Analysis essay Jia Tolentino, “Always Be Optimizing”& Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The First White President”

In their essays, both Tolentino and Coates examine how longstanding social inequalities—between men and women, and between black and white people—are maintained and perpetuated. Through their writing, both authors aim to illuminate the often hidden, or obscured, presence of incorrect assumptions and stereotypes in society. These assumptions or beliefs have long been circulated as myths, which function in maintaining the status quo – in keeping those in positions of power in power (whether they know it or not). Tolentino, through a series of personal stories, examines her own internalization of the “beauty myth” (p. 81), while Coates examines the internalization and use of the myth of “the virtuous [and victimized] white working class” (p. 80) by politicians and journalists.

Drawing specific idea rich passages from both texts, compose an original argument that responds to the following question: How do societal myths contribute to systemic issues in American society such as sexism and racism?(1300 words)

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