some edit to the essay that follow the requirement

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you have some great concepts in this essay about the way our identity can never be captured. And I also valued the personal examples and the authoritative quotes regarding the goal of media.

There is a significant piece missing here, however, and that is the actual media that you’ve chosen to identify. I would like you to return to your media and revise this essay with that additional and necessary layer

Here is the requirement for the essay:

Essay #1: Media (Mis)Representation/Reclaiming Identity


After analyzing and discussing the role of self-representation in our media in the form of the “selfie” and

exploring the way “frames trump facts” (Harris and Carbado 60), we have a better understanding of the way the “media

[is] both author and reader of events in ways that both challeng[e] and underwr[i]te” misconceptions about race, gender,

culture, religion, disability, socio-economic status, and identity (Harris and Carbado 64). Chimamanda Adichie also

reinforces this view in her TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” expressing that when there is a limited view of a

person or a people, through a single story that is repeated over and over, this can diminish identity and can take away

dignity. In fact, all three authors contend that our rights in society may be reduced due to assumptions made and the

stereotypes created. But Adichie also promises a return of “paradise” when a wide range of stories is shared. After reading

the emotional narrative essays about the writers’ diverse experiences and their attempts to reclaim their true identity in the

face of stereotypes, you are now prepared to consider the question: What story is being told about you? This assignment

asks you to think about an aspect of your identity that is often depicted in the media. Your goal is to inform readers about

the way media representations can either 1) create and perpetuate stereotypes, stereotypes that can make it more difficult

to see the inherent dignity and humanity of individuals, or 2) re-educate and enlighten people, offering a clearer or more

authentic depiction, even correcting stereotypes and positively capturing your identity.


In 3-5 pages, using MLA format, analyze the way a specific media or type of media you have chosen (song,

film, TV show, character, blog, meme, news, etc.) misrepresents (or accurately represents) an aspect of your

identity, and educate your readers about the reality of your experience. In other words, answer the questions:

What is the story being told about you? And why is it accurate or inaccurate?


Consider the following questions as you brainstorm and write:

How would you introduce yourself to others? What aspects of your identity or personality are most important in


who you are


who your people are


In what ways have you been “framed” or portrayed by the media?

What are some of the misconceptions or stereotypes that people have?

Why do you feel that this representation is inaccurate or accurate? Dignified or undignified? (Use the media

analysis/study to delve below the surface of your chosen media)

What are the consequences of this misrepresentation? Does it lead to larger problems?

What do you wish that people really knew about your identity?

Why is it important for readers to get a different perspective on this issue?

How can you use language, structure, and style to persuade your readers?


A strong essay will . . .

Open with an introduction paragraph that establishes and “enters” the ongoing conversation* about media,

engages and clearly connects with your chosen audience, introduces the media you have chosen to write about,

and leads toward your thesis.

Provide a thesis statement at the end of the introduction paragraph that directly responds to the task above.

*In the introduction or first body paragraph, clearly explain the ongoing conversation—the role or influence that

media has (or does not have) on our perceptions or even behaviors. You must introduce, quote and/or paraphrase

at least one of our class texts as an authoritative source: Harris and Carbado, Adichie, Cofer, etc.

Provide multiple points/paragraphs for your argument (4+), in which you categorize the

numerous ways


chosen media frames your identity: the different stereotypes, misrepresentations, (or accurate characteristics) you

discover within your chosen media. You might also show the various ways the representation occurs–the methods

or strategies the media uses to create a single story about your identity—OR the truth about your identity.

Consider the arguments presented by the authors of our readings and those of the videos, as well as our discussion

about the UDHR and “dignity” to inspire your own topics and main points.

Herman/English 1A-16

Address your essay to a specific audience: the creators of that image, OR your classmates, OR another group that

you feel needs to be informed, corrected, or perhaps applauded.

End with a thoughtful conclusion paragraph that directly connects with your audience and demands some form of

action, re-evaluation of the media presented, or a way to promote the positive image offered, etc.

Required Readings/Videos:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk “The Danger of a Single Story”…

Cheryl I. Harris and Devon W. Carbado, “Loot or Find: Fact or Frame?”

Judith Ortiz Cofer, “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Met a Girl Named Maria” (ethnicity, gender

and culture)

Brent Staples, “Black Men and Public Space” (race)

Amy Tan, “Mother Tongue” (language and culture)

Janelle Hanchett, “Dear Son, I Hope You Stay Soft” (gender)

Jo Goodwin Parker, “What Is Poverty?” (social class)

National Congress of American Indians’ “Proud to Be” video (culture)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

They Say, I Say

: Introduction, Chapter 1 & 2

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