Identify historical and contemporary influences of discrimination in American culture.

By successfully completing this assignment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assignment criteria:

  • Competency 1: Describe theoretical ideas of power in relation to policy.
    • Locate a valid current event that is appropriate and sociological in scope.
    • Apply major sociological perspectives by summarizing the article or program.
    • Compare the differences between majority and minority groups.
  • Competency 2: Identify historical and contemporary influences of discrimination in American culture.
    • Characterize and observe how different social groups are represented in news and entertainment media.
  • Competency 4: Analyze how laws are applied based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, and social class.
    • Demonstrate the relationship between the theories, policies, and concepts of sociology.
  • Competency 5: Apply diversity strategies in professional, educational, and personal contexts.
    • Identify areas for social groups to improve social class or status.
  • Competency 6: Communicate effectively in a variety of formats.
    • State and support a clear central idea in a coherently organized document.
    • Use the accepted form and style of the field.
    • Follow conventional rules for style, format, grammar, usage, and mechanics.
    • Respect the dignity, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and individuality of other people.

For this assignment, choose one news media program or article that deals with an issue related to the variables we are exploring in this course: race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, or social class. Examples of acceptable media include a newspaper article, a radio program, or a local or national television news segment. These can be obtained via the Capella library or online. Feel free to choose a topic that is either domestic or global in content as long as it comes from a reputable news source, such as a local or national newspaper, CNN, Reuters, National Public Radio, BBC, and so on.

Your paper should be written in essay form. Include the following components in your essay:

  1. Briefly, in one or two paragraphs, summarize the main events or issues in your article. Clarify how the event or issue connects to this course.
  2. Compare and contrast how minority and dominant groups are portrayed in your chosen media article or program. Think about how your article or program demonstrates this dominant/minority group differentiation. For example, is there differentiation along racial or ethnic lines or other variables, such as gender or social class?
  3. Of the theories covered so far in the course, which seem most appropriate to understanding the events in your chosen article? Why? Include relevant examples from the article or program to illustrate your points. Examples of theories include Marx’s and Weber’s theories of inequality, Park’s race relations cycle, Gordon’s theory of assimilation, human capital theory, scapegoat hypothesis, theory of authoritarian personality, split labor market theory, the contact hypothesis, the Noel hypothesis, the Blauner hypothesis, and the culture of poverty theory.
  4. Choose one of the following to discuss (choose which is appropriate for your chosen article):
    1. Discuss how one or more of Merton’s four categories of prejudice and discrimination (from the Merton’s Typology of Prejudice and Discrimination interactive in Unit 3) apply to the article or program you chose.
    2. Explain which of the types of racial and ethnic group relations explained in Chapter 2 of the Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Class text (assimilation, pluralism, separatism, and revolution) best describes how race and ethnic relations are presented in your media program or article.
  5. In your conclusion (one paragraph), suggest a viable strategy for improving relationships among the groups that are portrayed in your news article or program.

REQUIREMENTS

  • Provide a summary of the news article or program chosen and its relevance to the course.
  • Discuss how dominant and minority groups are portrayed.
  • Apply one of the theories covered in the course to the content of your news article or program.
  • Discuss Merton’s categories of prejudice and discrimination or the patterns of racial and ethnic group relations.
  • Include a title page and a reference page in APA format. The reference list should include full APA-formatted citations of the news article or media program, along with the course text or other course resources used.
  • Ensure the paper length is 3–4 pages.

Note: Your instructor may also use the Writing Feedback Tool to provide feedback on your writing. In the tool, click on the linked resources for helpful writing information.

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