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My Argument Style

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My dad and I at a sorority event last spring.

The last time I had an argument was today, actually. I was arguing with my mother about what extra class I should add to my schedule for this semester. She insisted that I take a Kinesiology class, but I argued that I should take Geography in order to finish my Social Science General Education requirements. I was trying to convince her that taking Geography would be easier for me because of my course load this semester. I reminded her that I was already taking very difficult classes which would allow Geography to boost my GPA because people have described it as an easy course. This eventually persuaded her to let me take the class.

Most of the arguments that I engage in are similar to this style of argument. I would say I identify more with the consensual argument style because I would rather hear other people’s opinions in order to come to an agreement. I am not a very confrontational person, so cooperating on ideas and views has always been my preference.

I believe my consensual style of argument has mostly to do with the way I was raised. My parents have both never been very confrontational with me or in general. Whenever they disagreed with me, we would always have a discussion, and they would let me share my view or opinion with them. We would rarely get into a heated argument that involved a lot of yelling. It was always very relaxed, and it usually led to a mutual agreement between all of us. My close friends have, also, shared my consensual argument style which has made our arguments seem more like a group effort rather than an “I’m right, you’re wrong” situation.

The best parts about having a consensual argument style arguing are that it is less aggressive and lets me have an open mind about others’ views. This allows me to look at a situation a different way in order to have a more open mind. The only thing I would like to change is being more compelling about opinions that I feel strongly about. I need to let the other person know that my personal opinion is very important to me and that I’m less willing to cooperate with theirs. I can become more adversarial when arguing by being more resistant to accepting others’ views. I would like to, instead, become more persuasive in arguing for my opinions and views in order to influence the other person to agree with me.

My Backpack

 

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My backpack filled with intangibles.

 

The first thing in my backpack is my family. They are my biggest supporters, and I don’t know where I would be without them. The next thing in my backpack is my friends. I know I can go to them for anything, and they constantly motivate me to be the best person I can be. Next, I put LSU in my backpack. This university has given me so many opportunities, and I have had so many wonderful experiences here. I will always cherish the memories that I have made and will continue to make here. Lastly, I have included the movie The Blind Side. This course has pushed me to explore the issue of homelessness on a deeper level than I ever had before. It made me realize how serious of an issue homelessness is in today’s society and how blessed I am to have a home and a family who loves and supports me. Everything in my backpack has made me the person I am today, and I am so grateful to have these things in my life.

Emphasizing the Homeless Youth in Tennessee

 

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A movie still from The Blind Side of Michael Oher walking through Hurt Village.

There is never a day that I drive down my city’s main streets that I don’t witness at least three or more homeless individuals all on different corners begging for money. What has happened to their families? Do they have children, and if so, where are they? The major societal issue of child homelessness in America, specifically in Memphis, Tennessee, is adequately displayed in the film The Blind Side. This movie retells the true story of NFL football player Michael Oher (played by Quinton Aaron) who grew up in a broken home and was forced into homelessness at a young age. It wasn’t until Leigh Anne Tuohy (played by Sandra Bullock) and her family decide to welcome Michael into their home that he has a chance at a good education and can cultivate his desire for a football career. While The Blind Side leaves the audience feeling uplifted and inspired by Michael’s success story, the director John Lee Hancock brings in darker themes as he portrays the struggles that the homeless youth face in today’s society. Parenting, substance abuse, and education all influence the causes, effects, and severity of homelessness; The Blind Side’s dramatic plot effectively displays how homeless individuals are affected by these characteristics.

Many factors cause an individual or a family to become homeless. In The Blind Side, the prominent factors illustrated include poverty that stems from a lack of employment/education, substance abuse, and inadequate parenting. In a study that interviewed many homeless parents, it was found that leading causes of homelessness are “young pregnancies, multiple children, failure to complete schooling, drug or substance abuse, paternal abandonment, and unemployment” (Cassel 462). The Blind Side displays some, if not all, of these exact criteria. When Leigh Anne Tuohy tries to get information about Michael from the state department, they explain that he was only seven when he and his dozens of siblings were removed from their home because of their mother’s substance abuse. Many homeless families are supported by “single mothers struggling to raise small children and . . . Researchers estimate that about half of homeless children are under age 6” (Khadaroo). Michael was seven at the time he was taken from his home, closely representing the 50% of homeless children that are six years old or younger. Michael’s birth mother, Denise Oher, explained to Leigh Anne that Michael’s father left their family less than a week after the birth of his son. The Blind Side accurately emphasizes how child homelessness is prevalent within families that deal with paternal abandonment where the single mother fails to take care of her multiple children.

 

Fighting Injustice as a Minority

 

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A drawing of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a quote from “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

What does a community do when the lawmakers and authority figures governing them promote injustice? In Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” both writers discuss how their misguided governments respond to society’s problems. Thoreau describes an efficient government as one that doesn’t interfere and allows individuals to govern themselves. He sees his government as an unjust one because the majority has control over decisions affecting every citizen and uses force to punish the minorities that disagree. The government refuses to acknowledge its faults and ignores the desires of the minority. Thoreau calls for a peaceful revolution as a solution to the government-promoted injustice in which individuals should refuse to support the government and accept the consequences that result. Similar to this, King proposes nonviolent direct action which includes sit-ins, marches, and peaceful protests to force the government to respond to the racial injustices that occur in the city of Birmingham, Alabama. King accuses the government of supporting racial segregation through unjust laws that favor the majority. These unjust laws are upheld by the Birmingham police who reinforce the racial discrimination by abusing nonviolent black people. In both governments, immoral views and laws are promoted; Thoreau and King propose solutions so that one day their communities can be filled with equality and social justice.

