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Effects of the U.S. Government Shutdown on the African-American Communities Critical Essay


The U.S. government shutdown that occurred between October 1 and October 16, 2013 had a significant effect on many populations. The shutdown affected African-Americans significantly as it shutdown led to deprivation of a number of services offered by the federal government. In many cases, Blacks comprise a huge population that depends on government support.

Jobs within the federal government are also considered as secure employment, thus many individuals who are public servants have an increased sense of security. However, the shutdown had a significant effect on African-Americans because many Blacks could not access various federal government programs and salaries.

Purposes and claims that two authors make about the shutdown

The first claims on the effects of the shutdown are made by Breanna Edwards in, “The Shutdown’s Impact on Blacks.” The author is able to describe the various problems that were faced by Blacks due to the shutdown. The federal government was affected by the shutdown for several days, leading to an increase in problems within the African-American community.

Furloughed workers who were black were affected grossly. These are the workers who were forced to go on a temporary leave due to the shutdown. Blacks gained economically after the civil rights campaigns. Federal jobs provided opportunities for many of the Blacks and a chance to fight discrimination.

Thus, many Blacks have taken up federal jobs as civil servants. Blacks were, therefore, affected significantly after the government shutdown. Many of them were furloughed and could not be paid.

Many Blacks are also registered in various programs within the country because many of them are low income families that require the assistance of the federal government to support them. These programs range from social, nutritional, and health.

Thus, African-Americans could not access these programs because federal grants were not availed beginning October 1, 2013. Without a budget, these programs would not receive financial support from the government. Blacks were also affected since the kindergarten classes that were scheduled to occur during the first week of October were cancelled.

From a survey that was conducted, over 29 percent of Blacks are registered for the kindergarten programs. Many African-American children were affected by the shutdown because they could not attend school.

The second author is Farah Ahmad. She uses a newspaper article to provide information on how the shutdown had an impact on people of color. In her article, she describes how the media became more interested about the services that would not function as a result of the shutdown. Thus, the effects of the shutdown on the colored community were ignored or not considered at all.

In reality, people of color were affected more by the shutdown because many of them work in federal jobs. Soldiers, who comprise almost half of the federal employees, still received their pay. The rest of the employees were comprised of Asians, African Americans, and Hispanics.

Despite making up 13 percent of the US population, Blacks consist of 18 percent of the federal workers because many federal jobs have been made available to them in comparison to jobs in the private sector.

Arguments in a rhetorical situation

The issues addressed by Edwards are dependent on the problems that specifically affected African-Americans during the shutdown. Many of the African-Americans were negatively affected because they depended on the federal government or a number of services. Many African-Americans have been able to find middle-level income jobs and have grown economically.

This is attributed to federal jobs that Blacks have an easier access to now. Despite this, there are various weaknesses in the author’s work. She lacks distinctive information to describe how Blacks were impacted by the shutdown. Thus, her article was continuous and updated constantly once important information was available (Edwards para 5).

Edwards’ article was directed at African-Americans because they comprise the main readership of the news article within the website. The article was published a day after the shutdown on a website titled, “The Root”, which is dedicated to issues affecting African-Americans.

Ahmad provides a description of how the shutdown affected all people of color. Mainstream media were yet to realize that federal workers were affected more by the shutdown in comparison to the larger population.

These workers did not receive their pay during the shutdown, thus they lacked the finances to access basic needs and facilities. Most federal workers who had gone for temporary leave due to the shutdown were the colored because federal workers are people of color and government jobs are easier for Blacks to access in comparison to private jobs.

The shortcoming with the author’s work is that she was not able to determine the impact of the shutdown beyond federal jobs. Thus, she did not provide convincing evidence on how Blacks were affected in other aspects of the economy, besides the federal job market. Despite this, the author had informative resources that showed how colored workers were affected by the shutdown.

