Exercise 16, p. 27 Braids and uniforms, Ms Susie Springer, Spencer College
Key idea: Ms Springer contends that the braided hairstyle for Sudanese girls is an expression of culture and they have the right to wear it.
(Negative) Key idea: Ms Springer criticises/condemns the school’s inflexible uniform policy because it fails to cater for cultural diversity. (it directly or indirectly stigmatises/ marginalises cultural minority groups) OR
(Positive) Key idea: Ms Springer recommends that Spencer school’s uniform policies must cater for the cultural (identity) needs of all students.
Argument techniques: recent real-life example of the South Sudanese girls to make an appeal to cultural diversity/individual rights/equality. The author uses these appeals to shame/isolate the principal and the school’s inflexible uniform policy. (Ms Spencer’s logic = the ban of the braids (A) = insensitivity (B))
Word level analysis: “smacks of intolerance and cultural insensitivity”; the rights of students “without being stigmatised”; principal’s comparison with the “braids of Bali holiday-makers”.
Putting together a paragraph:
Start with big picture (Argument topic sentence) : key idea; argument technique and purpose
Adopting an accusatory stance, Ms Springer criticises the school’s inflexible and out-dated uniform policy because, she believes, it does not respect the individual rights of all students. Using the real-life example of the African students, Ms Springer bases her criticism/argument on an appeal to cultural diversity. She thereby encourages all members of the school community to avoid intolerant and “culturally insensitive” attitudes. (Or, she challenges members of the school cohort to reflect upon their possible biases regarding cultural diversity.)
Moreover, based on these socially inclusive principles, she encourages all members to isolate (expose or marginalise) the principal whose actions “smack(s) of intolerance and cultural insensitivity” and which thereby create a stigma around certain migrant groups.
Work down to Word level analysis: quotes : add to purpose; be specific
Specifically, in an exasperated manner, she criticises the principal’s frivolous comparison between “braids of Bali holiday-makers” and the South Sudanese girls. All fair-minded members of the school fraternity are expected to recognise that this comparison fails to distinguish between the braids that are culturally significant, and those that are incidental identity markers.
Accordingly, (in doing so) she marginalises all those members of the school community who fail to support fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Universal Rights Declaration.