 

Satire as Effective Argument

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Harry Golden, author of “The Vertical Negro Plan”

After reading both “The Vertical Negro Plan” by Harry Golden and “Left Handers” by Roger Guffey, I have concluded that Golden uses a more powerful ethical appeal. Golden explains the growing issue of segregation, and his response is “Permit me, therefore, to offer an idea for the consideration of the members of the regular sessions.” He takes a very non-aggressive approach to dealing with segregation, and he comes across as reasonable and fair to his readers which bolsters his proposals. Golden explains his plans in a competent manner. He successfully convinces readers to trust and support him when he states that “you save millions of dollars, to say nothing of eliminating forever any danger to our public education system upon which rests the destiny, hopes, and happiness of this society” as a result of his GOLDEN VERTICAL NEGRO PLAN. This statement strengthens Golden’s character by making readers believe that he has the society in his best interest. He doesn’t attack the idea of segregation; he courteously proposes three methods of eliminating it instead. On the other hand, Guffey’s attack on left-handed people comes off as arrogant and vicious. His use of harsh language when calling left-handed people “little perverts,” “a sick, twisted kind,” and “sickos” diminish his character and leave readers appalled. Because of this, Guffey fails to ethically appeal to readers making Golden’s essay much more effective.

Movie Review

 

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The movie poster for The Blind Side

 

John Lee Hancock’s movie The Blind Side shows how an individual’s position in society affects their opportunities and experiences. He emphasizes how children and adults who don’t have a solid support system miss out on many important events in life such as receiving a good education or getting a solid job. The Blind Side explores the negative side effects of living as a homeless young adult with no support system. Why does society ignore the ambitions and needs of the homeless youth? Why are homeless children less deserving of opportunities than children that are blessed with a supportive family?

 

Having lived in New Orleans my entire life, I have constantly been exposed to the homeless society. It seems as if a homeless person is standing at every corner; I constantly wonder what jobs they would have or what they would accomplish if they weren’t homeless. In high school, I had a friend that lived in a foster home with six other children. He emphasized how he struggled to get a job and stay in school because he felt that his foster parents really didn’t care about him enough and didn’t give him enough attention. I feel strongly about this issue because a child’s future shouldn’t have to depend on the family life that they have no control over.

 

I know that homelessness is a major issue that this country faces and that society looks at the homeless as less important and less worthy. I am aware that, generally, children and adults in the foster care system are sometimes overlooked and don’t always receive the proper attention and love as children with supportive families.

 

I need to learn more about how people become homeless and the situations that force people into homelessness. I also need to look more into how children in the foster care system are treated compared to children who have an actual family who cares about their needs and ambitions.

 

The Latest from the Feminist “Front” by Rush Limbaugh

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The symbol representing feminism.

I am arguing against Rush Limbaugh’s “The Latest from the Feminist ‘Front’” and his opinions on what modern day feminists believe. Most feminists believe that in this day and age, men and women should be treated as equals and deserve the same rights and opportunities as one another. Limbaugh believes that all feminists hate men and automatically accuse men of rape and harassment after they show interest in a woman. Limbaugh’s article seems to be strictly opinion based and gives no actual evidence to back up what he is arguing. I would say that today, women who are feminists are more concerned with fighting for social issues, such as equal pay, rather than trying to put men down in an attempt to make them afraid of “crossing the line” with women they show interest in.

Rush Limbaugh argues that feminists despise men because they believe all normal male behavior includes “harassment, near rape, abuse, and disrespect.” Feminists tend to accuse men of harassment whenever they simply show interest in a woman and “confuse men about what is right.” Feminists have also broadened the meaning of rape “by adding such adjectives as date and acquaintance” in an attempt to accuse men of additional crimes along with the actual rape. Limbaugh discusses the natural desire for men and women to be attracted to each other and how feminists have begun to confuse this “chase” with rape. He believes the feminist movement seeks to criminalize men’s actions in normal male-female interactions.

An assumption that I don’t agree with is Limbaugh’s opinion that “feminist leadership is basically anti-male.” While there are some extreme feminists who may think this way, most feminists are concerned with men and women having equal rights. Feminists don’t seek to take away any of the rights that men have out of spite or hate; they simply wish to be given the same rights and opportunities as them. I also don’t agree with his belief that feminists characterize a man’s “process of finding a mate” as rape. He believes that these women should look at men seeking to seduce and pursue them as “natural.” If a woman is uncomfortable when receiving unwanted attention from a man, she has every right to feel harassed. I’m sure if a man was correctly trying to “court” a woman, she would not claim that he raped her or even harassed her. Limbaugh makes claims based solely on his personal opinions while having no evidence to prove that these extreme assertions are true.