She went on further to show the impact the shutdown had within various states. Ahmad was writing for the general audience. Her article described the problems faced by colored people in general and not just Blacks. Ahmad’s article was published ten days after the beginning of the shutdown

Appeals put forth by the writers

The appeals advanced by Edwards are effective ethically, logically, and emotionally. The article is from a website that discusses issues that affect the general Black community. Thus, the factors discussed are emotional in nature. The target audience is also African-American as the content within the website addresses the different issues affecting Blacks.

The author talks about the Head Start program, an initiative that allows children from poor families to attend school. This is an emotional subject because education is a major variable that determines success in life. It arouses sad emotions on its readers. Many African-American children were affected because a significant number of them depend on the Head Start program.

Ethically, the article focused on the issues that specifically affect African-Americans. Edward’s article was also characterized by logical (logos) appeal. It is based on reason, making it easier to convince the reader. She constantly updated the article as changes related to the government shutdown occurred.

Thus, the reader could see the chronological order of events and predict the impact of the shutdown on the larger population (Edwards para 2).

Ahmad’s article lacks an emotional (pathos) appeal because the language choice is general in nature. The author describes the problems that affected the larger colored community. All races and ethnicity were considered by the author. Despite this, Ahmad’s article is characterized by an effective logical appeal.

She was able to state the issues by providing statistical evidence on the impact of the shutdown. Thus, it was easier to establish the consequences of the government shutdown and who was negatively affected.

The article also has an ethical (ethos) appeal. The author, being a political scientist, is considered to be a credible source of information. Many African-Americans have been discriminated when it comes to private jobs. The data provided has shown that a large number of African-Americans are employed by the federal government due to the principles that guide the federal job markets.

Job opportunities for colored people are far much higher in this case. Thus, the article has shown, ethically, the problems that exist within the American society, leading to lack of opportunities for Blacks (Ahmad para 5).

Evaluation of arguments

Edwards’ arguments are more applicable in describing the effects of the government shutdown on the Blacks. She described how the various programs that Blacks depend on would no longer function normally. For instance, the Head Start program was cancelled in New York due to lack of funding. Moreover, many Blacks could not receive their pay because a high percentage worked as civil servants.

On the other hand, Ahmad’s article only covers the general consequences of the government shutdown. The article did not consider African-Americans in specific; instead, it considered the entire colored population within the US. It also contained links that a reader could use to obtain more information on the subject.

Edward’s arguments are more fitting because they cater for all the effects of the government shutdown. The article was able to show how African-American communities were specifically affected by the shutdown. Thus, the author satisfies the reader better since she described all the problems that would arise amongst African –Americans due to the shutdown.


The government shutdown affected the American government negatively. Many people employed by the federal government would not access their salaries, besides the loss of revenue. A lot of federal employees were furloughed, while others remained working but with no pay.

A significant number of those affected were African-Americans. Thus, both authors were able to present detailed arguments on the effects of the shutdown on African-Americans.

Works Cited

Ahmad, Farah. “The Impact of the Government Shutdown on People of Color.” Center for American Progress, 10 October 2013. Web.

Edwards, Breanna. “The Shutdown’s Impact on Blacks.” The Roots, 5 October 2013. Web.

This Critical Essay on Effects of the U.S. Government Shutdown on the African-American Communities was written and submitted by user Jaelynn W. to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Jaelynn W. studied at the University of St. Thomas, USA, with average GPA 3.09 out of 4.0.

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W., J. (2019, December 29). Effects of the U.S. Government Shutdown on the African-American Communities [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Work Cited

W., Jaelynn. "Effects of the U.S. Government Shutdown on the African-American Communities." IvyPanda, 29 Dec. 2019,

1. Jaelynn W. "Effects of the U.S. Government Shutdown on the African-American Communities." IvyPanda (blog), December 29, 2019.


W., Jaelynn. "Effects of the U.S. Government Shutdown on the African-American Communities." IvyPanda (blog), December 29, 2019.


W., Jaelynn. 2019. "Effects of the U.S. Government Shutdown on the African-American Communities." IvyPanda (blog), December 29, 2019.


W., J. (2019) 'Effects of the U.S. Government Shutdown on the African-American Communities'. IvyPanda, 29 December.

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