Core Value 1: My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.
The topic I selected for my Op-Ed, the question of arming teachers, was more difficult to tackle than I had anticipated. I researched and researched to find “proof” that arming teachers is guaranteed to lead to disaster. As it turned out, I had approached the topic the completely wrong way: one cannot force proof as part of one’s support for a claim when likelihood is all one can suggest. The policy of arming teachers is relatively new, so there was little “proof” by which to go other than the effect it had on states already enforcing such a policy. Listening to the advice of my professor, reading opposing arguments on the internet, and using my own critical thinking skills has led me to my own conclusions rather than the popular ones constantly regurgitated by the left.
Core Value 2: My work demonstrates that I read critically, and that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities.
My Editorial, which called into question the ethics of the NBA’s recent business practices with China, is perhaps the best example of an essay that relies heavily on connecting various claims to effectively communicate ideas to the reader. For example, in the essay, the claims that 1.) the NBA should be exhibiting the core values of an American company BUT they 2.) actively sided with the oppressor, China, unburden the reader of the responsibility to connect the claims themselves. We expect the NBA to fight against social injustices given that they 1.) have a social program called “NBA Cares” BUT they 2.) disregarded the cries of Hong Kong’s protesters as they fight against a corrupt government. These connections guide the reader to the conclusion that the NBA is un-American and hypocritical.
Core Value 3: My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.
My Op-Ed on arming teachers appealed mainly to concerned parents as well as those of minority children. The general idea was to show to parents that teachers should be pillars of trust and care for their children but not to such a degree that we should treat them like secondary cops. My reasoning about the effect arming teachers could have on minority students would certainly appeal to parents of such students. An implicit but very important audience of my essay would be the Republicans who side with Trump on arming teachers because the goal is, to some degree, also to persuade and change the views of opponents of the topic. My counterargument, in the last paragraph, about treating teachers like the real first responders is directed towards proponents of arming teachers in particular.
Core Value 4: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.
Using evidence to support one’s thesis is very important when trying to persuade one’s audience. I made sure, in my Op-Ed, to include not only textual evidence, but visual evidence as well. I took the liberty of compiling and incorporating into my writing my own graphs (which include data from other sources). These graphs show the differences in rates of school shootings per capita in each state, backing up my argument of the ineffectiveness of arming teachers to some degree. I also used evidence of racism in school to support the reasoning that we can expect the lethality of teacher-on-minority-student discrimination to increase if teachers are to be armed. In a broader sense, establishing that minority students are discriminated against in the first place also gives me more credibility.
Core Value 5: My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation.
Even if one’s essay isn’t accurate in its use of logic or evidence, the least one can do, at the end of the day, is represent another person’s position fairly. I believe my Letter to the Editor is a great example of representing the original editor’s point of view. I made sure that my support and reasoning were as disconnected from fact as those of George Yancy’s “prayer” to God in his Editorial. Since debates about God’s existence tend to be logical slippery slopes, it’s important to keep things in perspective (that includes looking from Yancy’s perspective) and avoid pushing “proof” or “facts” where they have little to no use; this is important especially when the original author has not resorted to forcing “proofs” or “facts.”