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My blackness. Common Application Essay: Problem you'd like to solve - limiting circumstances

bosuegbu 4 / 8 2  
Dec 22, 2016   #1
Can I get some feedback on the content and grammar in my essay? I only have a little over a week to get this and my supplemental essays submitted!

Prompt: Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

My blackness

My blackness used to hit me like a truck when I walked into a room full of non-black people. Particularly when I lived in Georgia, my community had a good mix of white, black, and Latino demographics, but if I was the sole black person among a group of people, I noticed it immediately and, sometimes, felt out of place. As I grow more socially aware, I notice more and more the way that racial stereotypes and profiling have an indirectly negative impact on the way we see ourselves, particularly within the black community. Don't take me wrongly, I am fully aware that we don't live in the 50's anymore, and that it's very possible for black people to thrive in any aspect of society. This essay isn't a plea for pity; instead, it is an acknowledgement of the fact that racial stereotypes, profiling, and a long history of institutional neglect have made their wear and tear on the black community of today, especially on the motivation and achievement of our youth. In the future, I'd like to see more black youth step out of the bubble in which we're subconsciously placed, work against the school-to-prison pipeline, and defy the very stereotypes that tell us we're incompetent. As an African-American, and, more specifically, a Nigerian, I feel strongly about my responsibility to represent both communities well in everything that I do, from my future career, right down to effort I put into my classes.

Achieving highly doesn't mean that I want every black person to get a PhD in astrophysics, nor does it mean that we should ban fried chicken and watermelon. It means that we should strive to make the most of our circumstances, however limiting they may be. After being told for centuries that we're lazy, we're criminals, we're naturally inclined to be violent and unpredictable, etc., a cycle ensues: people that happen to be black are seen portraying these stereotypes, it becomes reinforced in society that this is a good representation of who black people are, and this subconsciously hinders a portion of the black community from thinking they "belong" in certain positions or that we could be anything greater than what our stereotypes tell us. Combined with the lack of representation in government, Hollywood, and other powerful industries, this is enough to redirect the aspirations of a young black student living in a poverty-stricken inner city area. Too often, their new aspirations can lead to less honorable ways of making a living, or not living up to the full potential they were made for.

Clearly, this cycle can't be easily broken; we can't force everyone to suddenly boost their work ethic overnight. I do, however, think that the most effective way to motivate the youth to achieve greater is for already high-achieving black students to empower those less motivated. It's without doubt that my own achievements wouldn't have been likely if I wasn't surrounded by other students, who look like me, push themselves forward in and outside of academics. Even Peer Mediation, a club I'm grateful to have been a part of at my previous school, is a great example of how guidance from high-achieving students can positively influence the behavior and awareness of an entire student population. If students within the black community in particular would imitate this system on a larger scale, the academic performance of black youth could soar, leading to much greater representation in all industries in the future and more motivation for the next generation of young black students. In order to prevent more young black girls from feeling like they don't belong in certain settings because of their race, we need to show society that we are capable of so much more than our stereotypes. We will not accept restriction, restraint, nor regulation based on them. Instead, we will be uplifted, successful, and purposeful despite them.

Word Count: 646

Osiremiza99 4 / 11 3  
Dec 22, 2016   #2
''My blackness'' is grammatically incorrect, try replacing with ''my colour or ''my skin''. ''My community had a good mix of white, black, and Latino demographics'', why don't you replace this sentence with ''My community consisted of people from different races''

I feel your essay is too wordy, you're saying a lot but you're not getting to the point. I feel you didn't study the essay prompt well enough. You did not describe in any way how the problem is significant to you or the steps taken to solve the problem. To be honest, I think you should write on a problem you have actually solved. Perhaps in your family, community, school etc.

There is no order in your essay. I cannot clearly point out a sentence where you discussed on how you would like to find a solution to the issue. Read your essay over and over again and tell me what you think. Imagine yourself as the admissions officer and what he/she would think about your essay. Your essay needs to be concise and be able to captivate the reader. I honestly think you should choose another topic to write on.

I look forward to reading your revision.
OP bosuegbu 4 / 8 2  
Dec 22, 2016   #3
Thank you so much for taking the time to read it and for your suggestions! Now that you said that, I do think the essay was not clear enough on the actual problem, solution, and significance. I tried to incorporate it without answering the questions too directly (i.e. "a problem I'd like to solve is how racial stereotypes in America negatively impact the achievement and motivation of black youth... it's significant to me because I haven't always felt comfortable being black and I feel a need to represent the black community well... it could be solved by increasing the academic achievement of black youth through high-achieving black students empowering those who aren't motivated"). I definitely see how it's lacking clear structure, and I probably elaborated on the actual problem more than I did the solution and significance.

Also I know the phrase "my blackness" is grammatically incorrect but it's a common phrase that's been coined through the recent black empowerment movement
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 10,311 3347  
Dec 23, 2016   #4
Breonna, rather than making a socio-political statement in this essay, you should be focusing your story on the possible solutions that can be implemented in an effort to solve the situation. Limit the discussion of the problem as best as you can because the topic has been overly discussed by the mainstream media over the past number of years. So explaining its current situation is not all too important to this essay anymore. Rather, you should focus one a single problem that plagues the black community and then try to present a possible solution to the problem or a solution that you have implemented for yourself. If we are to take a cue from the essay that you wrote, you can use the school to prison concept and show how you have overcome that ideology when everything about you says that you should be following that pattern by now. Remember the Black Cause is not something that can be easily resolved as it is a far reaching and complicated problem. However, you should be able to take a specific aspect of the environment, present the problem attached to it, and then offer a specific solution which is either hypothetical or something that you have already implemented for your self betterment.

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