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Learning Skills

\Example of Thesis Statement

The below is an example of a thesis statement.

Complete name of author and title of work

Sometime ago, on a visit to Berkeley California, I came across a bumper sticker I totally agree with: "Discover Columbus' legacy: 300 years of racism, oppression, and stolen land." In today's society, it seems that mainstream society often ignores racism, oppression, and theft. In actuality, "Columbus' legacy" continues. In her short story, "1933," Alice Walker confronts issues of racism, oppression and theft. Walker exposes racial appropriation, the act of taking another groups culture and claiming it as one's own. As a parody of music legend Elvis Priestly and tribute to song writer Gracie Mae Still, Walker confronts the racial appropriation of African-American music.

Brief plot summary

Walker writes about Gracie Mae, a working class, African American woman whose blues song is made a number one hit only after it is sung, rather appropriated, by Traynor, the "Emperor of Rock and Roll" (Walker, 2313). The implications behind the racial appropriation in "1933" involve more than one would suspect.

What

Traynor and Gracie Mae are representatives of society's power relations. Traynor represents white supremacist capitalist patriarchy while Gracie Mae represents the racial oppression capitalism perpetuates.

How

Thus, the struggle and survival of the African-American experience Gracie Mae describes in her songs are erased when they are sung by Traynor.

Why

Ultimately, racial appropriation is a racist weapon that fuels the capitalist system and subsequently, devalues culture and maintains the subordination of marginalized groups.

Adapted from the English 3 essay, "Capitalism and Oppression: An Analysis of Racial Appropriation in '1933' " by UCLA undergraduate David Whatley, January 24, 1997. 

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