Sample for Claims about Fact or Definition

Excerpt was originally published in a Newsweek column entitled "A Case of Severe Bias".

In this short article, Patricia Raybon makes claims of both fact and definition when she argues that the news media's portrayal of black America is inaccurate, biased and stereotyped.

NOTE: This piece was published in a news magazine, and it was not constructed with the formal, academic essay in mind. For this reason, the author made stylistic decisions (such as liberally using 1st person pronouns) that students in Freshman Composition should not take when writing a formal academic argument paper.

This is who I am not. I am not a crack addict. I am not a welfare mother. I am not illiterate, I am not a prostitute. I have never been in jail. My children are not in gangs. My husband doesn't beat me. My home is not a tenement. None of these things defines who I am, nor do they describe the other black people I’ve known and worked with and loved and befriended over these 40 years of my life.
Nor does it describe most of black America, period.
Yet in the eyes of the American news media, this is what black America is: poor, criminal, addicted and dysfunctional. Indeed, media coverage of black America is so one sided, so imbalanced that the most victimized and hurting segment of the black community—a small segment, at best— is presented not as the exception but as the norm. It is an insidious practice, all the uglier for its blatancy.
In recent months, oftentimes in this very magazine, I have observed a steady offering of media reports on crack babies, gang warfare, violent youth, poverty and homelessness—and in most cases, the people featured in the photos and stories were black. At the same time, articles that discuss other aspects of American life—from home buying to medicine to technology to nutrition—rarely, if ever, show blacks playing a positive role, or for that matter, any role at all.
Day after day, week after week, this message—that black America is dysfunctional and unwhole—gets transmitted across the American landscape. Sadly as a result, America never learns the truth about what is actually a wonderful, vibrant, creative community of people.

This excerpt was taken from The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers, a Custom Edition by Stephen Reid