Create an informative public information piece that presents research on institutional discrimination within a specific social institution.
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:
- Competency 1: Describe theoretical ideas of power in relation to policy.
- Create an effective public information piece that conveys a clear, cohesive message about institutional inequality.
- Competency 2: Identify historical and contemporary influences of discrimination in U.S. culture.
- Analyze data on the factors contributing to racial, ethnic, or other disparities within a specific institution to make valid sociological arguments.
- Competency 3: Analyze the effects of social policy using aggregated data.
- Explain ways in which public policies are linked to racial, ethnic, or other disparities within a specific institution.
- Competency 4: Analyze how laws are applied or created based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, and social class.
- Assess the impact of institutional discrimination on minorities and minority communities.
- Competency 5: Apply diversity strategies in professional, educational, and personal contexts.
- Describe policy strategies for reducing institutional discrimination.
- Competency 6: Apply in text the standard writing conventions for the discipline, including structure, voice, person, tone, and citation formatting.
- Write coherently to support a central idea in appropriate format and with few errors of grammar, usage, and mechanics.
Often, discrimination is discussed as a primarily individual phenomenon—one-on-one actions in which one person discriminates against another. But as you have learned through your studies and research, some discrimination occurs at the institutional level, despite laws and policies that have been created to reduce or eliminate structural racism.
It is important to consider how different experiences for minority groups may reflect a dominant culture that practices systemic discrimination in terms of treatment or access to valued resources. In other words, if there are many individuals in a society who are not racist or discriminatory, can the same also be said of the institutions in U.S. society as a whole? Often, institutional discrimination involves the intersection of race or ethnicity with other variables, like social class and gender. For example, patterns of residential segregation may be connected to both race and ethnicity, as well as socioeconomic status.
As you prepare to complete this assessment, you may want to think about other related issues to deepen your understanding or broaden your viewpoint. You are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of your professional community. Note that these questions are for your own development and exploration and do not need to be completed or submitted as part of your assessment.
- What are some examples of institutional discrimination in U.S. society? To what extent are these examples the result of historical patterns of relationships between whites and minorities or among upper, middle, or lower classes?
- Why do discussions of discrimination often focus on individual acts of discrimination rather than systemic discrimination built into institutions like the education or health care systems?
- What factors, in the justice system, explain why certain racial or ethnic groups are more likely to be stopped, searched, or arrested by the police? What is the connection between policing strategies and incarceration rates?
Building on the reading, research, and analysis you have done in the previous assessments, this final assessment asks you to more closely examine the causes and consequences of discrimination that occurs within one of society’s core institutions. For this assessment, you will explore both the causes and consequences of institutionalized discrimination, from the perspective of the individuals it directly affects, the institution you have chosen, and society as a whole.
To complete this assessment, presume that you work for a think tank that conducts and publishes social and economic research to inform economic decisions and local, state, and federal policy making. Your manager asks you and the other members of your team to create a public information piece based on research and analysis of the prevalence and persistence of discrimination in a particular social institution.
First, choose one of the following major institutions for this assessment: criminal justice system, health care system, educational system, housing market, or the U.S. workplace. Then complete the following:
- Research institutional discrimination in your chosen institution, locating reliable, scholarly sources. Examples are provided in the Resources for this assessment.
- Choose one of the following public information pieces in the list below. It is your job to create a public information piece that highlights your findings regarding inequities (based on race, ethnicity, religion, age, disability status, or sexual orientation) within your chosen institution. You will need to support your conclusions with credible data and scholarly research, rather than relying on opinion, and demonstrate your ability to apply sociological thinking to your topic.
- Information booklet targeted to the general public.
- Position paper or brief targeted at state or federal legislators.
- Mock website or blog.
- Public service announcement (a script for a radio or television program).
- PowerPoint presentation targeted to a specific audience, with a description of the audience and detailed speaker’s notes (in PowerPoint, use the Notes area below each slide to provide speaker’s notes and explain the information on your slides in more detail).
- A recorded speech to be given at a national meeting of practitioners who work in the institution you are researching. If you choose this option, include your script and references in a Word document along with your audio file.
- Create a final, professional-quality product in which you accomplish the following:
- Create a public information piece that effectively conveys the causes and consequences of the problem of institutional discrimination in one of society’s major institutions, with support from data and scholarly sources.
- Describe factors contributing to racial, ethnic, or other forms of inequality within a specific institution.
- Analyze data on the factors contributing to inequality in a specific institution.
- Keep in mind that, to be accurate in your assessment, you will need to look at raw data and percentages as well as to consider the data in relation to each racial or ethnic group’s percentage within the overall U.S. population.
- Explain ways in which public policies are linked to inequalities within a specific institution.
- Consider any historical or contemporary influences that may have contributed the disparities you have identified. Example: If you are studying institutional discrimination in the justice system, you would need to consider national policies such as the War on Drugs, as well as law enforcement policies.
- Assess the impact on minorities and minority communities caused by institutional discrimination within a specific institution.
- Describe specific, measurable policy strategies for reducing institutional discrimination.
- These can be community based, legislative (at the local, state, or federal level), or law enforcement strategies.
- These strategies should focus on institutional policies, not individual solutions.