How do people become aware of their racial or ethnic differences? Can these differences be artificially constructed? These are the questions that many psychologists and educators try to examine in their studies. The promotion of diversity and multiculturalism in schools is an important task that educators are responsible for.
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However, as a result of these activities, color-blind children begin to pay more attention to race or ethnicity of their fellow students. This is one of the issues that Susan Konig explores in her essay They’ve Got to
Be Carefully Taught. In this paper, I will analyze this essay in terms of purpose, logos, pathos, logos and diction that make the writer’s arguments more convincing.
The main goal of this essay is to demonstrate that teachers can unwillingly highlight the racial, cultural, or ethnic differences among students, especially when they promote cultural diversity in schools. This purpose is not explicitly formulated, but Susan Konig does it showing how children, who know nothing about race, begin to speak about the color of a person’s skin, nationality, or ethnic background.
The author says that due to “the concentrated efforts of their teachers, these two-and three-year-olds are talking about things that separate rather than connect” (Konig 52). So, the purpose of this essay is reasonable. It can have significant implications for educators who remember that their efforts can often adverse effects. Overall, the intended readers of this essay can be parents and teachers who are responsible for the education of children and adolescents.
Susan Konig does not strongly rely on ethos in her essay; in other words she does not stress the idea that her opinions are authoritative; however, the writer mentions that she comes from a multi-cultural family (Konig 52). Overall, the word ethos is used to describe the strategies that an author employs in order to demonstrate his/her credibility. For instance, in some cases, writers or public speakers discuss their background knowledge or expertise.
In contrast, Susan Konig does not claim to be an expert in the field of education; instead she focuses on her experiences as a parent. It seems that this strategy is quite successful because Susan Konig’s ideas can be familiar to many parents who also have to speak about diversity in front of students. At such moment, many of them feel rather uncomfortable. This is why this essay appears to be very convincing.
One can say that the author uses logos or reasoning in order to elaborate her argument. In this case, the term logos can be interpreted as the appeal to the rationality of the reader. Susan Konig does it by showing how color-blind children can learn about such concepts as race or ethnicity at that moment when they do not have any knowledge of history or culture of the United States. Her arguments are mostly on her observations.
Susan Konig provides very convincing examples showing how the behavior of children is affected by the activities of teachers who promote multiculturalism and focus children’s attention to racial or ethnic characteristics of people. The author shows that these students begin to notice the differences in the color of their hair or skin (Konig 53). Overall, this approach makes this essay more convincing. So, one can say her writing strategies is quite successful.
It should be noted that Susan Konig does not attach much importance to pathos while explaining her views. The term pathos means that the writer appeals to the emotions of reader in order to make his/her point more convincing. Pathos is not an important component of this essay.
Certainly, she describes the astonishment of a parent who has to speak about culture or nationality in front of school children (Konig 52). Such experiences can be familiar to a great number of parents. Nevertheless, emotional element does not play an important part in this essay because Susan Konig pays more attention to reasoning, logic, and evidence, rather than feelings and emotions. This is the main distinction of this essay.
Susan Konig’s diction can be called informal or even colloquial because she does not want to sound too academic; however, one can still see that this essay has been written by an educated person.
For instance, it is possible to discuss the following sentence, “the little tots are being taught in no uncertain terms that their hair is different, their skin is different, and their parents come from different places” (Konig 51). This sentence indicates that Susan Konig does want her writing to be very formal. The diction helps the author appeal to parents and teachers who can be the intended readers of the essay.
Overall,the essay written by Susan Konig illustrates the pitfalls of promoting cultural diversity of schools. The author relies primarily on logos and diction in order to engage the reader. The ideas expressed in this work should be considered by educators who can unwillingly attract children’s attention to the rhetoric of race and ethnicity.
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Konig, Susan. “They’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.” Mirror on America:
Essays and Images from Popular Culture. Eds. Joan T. Mims and Elizabeth M. Nolen. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012. 51-53. Print.