Letting Them Down Easy

I’m nearing the end of my project and I’m not quite sure how to end it. I know this is a common issue, but the reason I’m finding it so difficult is because I’m offering up a problem without a solution. I’m pretty much saying: here’s what’s wrong with the world and there’s nothing you can do about it. I knew this going in, my peer review group was decided based on the fact that the three of us were talking about issues that we cannot solve. Surprisingly enough, that doesn’t make it any easier. So now I’m stuck trying to figure out what to do.

To give some details I’m approaching conflict from the angle that many things that are labeled conflicts are really just fights and fights and arguments are completely different things. To do this I’m doing a case study analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, giving a ton of context and then saying…none of this matters because it has become a power struggle. In my attempt at an introduction to the conclusion I’ve written this:

“So, what’s going to happen? What is the right solution? These are questions that have been considered time and time again by governments, grassroots organizations, and even people who follow the conflict from a distance. Can I say what is going to happen? Can this project? The answer is no. And that’s not the point of giving you all of this information. What I want you to see, and what I’m trying to see, is that all of this context exists and the conflict continues despite it.”

The problem is this is a lot of showing and not telling. And I do that a lot. I try to get my point across by saying “Hey, this is my point! Here you go!” But in reality that’s not the most effective way to write, and I know that. I’m stuck trying to figure out how to leave readers with the right message without saying…this is the right message.

An example of this and how I could have done it better is from a paper I wrote for a history class sophomore year. I ended it by saying:

“Take a look around while sitting in a classroom, walking through the diag, or even in the library and it is apparent the population here is predominantly white. I don’t think this has to do with any racism on the University’s part or even any explicitly present racism at all, instead there is a sense of structural racism based on unequal opportunities provided on the basis of race. If someone like Bernal had come along sooner the image of a university would be vastly different. The fact that people of color and minorities in general were put at such a disadvantage at a very early point in time caused a drastic and visually apparent inequality in modern day education systems. If the Aryan Model had never been created and the racism behind it’s development never accepted I think there would be no need for Affirmative Action programs, quotas, or any type of race based help.”

And I could’ve done this so much better. I could’ve described in detail the experience of walking through the diag, the absence of acknowledgement of race through a story rather than just saying “this is what you see.” I need to make sure I don’t take the easy way out and give an unoriginal statement at the end of this semester-long project. I want to paint a picture in the minds of my readers that they can take with them and call upon whenever a question like the one I posed arises.

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