Division and Polarization in America
For argument one, you will compose an argument on the topic of the division and polarization in America. Focus on a specific area of division: economic, cultural, political, religious, racial, class, social issues. Take an arguable position on your topic, and then support that position with evidence and reasoning.
Remember, an argument is NOT a statement of fact. So, your argument cannot be something like, “Economic disparity exists in America.” Not only is this claim vague: it is not particularly arguable. Who does not think economic disparity exists? The differences in point of view come with discussions of how widespread it is, what its causes are, its ethical implications, and its solutions. These approaches are all arguable, and an argument’s position is always arguable. An argument can take the form of a cause and effect argument (what are the causes of economic disparity? What are its effects on dividing us?); of a value argument (economic disparity is very harmful to the country, or economic disparity is not as pronounced and detrimental as it is made out to be); of a policy argument (these are the courses of action that policy makers and politicians should take to address economic disparity); or an ethical argument (economic disparity is unethical because it is unfair).
Support your argument with one of these five selections from They Say /I Say: “The ‘Other Side’ is Not Dumb,” “Why America is Self-Segregating,” “The New Jim Crow,” “Why Rural America Voted for Trump,” “A Tax System Stacked against the 99 Percent.” In addition, use two other sources. These two sources must be academic, legitimate sources suitable for academic research. Do not use YouTube videos as sources. Keep in mind that NC Live is an excellent venue for accessing reputable and reliable sources and chapter 52 Rules for Writers offers guidelines for evaluating sources. Upon occasion, I will come across sources in my own reading that are relevant and potentially useful and will post them in Course Resources. And most certainly, if you are unsure of a source’s validity, I am glad to advise.
Introduction – The introduction section introduces the topic and offers a general overview of the differing existent positions on the topic. Remember: being able to accurately state a topic’s different positions is key to creating ethos, as well as clarifying your own understanding of your position.
Claim -- At the end of the introduction, state your position. This statement, known as the claim, must be the last sentence of the introduction.
Body – Develop the claim’s but stating clear reasons, reasons supported with evidence and reasoning. Incorporate the required sources. Define any key terms you use. Clearly connect the evidence you present to the point you are making. For instance, if you are using a set of statistical data to support your point, you must clearly explain how this data supports your point.
Refutation – This is the penultimate, or next to the last section, of the argument. In this section, you must present a position that is contrary or opposing to the one you are making; then, you must refute it, or point out why this position is in error. An argument can be in error on several grounds: either its facts are wrong, or its logic is wrong, that is, its premise or its reasoning. The refutation section of the argument is critical to the rhetorical mode of argumentation: it is what separates argumentative writing from expository writing, it appeals to both ethos and logos, and, finally, it bolsters your own argument. To construct the refutation, introduce a specific opposing argument using either a quote or a paraphrase from its source, then, refute the position using very specific language of refutation, such as “this argument is mistaken,” “this writer is in error,” “this line of thinking misses the mark,” and then fully explain your reasons why the argument is in mistaken. To merely state an argument is wrong is nothing more than a contradiction; to state an argument is wrong and offer thoughtful, analytical reasons why it is wrong is a refutation. (Refer to pages 56-58 of They Say / I Say for guidelines and templates for approaching and constructing the refutation.)
Conclusion – One thing the conclusion for this argument must absolutely not do is start with the words “in conclusion” and then proceed to restate what the argument said. That technique was middle school. The conclusion is a closing evaluation of the argument topic’s relevance and why the argument matters. Refer to pages 95 through 99 in They Say / I Say. You have just written an argument on a topic related to divisions in America. Offer your thoughtful explanation on why your topic and argument matters.