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Posted: January 4th, 2022

Incarceration of Black Americans


For this assignment, you will look at a real claim that someone has made regarding an issue they believe is a social problem. Take a close look at their claim and analyze it according to vocabulary and information in our textbook. Your answers must be in essay format.

When necessary, you must reference, define, and cite concepts and vocabulary from the textbook. You must provide in-text citations, as well as two full citations at the end of your assignment. You are only citing two sources—the excerpt reading from Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, and the class textbook by Joel Best.

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Write your essay in a separate document and upload that document to the link in the Assignment #1 folder

Word Count: At least 300 words.Overall Assignment Goals:

  • Evaluate a troubling condition the claimsmaker says is a social problem.
  • Analyze the claimsmaker’s rhetorical argument in accordance with the criteria of the class textbook (Ch. 2 is especially helpful).
  • Discuss various aspects of the claimsmaker’s argument in relation to the social problems process.
  • Practice using American Sociological Association (ASA) citation style.

The claimsmaker:

Michelle Alexander


Read Michelle Alexander’s introductory excerpt from her book The New Jim Crow and answer the following questions in essay format.

* The excerpt reading is in the Assignment #1 Folder.

Paragraph 1—The Content: (4 points max)

Michelle Alexander makes the claim that the mass incarceration of Black Americans is a social problem because it has led to a new racial caste system.

  1. Why do you think the author believes a new racial caste system in America is a social problem? (2 points max)
    1. Tip: Recall the author’s description of a caste system.
  2. Why do you think the author believes that the problem of mass incarceration of Black Americans should be considered a problem by all Americans? (2 points max)
    1. Tip: Think about the elements the author suggests as consequences of her claim.

Paragraph 2—The Claim: (3 points max)

  1. What is your reaction to the author’s claim? (i.e., do you find her claim convincing?)

(.5 points max)

Explain why you chose this answer. (.5 points max)

  1. As noted in the textbook, all claimsmakers utilize rhetoric. Do you think the author’s rhetorical style appeals to emotions or reason (as defined in Ch.1 of the text) or both? (.5 points max)

* you must reference, define, and cite the textbook’s vocabulary regarding rhetoric when answering this question.

Explain why you chose this answer. (.5 points max)

  1. Is the author making her claim as an expert, activist, or both (as described in our textbook)? (Tip: Think about the traits she lists regarding her personal and professional background.) (.5 points max)

* you must reference, define, and cite the textbook’s vocabulary regarding ‘expert claimsmakers and activist claimsmakers’ when answering this question.

Explain why you chose this answer. (.5 points max)

Paragraph 3—The Structure of the Claim; Grounds, Warrants, Conclusions: (3 points max)

* you must reference, define, and cite the textbook’s vocabulary words—grounds, warrants, conclusions—when answering these questions.

  1. What information and evidence about mass incarceration does the author use to establish the grounds that mass incarceration of Black Americans is a social problem? (1 point max)
  2. What kind of warrants does the author use to justify why something must be done about the issue of mass incarceration of Black Americans? (1 point max)
  3. What does the author conclude should be done to address the issue of the mass incarceration of Black Americans? (1 point max)

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