How would you describe your racial category? Is race any different from ethnic background, in your opinion? How, if so?

Interview Essay

The essays required for this class, combined, will form 50% of your final grade. To help you in your writing, your papers will be graded both on content and organization.
This essay is an interview of someone you know; preferably a parent, step parent, grandparent, an in-law, or an aunt or uncle.  You may interview another family member or a friend, but it should be someone at least ten years older than you are.  The purpose of this essay assignment is for you to get a real world look at the impact of racial and ethnic identity on people’s lives, by having you discuss the topic with someone you know personally. This first essay is worth 10% of the final grade.

Use the assigned readings from the text (pp. 1-194) for background and context, and conduct the interview using the following questions:

  1. How would you describe your racial category? Is race any different from ethnic background, in your opinion? How, if so?
  2. When you were in grade school, did you play with kids of a different race from you? Or were your friends of your same race?
  3. Did your parents express their views about different races? For example, if you dated someone of a different race, did (or would) your family approve or object?
  4. Have any of your experiences changed your views on race? If so, how?
  5. Do you think your race had anything to do with the kinds of career choices that were expected for you when you were growing up?  How about for when your parents were growing up?  Have expectations changed?

Conclude your essay with a discussion of your reaction to the answers you got.  What is your opinion of your interviewee’s ideas?  Do you agree or disagree?  Why?

Important Instructions:

Include a brief description of who the person is in the introduction of your interview.  You should create the essay out of the person’s answers – do not simply record the interview in a Question and Answer style.

You must be careful to PROOFREAD as well as spell check.  Spell check will not pick up the difference between words like *woman* and *women*, or *lose* and *loose*.    These two typos are the worst. 😉

Essay Length, Style, and How it is Graded:

The essay should be at least 2-3 pages long, doublespaced.    Be sure that your font is no larger than size 12, and that your margins are no larger than 1″ (inch).  If you choose to use the font Courier New, your font size should be no larger than 10.  The essay will be assessed on how well you discuss the questions above in relation to the themes of our course.    Please see the Grading Standards to see what counts for an A, a B, a C, a D, and an F.


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