Rhetoric Analysis Paper Example: Nonviolence and Racial Justice

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University of Richmond
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The U.S has been for a long time known as the most diverse nation in the universe where the African-Americans have been looking forward to living in peace and tolerance. As a result, the country saw the rise of civil rights movements and activists who tried to establish a better living environment for the black people. Martin Luther King once said that discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them to lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the community dominating the (Malcolm 2). Martin Luther King was among the activists that fought for the rights of the Black people. Dr. King was an emotional, inspiring and influential speaker. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929, and grew up to be a Baptist minister and an activist beginning in the 1950s. Through his inspirational speeches, such as the Nonviolence and Racial Justice he was able to contribute in ending the legal segregation of the Black people living in the U.S. and the creation Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1964, he won the Noble Peace Prize among other honors. However, he was assassinated in 1964. Throughout the 1960s, Martin Luther King Jr. engaged in several civil rights protests, assisting the Black community to regain their rights. In the Nonviolence and Racial Justice, Luther King Jr. highlighted the theme of racial discrimination which was happening at that time, and it had a massive impact on the society as a whole and the use of nonviolent strategies by the Black people to regain equality. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the article at a time when the American society was experiencing an increased level of racial discrimination. He utilized rhetorical devices to communicate the message of justice, equality, and peace during the violent civil rights period. King stood up and inspired a country into action by masterfully using structure, ethos, pathos, and logos in his rhetoric to offer evidence to all Americans which I believe communicated the impact of racism and segregation to a nation that was meant to be peaceful and welcoming.

The most significant part of literary writing is the structure-something which is done extremely well by King in his book of the Nonviolence and Racial Justice by showing the plight of the black people, showing the non-violence path they have chosen to seek improved racial conditions and their hope for the future. A structure as defined by Haris (12) controls the major components of a narrative. In the initial part of the article, King incredibly paints an image of the Black people living in poor conditions with less fundamental rights. He indicates so, and the Plessy doctrine ended up plunging the Negro into the abyss of exploitation where he experienced the bleakness of nagging injustice (King 119). It implies the terrible plight of the Black people. King intended his structure to appeal to readers likely to read the article including an average White who harbor discriminative thoughts based on race, a Black person who is discriminated and the law enforcers as well as racist supremacists. He continues to give a message of hope to the Black people because he knows it is important.

Dr. King incredibly evokes emotional values of both the White and the Black people by using pathos. Pathos is an appeal to emotions or feelings which aim towards convincing an audience regarding an argument by creating an emotional response Candlin et al. (23). He uses pathos to affect the emotions of the readers regarding how the African-Americans felt inferior and not human throughout the American history. He also uses pathos when he talks about the Black people re-evaluating themselves. He says that Throughout the era of slavery the Negro was treated in an inhuman fashion. He was considered a thing to be used, not a person to be respected. He was merely a depersonalized cog in a vast plantation machine (King 118). He offers a sneak peek into the segregated life of the African-American since they were brought to Africa in 1619 to provide proof that he is speaking the truth. Inhuman fashion implies being separated based on ethnic background. Segregation represents a system that is prohibitive; it denies the Black people equal access to education, restaurants, public transportation, parks, libraries and voting rights. King uses pathos to indicate that the black populace needed desegregation. When the Black people started to reevaluate themselves, they seek to eliminate legal and social prohibitions. They strive to be integrated and be welcomed into the total range of human activities. King uses words that provoke emotions for the audience to realize that the African-American is a great calamity that requires immediate intervention. He says that the black people have been using peaceful ways to get freedom not because they are stupid, but because their environment is infested with poverty. While all the people around the Black-Americans are sailing in a boat of material prosperity, they languish in abject poverty with less fundamental rights. King writes his speech in a manner that the emotions will make the audience develop hatred towards racism. He offers a metaphor that shows an era in which the Black person was treated with less humanity. He was merely a depersonalized cog in a vast plantation machine (King 118). King demonstrates how the Black-Americans were poorly treated and how the White community looked down on them. Through this, the audience can understand the impunity expressed towards the Black people. The audience realizes their community is a desolated dark valley and when the society works towards ending racism, the American society will ascend onto the sunlit path of racial justice. He provokes the audience to experience emotions of shame towards the injustices faced by the Black community. He manages to paint a picture of hope in using non-violent means to achieve equality. Overall, King efficiently utilizes pathos which guides the feeling of the audience to along with his vision and making them empathize with the African-Americans, hates social injustices and fill the Black people with a hope of the same universe.

