Capella University Racial Discrimination Essay

Create a public information product of your choice that is based on data related to a diversity issue.  

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.

In this assessment, you examine how different experiences for minority groups may reflect a dominant culture that practices systemic discrimination in treatment or access to valued resources. You will examine the extent to which institutional discrimination occurs within a specific institution, such as the criminal justice system or the health care system. A key part of this assessment is incorporating data to support your analysis, something that is also integral to the work that sociologists do. You will also reflect upon and discuss feasible strategies for addressing the institutional inequality uncovered during your research.

Demonstration of Proficiency

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the course competencies through the following assessment scoring guide criteria:

Competency 1: Describe theoretical ideas of power in relation to policy.

Create a public information piece that conveys a central tenet regarding institutional inequality.

Competency 3: Analyze the effects of social policy using aggregated data.

  • Analyze data to make valid sociological inferences.

Competency 4: Analyze how laws are applied or created based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, and social class.

  • Describe factors contributing to racial and ethnic disparities within the criminal justice system.
  • Assess the impact that institutional discrimination within the justice system has had on minorities and minority communities.

Explain ways in which public policies are linked to racial and ethnic disparities within the criminal justice system.

  • Describe policy strategies for reducing institutional discrimination.
  • Competency 6: Communicate effectively.

Write coherently to support a central idea in appropriate format and with few errors of grammar, usage, and mechanics.

  • Instructions
  • This assessment asks you to demonstrate a deep understanding of institutional discrimination through both research and data analysis.
  • For the purposes of this assessment, you will assume that you are a consultant working for a bipartisan think tank studying one major institution: the criminal justice system, the health care system, the education system, the workplace, or the housing market. In particular, you have been asked to research and analyze the prevalence and persistence of institutionalized discrimination that is based on race and ethnicity. 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.
  • It is your job to create a public information piece that highlights your findings regarding racial and ethnic inequities 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.
  • The first step to prepare for this assessment is to research the topic of institutional discrimination in a specific institution, locating reliable, scholarly sources. Some suggested sources can be found in the Resources for this assessment.

Using scholarly research and data, support and communicate the position of a bipartisan think tank group by creating a public information product. The final product should convey the extent to which institutional policies and practices—in the justice system, in the education system, in health care, in the workplace, or in the housing market—disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minorities. Choose from one of the following public information pieces:

  • Information booklet targeted to the general public.

Position paper or brief targeted at state or federal legislators.

Mock web site 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.

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 speaker’s notes or script and references in a Word document along with your audio file.

The final, professional-quality product should accomplish the following:

Convey the causes and consequences of the problem of institutional discrimination in one of society’s major institutions.

  • Use formatting and design principles that are appropriate for your chosen product.
  • Include graphics—such as photos, charts, graphs, and figures—to enhance the presentation when appropriate.
  • Support your conclusions with data and scholarly research.
  • Describe and analyze data on racial and ethnic disparities in the chosen 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.
  • Discuss the extent to which policies at the local, state, and/or federal level have contributed to racial and ethnic disparities.

Consider any historical or contemporary influences that may have contributed the disparities you have identified.

As an 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 these disparities, along with institutional discrimination within your chosen institution more broadly, have had on racial and ethnic minorities and minority communities.
  • Present at least two potential solutions or strategies to combat the problems identified in your analysis.
  • These can be community-based, legislative (at the local, state, or federal level), or law-enforcement strategies.
  • These strategies should be focused on reducing institutional discrimination within the institution itself.
  • Additional Requirements

Written communication: Written communication is free of errors that detract from the overall message.

  • Length: The completed public information piece should contain at least 1,500 words. If you choose to record a speech, it should be a 10- to 15-minute speech.
  • Format: Cite your sources in current APA style and format, including a reference list at the end of your document or presentation along with in-text citations of your sources.

Sources: Cite at least one of the data sources provided in the Resources. Three additional scholarly sources are required.Resources: Data Sources

These charts show data on economic inequality in the United States.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016). Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed tables. Retrieved from…

The illicit drug use tables show use of drugs based on age and other demographics (including race or gender). The data here on race and drug use can be compared to the FBI data (above) on arrests for drug abuse violations by race.

This article examines the persistent of institutional discrimination against African Americans in the American justice system. For a more in-depth analysis, see Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

This article examines links between discrimination and educational achievement.

This PBS Frontline piece examines state responses to juvenile crime.

Davis, A. J. (2007). Racial fairness in the criminal justice system: The role of the prosecutor. Columbia Human Rights Law Review, 39(1), 202–232.

This article discusses the role of prosecutors in reducing racial disparities in the justice system.

Healey, J. F., Stepnick, A., & O’Brien, E. (2019). Race, ethnicity, gender, and class: The sociology of group conflict and change (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Available in the courseroom via the VitalSource Bookshelf link.

Several chapters in this text (Chapters 6–10) address institutional discrimination faced by various racial and ethnic groups. Discrimination based on gender and sexuality is covered in Chapters 11 and 12.

Matthew, D. B., Rodrigue, E., & Reeves, R. V. (2016, October 19). Time for justice: Tackling race inequalities in health and housing. Brookings. Retrieved from…

This research article discusses the difficulty of detecting subtle forms of racial and gender bias.

Pager, D., & Shepherd, H. (2008). The sociology of discrimination: Racial discrimination in employment, housing, credit, and consumer markets. U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from…

This article discusses racial inequality in employment, housing, and other social institutions.

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. (2015, March 4). Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department [PDF]. Retrieved from…

This report discusses institutional discrimination in the police department in Ferguson, Missouri.

Williams, D. R., & Mohammed, S. A. (2009). Discrimination and racial disparities in health: Evidence and needed research. U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from…

  • This report examines research on discrimination in the health care system.
  • FMG Video

The following video was purchased through Films Media Group for use in this Capella course. Any distribution of video content or associated links is prohibited. 

Race on Trial | Transcript.

This video examines racial bias and discrimination in the criminal justice system.

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