race and poverty discussion paper 1


Select one of the following prompts and provide an extended response of about 1000 – 1200 words. The response is a formal essay with an introduction, thesis statement, evidence, argumentation, and a conclusion. Although the paper is opinion-based, you are expected to present clear, concise, and critical arguments in support of your claim. You are not expected to go beyond the material we have discussed so far in class. However, if you choose to use other sources, be sure to cite them properly. Please see Rubric for “A” papers for more details.


1. African Americans and Hispanics are the two largest minority groups in the United States with the highest rates of poverty, 22% and 19.4% respectively. Discuss the extent to which racial and ethnic discrimination impact economic outcomes in the United States. In your response, focus on two or three examples of racial and ethnic discrimination adversely impacting the economic condition of minority groups. You may draw upon historical or current examples.

4. In what ways have welfare programs (sometimes called “entitlements” or government assistance) in America become racialized? Offer two or three concrete examples of the racialization of welfare programs and be sure to discuss the impact of this racialization on who is largely considered to be the “deserving poor”? Here you could talk about stereotypes and controlling categories with respect to welfare.

6. Discuss what you understand by the wealth gap and the extent to which you think government should be involved in remedying the disparities between the rich and the poor.