Other than Pathos, King uses ethos to make the reader think that the White people took away the rights of the Black person in the most despicable manner. Candlin et al. (20) define ethos as an appeal to morality or ethics, and it seeks to persuade the reader of the character or the credibility of the persuader. When the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Black man was not among the citizens of the U.S, he became a subject to mistreatment after possessing some authority before emancipation. It is true that for a time, while the army of occupation remained in the south and Reconstruction ruled, he had a brief period of eminence and political power. But he was quickly overwhelmed by the white majority (King 119). King implies that the White people were so evil to the extent of cutting off the capacity of the Black population to liberate, decide and respond to their situation. King used ethos to demonstrate how the White community restricted the deliberations of what the Black people did, where they lived, how much they earned, the kind of jobs they would do, and how they would survive. They were robbed of their essential characteristics of human beings. The only resemblance that the Black man had to real life is the motor responses and other features that are akin to people. Their ability to assume responsibility was made a party to a decision in which the Blacks were just a party. The reader can understand how a perceived moral society is immoral to its people. But there is still hope of being liberated through non-violent means.

To assist in in his rhetoric modes, King utilizes logos to communicate that people should have enough to love rather than hate. As indicated by Candlin et al. (4), logos are the logic behind an argument and supporting evidence. It is a persuasive technique to persuade a reader to a stated point of view. He uses logic as a form of reasoning, and he reasons that each person should understand humanity which helps the reader to relate to being offered a bad check. He says "Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate" (King 121). King implies that by envisioning the morality of love to the focus of human life, the society will be able to love. While offering the alternatives to non-violence means, King effectively uses logos to tell the White Americans why Non-violent ways to seek justice and improved racial conditions than violent means. He persuades the readers how non-violence means have been used in the generation of Mohandas k. Gandhi to free the Indian people from British Empire domination. He continues to support the non-violence method to equality by indicating that it is friendlier since it only opposes the evil and it is passive and uses non-aggressive means in the sense that people are not aggressive and hostile towards their enemies. His persuasion makes the reader understand that the Black people are mindful of others while humanely seeking peace and justice.

In summary, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote Nonviolence and Racial Justice to communicate the choices that the Black Americans have made in their struggle for racial justice, which is the use of non-violence ways. King also illustrates a structure that highlights the plight of the Blacks and their strategies to seek racial desegregation. He manages to convey his ideas through a rhetoric language to inspire an ethnic group that has not given up their struggles for equality and also tries to make the White people bitterly ashamed of their cruel actions towards the Black people. He demonstrates how the Black has chosen the path that does not seek to shame the enemy but to create friendship and understanding. They opt to be non-cooperative to legal laws that degrade them and boycott to awaken a sense of morality in the opponent. Kings efficient utilization of rhetoric devices such as pathos, ethos, and logos to communicate human solidarity reveals the reason why King's piece of writing has been able to gain significant interest in various fields of studies.

Works Cited

Candlin, Christopher N., Peter Crompton, and Basil Hatim. "Logos, Ethos, Pathos, and Logical Fallacies." Equinox Publishing (2015).

Harris, Robert A. Writing with clarity and style: A guide to rhetorical devices for contemporary writers. Taylor & Francis, 2016.

Malcolm, X. "Michael McLean July 18, 2008 APUSH Summer Essay."

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