Blog Prompts

Blog # 1: (300 words minimum, due by 11:59 PM Tuesday, Aug 31st. Two comments due within 24 hours of the blog due date): Write a statement of intention for the semester. This should cover the following: what you are most looking forward to learning and/or doing in this class, what obstacles you can foresee in doing well, what I can do as the instructor to most help you excel, how you plan to manage your time between each class and outside of school responsibilities, and what you hope to gain from this course.

Blog # 2: (300 words minimum, due by 11:59PM Thursday, Sept 2nd. Two comments due within 24 hours of the blog due date)

Listen to “The Influence You Have” and read “Enemies” and write two responses, one critical and one personal. How does this podcast argue that the impact we have on others is often greater than we give it credit for? Explain the argument in a paragraph or two, using specific examples to support your description.

Think of a time when you said something to someone and found out later that it had a much greater influence than what you had initially thought. How did this happen, and what came out of it? If you can’t think of an example, try the reverse: write about a time when someone’s seemingly off-hand or casual remark impacted you significantly. What does this exercise tell you about the interplay between the self and others?

Blog #3: (300 word minimum, due by 11:59 PM. Thursday, Sept 9th. Two comments due within 24 hours of the blog due date)

Read “What is Rhetoric?” and then find an advertisement on youtube and discuss the appeals to either reason, values, or credibility as you understood them from the article. Post a link to the ad in your blog post. 

Blog # 4: (300 words minimum, due by 11:59PM Thursday, Sept 23rd. Two comments due within 24 hours of the blog due date). Carefully read “Asian Americans are still caught in the trap of the ‘Model Minority’ Stereotype. And it Creates inequality for All” and then write about what a model minority is. How is this label dangerous? Who does it serve?

Nguyen writes that “the end of Asian Americans only happens with the end of racism and capitalism.” Why does he say this? What leads him to believe that?

How does this essay challenge your thinking about minority groups in the U.S.?

Blog # 5: Due Thursday, Oct 7th at 11:59 p.m. 300 words minimum. Please read “My Mother’s Dreams for Her Son, and All Black Children” by Hilton Als and respond to the following prompt: Choose two of the following quotations from the essay and analyze them. What does Als mean when he says these things? What is their significance to the overall narrative? Once you have written about two of these quotes, find and paste one more segment of the text that stood out to you and explain what interested you about it.

“Standing by my mother’s living-room window, I tried, tentatively, to ask her why our world was burning, burning. She gave me a forbidding look: Boy, be quiet so you can survive, her eyes seemed to say.”

“The world around us was not the one we had worked hard to achieve but the quiet, degraded world that our not-country said we deserved. We couldn’t keep nothing, the elders said, not even ourselves.”

“Like any number of black boys in those neighborhoods, I grew up in a matrilineal society, where I had been taught the power—the necessity—of silence.”

“I don’t remember exactly how many times we moved; in those days, my focus was on trying to win people over, the better to protect my family, or—silently—trying to fend off homophobia, the better to protect myself. My being a “faggot” was one way for other people to feel better about themselves. My being a “faggot” let cops know what they weren’t.”

Blog # 6:  Due Thursday, Oct. 7th by 11:59 p.m. 300 words minimum. Please watch the Trevor Noah Clip and watch the film I am not your Negro and write a thoughtful response, in which you address the following questions: What is the purpose of a society based on a social contract? Who counts as a full citizen in a society, and what does that entail? Describe the project James Baldwin undertook and why you think he chose to discuss the lives of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Medgar Evers. Then give your own reaction to the film. How does it sit with you? What does it make you think about? What is your biggest takeaway?

Blog # 7: Due Thursday, Oct. 14 by 11:59 p.m. 300 words minimum. With your group, attend a NY Historical Society virtual museum tour. Then each member of your group should answer one of the following questions in their blog post:

  1. Provide an overview of what the exhibit covered. Then choose three examples of artifacts used in the exhibit to bring the story to life.
  2. What surprised you most about the information in the exhibit, or about the presentation of that information? Discuss three memorable bits of information you gleaned from the exhibit, and talk about why they struck you.
  3. What are the major themes covered in this exhibit, and what would you say was the perspective of the curators? In other words, what does the exhibit choose to focus on, and how does that influence the perceptions of viewers?

Blog # 8: Due Thursday, Oct 21st by 11:59 p.m. 300 words minimum. Watch “What Reading Slowly Taught Me About Writing” and respond thoughtfully. First, choose one of the reasons for reading the speaker gives, which speaks to you, and expand upon it. Why is this reason important? What does it mean to you?

Blog # 9: Due Thursday, Oct. 28th by 11:59 p.m. 300 words minimum. Please read “The Death of the Private Self” and watch the documentary The Great Hack (available on Netflix). Then respond to the following questions about The Great Hack. Use specific examples to support your claims:

How does big data work, as you understand it from this film? What interested Prof. David Carroll in the Cambridge Analytica case? What was his goal? What connections can you draw between the article on Facebook (“Death of the Private Self”) and this documentary?

Blog # 10:  Due Thursday, November 11th by 11:59 p.m. 300 words minimum. Please read “Introduction” and Chapter 1, “Origins” of Barack Obama – Dreams from My Father_ A Story of Race and Inheritance-Three Rivers Press (2004)Write blog post and comment on two other posts.

This book is in part about the conflict between the world Obama’s family dreamed of living in and the reality they encountered. Explain what those two visions looked like, and what role Obama himself played in the coming together and dividing of those two worlds. Then choose a passage that stands out to you, paste it into the blog post, and explain why it struck you.

Blog # 11: Due Thursday, November 18th by 11:59 p.m. 300 words minimum. Please watch the Ted talk “Want a more just world? Be an unlikely ally” and listen to Listen to “The Air We Breathe: Implicit Bias And Police Shootings” podcast. Respond in writing about the main takeaways from each of these pieces, and explain how they fit together. Then, in a new paragraph, discuss ways in which you could implement some of these ideas into your own life. Oftentimes, we don’t get involved with social justice issues that seem like they aren’t “about us.” We watch what’s happening, and we care, but we don’t know how to get involved, or even if we should. Do these two pieces shift your thinking about that at all? If so, how?