Analysis Paper:Tatum Can we Talk about Race

This assignment calls for you to write a critical essay in response to one of the readings provided on Bb in full text.  See the bibliographic info on these essays below. The essay needs to be between 750 and 1000 words and should reflect careful thought, writing, and attention to form. Going over the 1000-word limit is ok.

Writing Your Essay

The analysis essay is a form of expository prose, a kind of writing in which you argue several points.  The topic of your analysis is your critical response to the ideas in one of the articles.  To begin, examine several or all essays attached to this assignment (Blacksher & Valles, Buchanan, DiAngelo, Tatum)  and then decide on the one to which you will respond.  Then, reread the chosen article several times, noting the thesis and the subpoints in the reading.  You can also note aspects of style that affect the strengths and weaknesses in the article, and how well the article develops its main and subpoints. You may need to do additional research about each of the authors before you begin formulating your analysis. For example, learn more about DiAngelo’s arguments by researching other works by this author or by locating other sources on the white fragility concept. 

You then need to formulate your critical response to the article.  Consider whether you agree with the main point, the persuasiveness of the arguments, the arrangement of the subpoints (organization), clarity, the intellectual level of the writing, emotional and/or logical appeals, and the writing style. 

Then begin to outline your essay, deciding on your thesis, and the supporting subpoints you will develop.  Consider also how you will organize your essay.  It is usually best to begin with an introduction in which you seek the reader’s attention, state your thesis, and preview the subpoints. Then, develop your subpoints which will be the main body of your essay.  Finally, plan a conclusion that restates your thesis, reviews the subpoints (briefly), and ends with an effective closing. You will probably need to revise your outline several times, and keep going back to the article.

Once you have a good outline, begin writing your essay. It is recommended that you write several drafts and take time between each one to effectively refine your essay.  Although your audience is the professor in COM 332, consider that, overall, you are addressing a college-educated reader.  Strive for clear organization, and clarity, and develop 2-3 subpoints in support of your thesis.  You need to show whether you agree with the thesis in the article and explain the basis for your agreement (or disagreement).

Additional Research Required

To support your analysis, you must cite at least 2 scholarly sources. These have to be in addition to sources you read as part of the course. So citing course readings is strongly suggested but will not count towards the 2 source requirement.

Grading Criteria

The essays will be evaluated according to 1) soundness of content (logic and reasoning in support of the thesis; development of main points; 2) clear organization (intro, body, conclusion; subpoints fully developed);  3) writing style (effective language, grammar, punctuation, and proper format in references) either MLA or APA are acceptable styles of referencing; and 4) use of sources (cited sources are credible and used fully, not just for one quote) 


Blacksher, E., & Valles, S. A. (2021) White privilege, White poverty: Reckoning with class and race in America. Special Report: Democracy in Crisis (pp. S51-S57). Hastings Center Report.

Buchanan, P. J. (2010).  Deconstructing America. In G. Colombo, R. Cullen, & B. Lisle. (Eds.). Rereading America: Cultural contexts for critical thinking and writing (pp. 462-472). New York: St. Martin’s Press.

DiAngelo, R. (2011). White fragility. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 3(3), 54-70.

Tatum, B. D. (2004). Defining racism: Can we talk?  In P. S. Rothenberg. (Ed.) Race, class, and gender in the United States: An integrated study (pp. 123-130). New York: Worth Publishers.

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