Zariah Embry

A Reflective Letter

Zariah Embry


I was able to achieve each learning outcome with the creation of my curated Exhibit. The portfolio acts mainly as a guide to how I improved my writing to the point that I created the exhibit. In this manner, this reflective will mention many excerpts and details from the exhibit in addition to mentioning how they were reflected in the portfolio. The exhibit, “Black Culture, Makes Change,” explored the impacts of Black Music, Dance, Visual Arts, Prayer, and Education on social justice movements in the past and on into the present. The goal of this exhibit was to then inspire people of all ethnicities and backgrounds to get behind current social justice issues to further increase the impacts of these movements. Because of the large scale of my exhibit, it was not difficult to incorporate each outcome in this one assignment.

The first outcome was to be able to “compose texts in multiple genres, using multiple modes with attention to rhetorical situations.” The nature of the assignment made this goal easily achieved. My array of artifacts I used includes lyric videos, music videos, live performance, lines from a play, an etching, cartoons, and photographs. The variety was reflected in the portfolio by way of the group labels I had decided to create early on in the process of the exhibit proposal. The cultural aspects almost demanded that multimedia be used because they are so diverse. This variety gave the audience new experiences with almost each artifact to hold their interest to best convey my message.

The second outcome I will address is undertaking scholarly inquiry and producing my own arguments as well as synthesizing and analyzing the ideas of others. The portion that involves the ideas of others is slightly more complicated to achieve with just the portfolio. For this outcome, I will step back and address how I even created the curated exhibit. The varying shades of brown are meant to add significance to the order of mini exhibits which include the following: Music, Dance, Visual Art, Prayer and Education. This order represents each aspect’s increasing ability to influence the white opinions in regards to the black communities. Many genres like Jazz and Rock’n Roll have roots in black music. Although this aspect of black culture continues to music on a global scale, music has less of an impact on fighting the stereotypes. Dance is similar to music as far as impact on public opinion; it surpasses music because in my definition of dance I include marches such as those from the Civil Rights movement. Art has had more influence because it showed another side of black culture. Black art provides the opportunity for members of the community to take back the heritage and showcase the culture that was largely overshadowed by blackface and “The Happy Slave” caricatures. The impact of black art has been augmented because it is presented in museums nationally and abroad; catching the attention of more than just the black communities. Prayer is so important to influencing white opinions because prayer and religion are often a commonality between the two communities. It was one of the original missions of slave traders and owners to strip the Africans of their original culture and to convert them to Christianity. Because Black Americans are able to fight back against the “religious justifications” for slavery and white supremacy with the passages from the same religious text, their ability to enlighten and change opinions increases. The last aspect listed is Education because as Carter G. Woodson stated, “When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.” In this quote, Woodson is calling for Black people to become more educated rather than accepting the information fed to them. The information taught at this time supported white supremacy and described any fight against it as hopeless. Although the education system has improved, Black history and culture is still not part of a general curriculum; African American Studies courses are taken mainly by minorities which neglects to educate white students about a culture they only know based on generalizations and the media. Education is the key to breaking down stereotypes and evoking change. This analysis of my own exhibit includes the synthesis of other’s ideas that were required for its completion. The aspects of the exhibit were developed in the progression of improvement described in my portfolio. I analyzed them more for the purpose of this outcome to depict how I also evaluated the ideas of others.

The third outcome of writing as a process with research, drafting, revision, editing and reflection were quite evident in all aspects of my writing, especially the portfolio. The entire premise of my portfolio was to take into account the research I started with to then develop the drafts that lead to the final exhibit and reflection in the narrative essay.

The fourth outcome was problem solving and reflection metacognition. This was also quite simple to achieve because in order to make the improvements noted in the portfolio I had to figure out the shortcomings of the earlier drafts. The “problem solving” enabled me to develop the idea of mini exhibits as well as a persona for the narrative essay conducive to a more in depth analysis.