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Discrimination and the Arts Essay

1. W.E.B Du Bois makes a strong and persuasive argument about “double consciousness” and racial struggle in America. ANSWER THIS QUESTION: Do you agree that “art”—broadly defined—can be an antidote or a form of resistance against certain kinds of discrimination? 2. Take a position on this issue by first exploring at least three of our course texts, starting with Du Bois and leading through several of our other readings (Martin Luther King, Alice Walker, bell hooks, or any of the other writers we’ve read in this unit or the previous unit on disability).

IN OTHER WORDS, you must use Du Bois and at least two other authors in Cultural Conversations. Is there, for example, an art to the practice of nonviolence such as King describes, or to the use of language discussed in Linton and Slackjaw? 3. Ultimately, your exploration of these connected ideas should lead to a clear position of your own, and you must demonstrate in this paper that you can synthesize a number of differing ideas in the pursuit of your own argument. We will discuss strategies to do so in class. 4. Provide an example from contemporary culture of people resisting (or not resisting) discrimination.

Use this example to demonstrate your position on art as resistance. Consider questions such as: would art have helped the less empowered people fight back? Did art play a part in the arguments against discrimination? In what ways does art address discrimination in your example? You may use print or web sources for this example as long as you document these carefully. In addition, you must define what you mean by “art” in order to construct a strong argument. 5. Include in your paper an acknowledgement and rebuttal of an opposing or counter-argument.

This section of your paper may be short, but it is a vital aspect of your paper, so don’t forget to include it. IN OTHER WORDS, give the other side of your answer to the top question about art as an effective form of resistance and then argue against it. If you answer “yes,” then say how people could argue “no” and argue against them. 6. You will need to use at least five sources for this paper: THREE from Cultural Conversations (Du Bois plus two others) and TWO related to your example (they can be nonscholarly).

7. GRADING BASED ON: forming a thesis, showing originality, constructing and organizing your argument, using textual evidence, showing you understand the main themes of the course/unit, meeting stylistic and grammatical standards, and finding and using sources. 8. Use MLA format and citation style. Also use 1 inch margins and Times New Roman or similar font. No cover page please. Number your pages and include a header with your name and my name on it. Staple your paper. Don’t forget a title. Proofread.

W.E.B. Du Bois Marcus Garvey Booker T. Washington

Langston Hughes Anna Julia Cooper Frances E.W. Harper Anonymous Reviewer

Lifting the Veil of Ignorance, B.T. Washington Memorial at Tuskegee University

From Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952):

“Then in my mind’s eye I see the bronze statue of the college Founder, the cold Father symbol, his hands outstretched in the breathtaking gesture of lifting a veil that flutters in hard, metallic folds above the face of a kneeling slave; and I am standing puzzled, unable to decide whether the veil is really being lifted, or lowered more firmly in place; whether I am witnessing a revelation or a more efficient blinding.”

Bob Marley
“Redemption Song”

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds.”

Langston Hughes
“I, Too, Sing America”

Frances E.W. Harper
“The Burdens of All”

From W.E.B. Du Bois’ Criteria of Negro Art:

PAGE 160: “The apostle of beauty thus becomes the apostle of truth and right not by choice but by inner and outer compulsion. Free he is but his freedom is ever bounded by truth and justice; and slavery only dogs him when he is denied the right to tell the truth or recognize an ideal of justice… Thus, all art is propaganda and ever must be, despite the wailing of the purists… I do not care a damn for any art that is not used for propaganda. But I do care when propaganda is confined to one side while the other is stripped and silent.”


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