Second Draft

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Second Draft

Postby BDChairman » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:36 pm

Here is the second draft of my PS, please read and give honest feedback. Thanks (Recently Edited)

“I'm not a role model... Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids.”- Charles Barkley

In 1993 NBA legend Charles Barkley caused a firestorm in the media by boldly asserting in a famous commercial for sportswear giant Nike “I'm not a role model.” Barkley rejected the notion that athletes should be positive examples for the youth; consequently he was sharply criticized for bucking the popular notion that due to their high level of media exposure, professional athletes should be wary of the influence they have on the youth. Although I tend to agree with Mr. Barkley's opinion, it is not difficult to understand why his argument was met with such harsh disapproval. In today's society, it is undeniable that athletes and entertainers, more often than not, serve as role models for the youth. Particularly within the Black community, the absence of Blacks in the corporate world, politics, academia and other fields leads many Black youth to look to successful figures in the spheres of sports and entertainment to find examples of achievement and success.

As a child, I was often ridiculed and ostracized by my Black classmates for talking and acting “White.” I found these insults incredibly puzzling. I didn’t comprehend why speaking properly or succeeding academically was categorized as “White” behavior. Growing up as a first generation American in an immigrant household, education was an absolute priority and my parents constantly emphasized the importance of academics in securing a successful future and standing out amongst the crowd.

I soon began to realize that the individuals who alienated me for acting “White”, speaking properly, and performing well in school did so primarily because they didn't view academics as an arena where Blacks could and should succeed. While Barkley correctly asserted that his ability to dominate the game of basketball shouldn’t require him to be a role model, his argument failed to recognize that images of Black individuals excelling in endeavors besides high profile sports or entertainment are rarely displayed in the media. Black youth grow up reading about predominately White civic leaders, watching predominately White CEOs and entrepreneurs on television, and often times being taught predominately by White teachers. While watching television, Black youth are more likely to see a Black man in handcuffs or cleats than in a suit and tie. I believe these factors lead young Black children to reject academics and focus on pursuits where they have been persuaded to believe they have a greater likelihood of finding success. For the past couple of years I have mentored students at the local Boys and Girls Club and at high schools in the Athens, GA area, and the majority of the children I have formed relationships with initially communicate a desire to be ball players, rappers, singers, actors and etc. Rarely do I speak with a child who aspires to be a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, or any other career requiring an advanced education.

From the time I was a young child, I wanted to be a lawyer. As a grade school student I noted that some of the most courageous and groundbreaking individuals in history were attorneys. Men like Thurgood Marshall, Clarence Darrow, and Johnnie Cochran were tough-minded and resilient advocates, who worked tirelessly to fight for the oppressed and mistreated, and their unbridled passion to excel as legal professionals was an inspiration. As I progressed through my education, I developed a passion for business and the financial markets. This sparked my interest in corporate law. Corporate law appealed to me because it is neither overly concerned with number crunching nor legal minutiae; instead it has an undeniable interdisciplinary focus where my knowledge of corporate finance, accounting, and economics will be invaluable. It is clear that the most successful corporate attorneys are able to understand complex financial transactions from their client’s point of view, and couple this technical understanding of their client’s objectives with their legal expertise to successfully advocate their clients’ interests. I am confident that my finance background and strong oral and written communication skills uniquely equip me for a successful career as a corporate attorney.

Equal to my hunger for professional achievement, is my desire to inspire Black youth to dedicate themselves to their academic pursuits, so that they may infiltrate law and other professions where Blacks remain severely underrepresented. I intend to continue to mentor Black children and have a hands-on role in the community for the rest of my life. In keeping with my goal, I strongly believe “to whom much is given, much is required.” I have been blessed with the opportunity to pursue an education and fulfill my dreams of becoming a lawyer. With this blessing, I firmly believe it is my responsibility to extend a helping hand to those trying to climb the ladder after me. I am confident that if Black students are exposed to high achieving professionals, who are willing to serve as their mentors and offer wisdom and guidance, then many more blacks will enter the professional world, and the achievement gap can be reduced. I am a role model.
Last edited by BDChairman on Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Second Draft

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:24 am

Consider rewriting the second sentence of the fourth paragraph because it seems to be contradictory. "Corporate law...; instead it...".

This is a well done PS & still convincing despite the fact that we have a black president & a black front-runner for the GOP nomination.

P.S. The opening quote is powerful & likely to attract interest.

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Re: Second Draft

Postby VyingDestiny » Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:09 pm

I felt compelled to post on this, because as another Black male, I am confused as to your overarching message.

If you want to inspire black kids, and you desire professional achievement, I just can't comprehend how the answer is corporate law.

To me, there is zero difference between a corporate lawyer and an NBA player, and this is the dichotomy your argument rests on.

If you were interested in the public sector, sure, but as it currently reads, your statement just says to me "I'm different from those black kids who made fun of me." And, that observation is implicit in you applying to law school.

A corporate lawyer who wants to be a role model is no different from an NBA player who wants to be a role model. They do it because they want to, not by virtue of their profession.

Again, this is just an intuitive response to what you've written. I wish you the best in your goals, which are quite admirable.

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Re: Second Draft

Postby jessie » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:20 pm

The opening quote would have been perfect if you were both a successful athlete and someone who wants to be a lawyer.
However, I think you do a remarkable job at transitioning your essay from talking about Charles Barkley to summarizing the theme of your essay.

I'm kind of torn, because that quote is really off-putting. But then I realize that because the quote is off-putting, it kind of makes your essay more impressive since you make it work for the message you're trying to bring across. I guess in the end I have to say I like it because it makes your essay stand out from all the essays that starts off with a stupid quote about adversity.

I like the message. You manage to write about it in a very concise way without actually summarizing the point: "Charles Barkley said he shouldn't be a role model just because he's an athlete. People say he's a role model automatically because he is famous and Black and kids don't have a lot of Black role models. I want to be a role model who is both Black and actually deserving of role-model status."

"While Barkley correctly ... rarely displayed in the media." I think that statement kind of contradicts himself because you are both agreeing and disagreeing with him on the same point.

I think you need to write a transition to tie the part of the essay where you talk about wanting to be a role model to a part about why you want to attend law school. I don't think you clearly show that you wanting to be a role model plays a role in why you want to become a lawyer. All it would take would be one sentence or two stating that you always wanted to be in on eof those careers you talked about "laywer, doctor, teacher" and then goes on to address how your interests and skills led you to pick lawyer. Currently, you just stop talking about one thing and then start talking about your interest in law and business, so it doesn't really connect.

I do like how you finish your PS with "I am a role model", directly tying your statement back to the quote at the beginning. Overall, I think your writing is very polished and flows well. You have a good sense of pacing in your writing and I you managed to keep my attention through the entire PS.

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Re: Second Draft

Postby BDChairman » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:55 pm

I appreciate the feedback, so from the responses I've received I take that I need to more clearly describe how my desire to be a Lawyer falls into my desire to be a positive role model. Furthermore, I take that I need a more appropriate transition into the paragraph describing my interest in corporate law.

Thank you everyone.

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