ETST 001: Introduction to the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

ETST 001: Introduction to the Study of Race and Ethnicity

Final Examination Study Guide

The final exam is an in-class essay assignment during which you will write a response to the question below. The final blue book exam will be held on Saturday, July 27, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in Boyce 1471. No index cards, notes, or readings are allowed. Allbessays must be written in a large blue book. Do not write anything on or in your bluebook prior to the exam.


  • Is America a “color blind” society in which all of its citizens can fully,participate withm equal opportunity, or is it marred by individual, institutional, and systemic racial discrimination?

Answer the above question by constructing a clear thesis. The thesis equals your main claim or assertion, along with supporting claims that make the overall argument compelling. To substantiate your argument and defend your position, you must engage with the required readings from weeks three through five [from the James Tyner reading forward]. Specifically, you must balance your analysis and your voice with a mix of interwoven key quotes and paraphrasing, referring to the names of authors or readings in the body of the essay text (within sentences or in parentheses after sentences). There is no “correct” answer to the question, thus whether your position is politically left or right of center, or whether, for example, you argue for improvement and progress over time, continued racial discrimination, an increased importance of class over race, or varying participation, you must compose a persuasive essay by supporting your argument with the evidence presented in the class materials. In this regard, you do not have to agree with the required authors, but you must engage with their theoretical concepts and analytical conclusions. You may counter or dispute the authors’ claims to make an original point, advance your argument, and support your point of view. You may also quote the lectures and films, but do not use any outside sources.

There is no minimum or maximum quota for how many required course readings you must incorporate; however, the best essays engage with a wide range of respective readings, placing the authors in dialogue. Similarly, address each component of the question. Do not rehash your midterm essay, although you can expand on ideas from the earlier readings in addition to, but not in lieu of, the second half readings, by delving deeper into the course theories. There is no required or expected essay length.

It may be helpful to consider: the influence of racial ideologies, from the turn of the twentieth century through the early twenty-first century; inclusion, exclusion, and social, educational, and residential segregation; ethnicity and assimilation; white identity and cultural pluralism; race and politics; the post-Civil Rights period; multiculturalism.

Institutional means institutions, like educational, governmental, or military institutions, while systemic means systems, like the legal, criminal justice, economic, or political systems. Regarding the relationship between institutional and systemic, consider how slavery, as an institution, supported a particular system, the plantation economy; how the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as an institution, supports the reservation system; and how the Federal Housing Administration, as an institution, supports the private real estate market.

*Use the second page of this study guide to create an outline for your essay.


ETST 001 Bluebook Essay Rubric


Essay shows sustained engagement with the topic and consistent response to the assignment; Completely answers the question.


Thesis is sound (i.e.; based on reasoning, accurate, thorough, substantial, forceful, strong, solidly constructed). Thesis is logical, focused, and specific (avoids generalizations). Argument (claim) is clearly explained.


Essay is thoughtfully organized and structured.

There is an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Introductory paragraph sets the context for the essay topic.

There are topic and transition sentences.

Essay organization represents a clear strategy for persuasion.

Essay does not digress from central point—all material is relevant to supporting thesis.


Arguments are lucid and consistently supported with evidence (text citations); Position is defended well. The central idea is developed through wisely chosen, appropriate, concrete details, persuasive points, insightful examples. Quotes deepen the essay discussion, and are set-up/introduced and incorporated seamlessly. The reader can follow the construction of argument.

Argumentation guides the reader and propels the narrative forward. Paragraphs are organized, unified, and coherent—they each have a controlling idea to help further the thesis. Paragraphs flow smoothly together with effective transitions, and the essay presents a cohesive perspective. Each part of the essay builds upon the next to illuminate logical connections, implications, and relationships. Concluding paragraph is satisfying and convincing—brings all of the essay content together and “clinches” the argument.

Tight, powerful conclusion ties together related strands developed in the body of the essay.


Demonstrates proficiency in understanding by applying key concepts and relevant class material. Displays theoretical depth by unpacking complex ideas. Demonstrates the link between evidence and argument (explains the significance of evidence to claims and/or thesis). Essay contains more analysis than description and summary (shows rather than merely tells). Essay demonstrates excellent secondary research skills: comparison, contrast, and synthesis.

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