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What is the best way to start an essay about what you have learned about race, ethnicity, and immigration?

Keyword(s) :    immigration prejudice racism


By PD Tutor
Best Answer

It is always tricky to answer a question about the best way to approach any type of writing.  The best approach for one person might not be the best approach for another person.  This is especially true if you are writing an essay about your personal perspective, especially on topics that could be divisive such as race, ethnicity, and immigration. In fact, any discourse about bias has the potential to become emotional because people experience a wide range of feelings when asked to confront their own personal bias and, no matter how aware people are or how broadly-based their perspective, they are going to be dealing with some internalized bias. 

In fact, that is exactly how we would probably start any essay where we were asked to discuss what we have learned about race, ethnicity, or immigration.  What was the starting point?  Defining your starting point is going to go a long way to helping the reader understand what you have learned from it.  So, you might want to spend a paragraph or two describing your own background and what types of ideas you had about race, ethnicity, and bias when you entered into the course.  While it may seem embarrassing to acknowledge ideas you once held that you now consider prejudice, the whole point of learning new things is that it allows you to grow.

If that approach seems too personal, you may want to focus on the concept of binary versus non-binary.  From an objective perspective, many people take a binary approach to racism; something or someone is either racist or non-racist.  However, the more you look into topics like race, ethnicity, and immigration, the more nuanced the areas appear.  You could use this contrast to frame your entire paper, which would allow you to write a very strong essay and incorporate what you have learned, without writing personal revelations.

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