In a talk given at TEDGlobal in 2011, Richard Wilkinson, an epidemiologist who studies the well-being of societies, pointed out that “[t]he average well-being of our societies is not dependent any longer on national income and economic growth. That’s very important in poorer countries, but not in the rich developed world. But the differences between us and where we are in relation to each other now matter very much.”–Richard Wilkinson, TEDGlobal 2011, “How Economic Inequality Harms Societies”
In a talk given at TED in 2012, Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer who has argued numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, argued this: “Ultimately, you judge the character of a society, not by how they treat the rich and the powerful and the privileged, but by how they treat the poor, the condemned, the incarcerated. Because it’s in that nexus that we actually begin to understand truly profound things about who we are.”–Bryan Stevenson, TED2012, “We Need to Talk about an Injustice”
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, societal inequalities have become increasingly evident. Given this, your research essay assignment invites you to examine how this pandemic has exposed social and economic inequalities in the U.S. Here is what you need to do:
RESEARCH and EXPLAIN one aspect of social inequality. For example, you could examine inequalities in health care or education, work or other economic insecurity, or inequality caused by structural racism.
CONNECT your findings to what we are witnessing (and many of us are experiencing) in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic shutdowns and stay-at-home orders.
REFLECT on how your views have changed or developed in light of this research. What will you do now that you know what you know? Is there a solution that you can offer? Argue for that solution.
Be sure you ADDRESS IMPORTANT OPPOSING ARGUMENTS in order to strengthen your argument.
(NOTE: You are not required to do the items on the above bulleted list in this exact order.)
Accuracy and completeness of understanding of the ideas contained in the sources and ideas you are responding to and analyzing
Defensible and interesting thesis statement
Development of ideas, use of pertinent examples, convincing explanations
Ability to reason with and explain the ideas being dealt with
Logical essay structure, leading reader from one idea to the next
Readability and correctness of prose
Documentation of sources and correct citation format for those sources
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