Social Issues Essay Topics

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Getting students writing about social issues can be an exciting way to ignite their interests while keeping them engaged in the writing process. These topics will help move your students' writing along toward increasingly meaningful and sophisticated processes and products.

Writing About Social Issues

Sometimes, students do their best, most passionate writing when they are allowed to write about issues that really matter to them and to the people they care about. Social issues can grab students' interest and really get them thinking on a deep level. As you choose social issues essay topics, it is important to be mindful of controversy and the need to justify viewpoints with evidence. This does not mean you should shy away from complicated topics, though; instead, teach students how to write careful and well-crafted works that express their opinions and support them with facts. The topics in this lesson will help your students think and write about a variety of social issues.

Essay Topics About Race

  • Write an essay that defines the concept of racism. What is it, and how has it played out in history? How does racism affect people's lives today? Who is vulnerable to racism, and why?
  • Try to persuade someone who might disagree with you about three things they can do to address racism today. In your persuasive essay, be specific and concrete about each strategy and the difference it can make.
  • In this essay, write about the ways that racism is similar to and different from another kind of prejudice, like sexism or homophobia. Describe ways that all forms of prejudice and bias are or are not interconnected in your point of view.
  • Read a contemporary news article that addresses issues of race and/or racism. In your essay, summarize the article and comment on its perspective from your own point of view, using what you know and believe about race.

Essay Topics About Sex and Gender

  • Write an essay that defines the concept of 'gender' in your own terms. What is gender? How do people come to understand what gender is? What are some ways gender plays out in daily life?
  • Think about the argument some people might make that feminism completed its work and sexism is no longer a relevant social issue. In your essay, agree or disagree with this statement, using specific examples to illustrate your point.
  • Describe a time that you have seen or heard stereotypes used with respect to LGBT people. Your essay should explain exactly what happened, how you felt about it, and what your opinion about the stereotype you heard is.

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