ethic class



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Optional Extra Credit: Spring Term 2015



This Extra Credit assignment is worth a maximum of 5 points to be added to your final grade at the end of the semester. Please note that completing the Extra Credit is not a “guarantee” of 5 points. If your final grade, without Extra Credit, is 84, then the Extra Credit will not advance your final grade from “B” to “A” (because 84 + 5 = 89 which is a “B”); if, however, your final grade is 76, then if you receive full points for the Extra Credit your final grade will advance from “C” to “B” (because 76 + 5 = 81 which is a “B”).  On that note, you might wish to wait until after you receive your Presentation grade to decide whether or not you wish to submit the Extra Credit assignment.




In order to complete the Extra Credit assignment, please do the following:


Make sure that your response is between 200 words and 250 words total. That is, there is an absolute minimum of 200 words and a general ceiling of 250 words.(As a guide, 250 words is one 8.5″ by 11.0″ page with double spaced, 12 font type.)


Make sure that your work is submitted as a MicroSoft Word document file into the PAWS Extra Credit Dropbox. The Dropboxopens on Thursday, April 23rd at 12:00 A.M. and closes at 11:30 P.M. on Thursday, April 30th. Absolutely no late Extra Credit assignments will be accepted.

In order to be accepted, your PAWS Originality Report must be 20% or less.As a matter of both expediency and fairness, any work over 20% (and this includes 21%) will not be accepted. You may submit multiple drafts until the submission deadline of 11:30 on Thursday, April 30th, 2015. 


I will not begin grading Extra Credit work until Friday, May 1st.  Please include citations or a works cited page if appropriate. As for evaluation:


·      1 Point is for grammar and syntax. (Syntax is how words are strung together with the guidance being Standard English.)


·      2 Points are for comprehension of the issue, accuracy of facts used and, if relevant, accuracy in representing another’s ideas.


·      2 Points are for critical analysis.




Please choose only oneof the following three topics to submit as a basis for your Extra Credit:


(1) An Analysis of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter From Birmingham Jail: “Why We Can’t Wait,” by Melvin Tuggle, Tuggle Books: Memphis, TN, 1995, 1996. (This book is currently available in STCC Student Bookstores costing under $13.00 before tax; King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” can be found online by using a search engine.)


Tuggle focuses in part on King’s arguments against inaction in the face of gross  injustice. King eloquently lays out an argument why “waiting” would be deleterious to the goal of achieving social and political parity. First, explain King’s main reasons for believing this to be the case. Second, if you are able, draw a parallel to contemporary instances of a Civil Rights violation that require direct action, as opposed to waiting, given the severity of violation(s) identified.



(2) “The Untold Story of Why MLK Wore a Hawaiian Lei at Selma,” by Tim Mak, Posted on  The Daily Beast, March 6, 2015at 5:15 A.M. (American) EST.


Mak’s account of Martin Luther King’s wearing of Hawaiian leis, as well as his reflection upon the meaning of the word “aloha,” suggests the political power of coalition.  Other than issues affecting the LGBT communities (since we have student presentations on LGBT issues), identify a contemporary social, economic, racial or ethnic community and a civil rights issue it faces. How might this community build coalition with another group or groups to help further goal of social or political parity? (This community may exist in any part of the world, as you wish.)



(3) “The Biological Aspects of Race,” The American Academy of Physicians Assistants Statement Published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 101, pp 569-570, 1996


During lecture, we made a distinction between Social Kinds on the one hand, and Natural Kinds on the other. Arguably, one feature of racism is to characterize ‘race’ as essentially (necessarily) a natural kind. Differently from this characterization, the AAPA Statement on the biological aspects of race makes the argument that racial categories do not map neatly onto the usual physical traits of skin color, facial features and the like. If we assume that the AAPA Statement on the biological aspects of race is correct and that race is not a natural kind, then how do we rectify (make sense of) combatting racism on the one hand while on the other hand moving away from a conception of race as a natural kind? (That is, how do we fight racism while moving away from a concept of race as a natural kind? It doesn’t help to ignore race if injustices, such as police brutality, map onto perceived race.)

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