Position Papers – As related the film 13th

Topics (Choose One):

  1. Race, prisons, & historical ties to slavery – The legacies of the historical policies on race and Jim Crow still color our world today as witnessed in the documentary 13th. The film highlights the ways in which African Americans have been historically policed, via slavery, then afterwards via legal systems of segregation for nearly 100 years. Develop an argument about mass incarceration of black people as a means of policing black bodies or other marginalized groups. Examine specific policies that have been used to target minorities as criminal (Stop and Frisk or SB1070 for example,) or the extrajudicial killings minorities by police that rarely lead to punishment. Does this say something about America broadly, or is this merely a reflection of growing criminality?
  2. Detention Centers and Immigration – The film 13th highlights the expansion of a criminal justice system that makes way for imprisoning and deporting masses of immigrants for a profit. The film posits that detention centers as we know it, are another word for prisons. The new administration has made immigration and deportations a priority, developing a specific force to highlight and publicize crimes committed by undocumented people (VOICE – Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement). While immigrants do not commit crime at higher rates than citizens, highlighting them as criminals may affect the way they are perceived at local and national levels (again, look to the film 13th on what occurs when we label someone as criminal). Develop an argument about the role of detention centers and the crisis of immigration. You may consider the roll of families and whether they should be separated in this process, the role of children and teens (who may also be in these same detention centers as their parents), and the labeling of the undocumented as criminal, or specific policies that have been used to target immigrants.
  3. Protestors, Law Breaking and Arrests (DAPL, Civil Rights) – Over the course of U.S. history it has taken civilian protestors to pressure the state to make changes to legislation. In some cases, protestors go directly against the law to demonstrate that it is immoral or unjust. One such example would be the majority of protests during the Civil Rights movement to protest segregation. Black protestors went to lunch counters that served whites only, and integrated spaces that were designated as for whites only. They were the recipients of violence response from civilians and police. Those protestors were deemed criminal for breaking the law, and were highlighted as such across the nation. Consider this and look to a protest movement now that may also be breaking laws to highlight that an injustice is taking place. Look for example, at the protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Choose DAPL or another contemporary protest movement and develop an argument about protests, law breaking and moral authority. If civilians see something going on as immortal, unjust, discriminatory or against human rights—should they break the law for the sake of highlighting this injustice? Develop an argument around the legality of protests, morality and social change.


Develop and argument.

These papers should be 3-4 pages in length (Times New Roman, double spaced, 12 point font).

~Paper should have an introduction paragraph with a thesis statement; at least three body paragraphs and a conclusion paragraph.

~Include at least 3 credible outside media sources and cite them as evidence in your argument (Use APA Citation Style).

~Include a reference list

~Papers will be graded on these 5 factors Thesis Statement, Argument, Evidence, Clarity & Flow, Grammar/Punctuation

~Must upload paper to Canvas and Vericite (via Canvas)

Intro paragraph and Thesis

Final Paper

Grade Rubric Attached

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