Describe your racial-ethnic identity. Explain how you developed an understanding of who you are in terms of your racial and ethnic identity.

General: Write at least 3-3.5 pages, double space. Give essay a title. Use 1-inch margins all around and font Times New Roman, size 12, or similar. The grade will be based on these criteria:
• Being thoughtful, detailed, and analytical in your reflection
• Support your statements with evidence: personal examples and/or evidence from reading(s)
• Apply concepts (e.g. optional, non-optional ethnicity) from the reading correctly
• Write carefully:
• title essay to announce topic to the reader
• begin with an introductory statement that announces focus and purpose of essay
• write well-structured paragraphs (transition from one paragraph to the next, topic sentence, 3-4 supporting sentences that discuss ideas and evidence, concluding sentence that is also a transition for the next paragraph) and write clear sentences. Read writing outload to make sure the language is clear.
• conclude essay with a summary statement of major ideas explored and what you learned in the process,
• number pages, revise at least once, and proofread (check spelling and grammar)
Question for Reflection Essay #1.
Read Mary Waters, “Optional Ethnicities” and write a reflection essay on your racial-ethnic identity. Water posits that the fundamental difference between the two types of racial-ethnic identities is that one, the optional ethnicity, comes with no social consequences in U.S. society. Evaluate Water’s argument by applying her ideas to your personal experience.
Answer the questions below as best you can in your reflection. Begin with an introductory paragraph and then answer points 1 to 4.
• Describe your racial-ethnic identity. Explain how you developed an understanding of who you are in terms of your racial and ethnic identity. Refer to individuals, experiences, and cultural practices that have shaped your racial-ethnic identity. (2 paragraphs)
• Do you have an optional or non-optional ethnicity? Explain your answer by applying Water’s theory of optional or non-optional ethnicity. Demonstrate that you understand the important distinction between the two concepts. (1 paragraph)
• How has your racial-ethnic identity predisposed you to advantages and disadvantages in society? Discuss personal examples of unrestricted and restricted access to societal opportunities, instances of subtle (i.e. microaggressions) or overt forms of discrimination, being visible or invisible, and experiencing a complete sense of belonging and safety. Discuss 2 to 3 examples of any combination. (2 paragraphs)
• In answering this question, you can discuss your other identity positions and how these intersect with your racial-ethnic identity. For example, the way you experience your racial-ethnic identity is complicated by your class, gender, sexuality, ability identities, and religion among other social positions.
• What did you learn about your racial-ethnic identity when you applied Water’s concepts of optional and non-optional ethnicities? Which parts of her argument do you agree with, which parts raise questions for you? Explain. (1 paragraph/conclusion)
Personal Experiences- I am a mixed african american male who grew up with only my white side of family, which is my moms side. I never met my fathers side of the family so it was tough at times not sticking out at family events since i was the only be=rown skin at the get togethers most of the time. It was not easy at a young age because i had so many questions about my ethnic background.

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