll never forget, she was ranting about crop overproduction and how it hurts the environment so we need to cut production with regulations. So I walk up to her and say you know, maybe if we ended over a hundred billion dollars in farm subsidies people might switch their land to more efficient uses. She just stared at me like a deer in headlights. :banghead:
Markets work.

So next we had a paper on bjorn lomborgs hated tract "the skeptical environmentalist". unfortunately, I didn't have 10 hours to do the research to defend it, so I wrote what they wanted to hear. I felt dirty, but whatever :)

atek3

Ryder
May 9, 2003, 10:04 PM
When I took college the Zero grade was reserved for not handing in a paper. The classes I took were very technical and half the class earned their zeros. I always had something to hand in even if I knew it was wrong. Sometimes I was very happy to get partial credit!

I'd say a zero grade for the paper you handed in is an injustice.

Drjones
May 10, 2003, 12:50 AM
Gentlemen, thank you again for your input.

To touch on a few things people have said:

I'm going to meet with him before I do anything.

I still don't believe, and a lot of you back me up, that I deserved that grade.

Regardless, if he insists on me rewriting it, fine. I suppose I will.

I guess. Or I might go to his superior. I still need to think it through.

I'll throw this out there for you people to chew on, since someone mentioned the Board of Regents.

The man I work for is on the California State University Board of Trustees. I go to California State University, Sacramento.

His father is a HUGE benefactor for my school. He just gave a collection of books to our school worth $7 million, and for our University's 50th anniversary, he chaired a committe to raise $50 million. He ended up raising $54 mil.

I am considering filing a formal complaint, not so much because of this essay, but because he uses the class as a platform to spout his political beliefs, among many other problems with him.

Some of you may have seen my past threads here about him and his class. He was, up until a short while ago, VERY fond of ranting on and on about the war in Iraq. (He is against it, need I say)

He made NO attempt whatsoever to relate it to race relations/ethnic studies.
Except for when he said that "part of the reason we justify bombing those people is because they are brown."

ANYHOW, given who I know, if I take this to the higher-ups, he's gonna lose and lose big.

:neener:

CZ-75
May 10, 2003, 12:56 AM
I am considering filing a formal complaint, not so much because of this essay, but because he uses the class as a platform to spout his political beliefs, among many other problems with him.


Get your grade first.

Drjones
May 10, 2003, 01:11 AM
Get your grade first.

Of course.

c_yeager
May 10, 2003, 09:41 AM
I really hate to say this. But, one thing i learned in college is that its not always worth fighting things out. Sometimes you just need to swallow your pride and parrot the proffesors lecture back at him in order to get a good grade. it sounds to me like this is a required course. As such i thinks its pretty safe to say that you arent going to learn anything of value in it anyways. This kind of class DOES teach you an important lesson though. It teaches you how to deal with over inflated egos in a position of power. Its a lesson that your going to need to use for the rest of your life. My suggestion, redo the paper exactly the way he wants it and smile when you turn it in. After you get your good grade and you are assured of never having to take another class taught by this guy THEN and ONLY then take the paper to his boss and see what they think. Or maybe take it to the school paper and see what THEY think of his grading scheme.

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