Rhetorical Analysis Of Malcolm X’S Speech “Ballot Or The Bullet”
Malcolm X, spoke at the Civil Rights meeting in Cleveland Ohio on April 3rd, 1964. Malcolm X’s goal was to convince African Americans of America that they needed to stand up for themselves and fight the American government. This leads him to give a powerful speech to African Americans as a whole. His “ballot or the bullet” speech was created to identify power African Americans had at this time and to motivate the audience to take action either by political systems, “The ballot” or civil rebellion, ”The bullet”.
Malcolm X begins his speech by conducting his political position. He delivers short statements reflecting his religion, “I’m still a Muslim” and his political viewpoint, “I’m a black Nationist Freedom Fighter”. He stated these clues at the beginning of the speech, and repeated the main points throughout the speech to gain trust from his audience. Within his speech Malcolm X uses a lot of dialect to get his points across.
One of the lines in the speech was, “That’s what we are Aficans who are in America. You’re nothing but Africans. Nothing but Africans.” He creates a photocopy to build attention on the fact that they may be living in an America where it’s the, “land of the free” but they are nothing more than Africans who are not free.
Malcolm X uses sarcasm when he refers to how America is such a free country, but still sing old spiritual songs the slaves sang in belief that they will someday be free. He shows that they are not violent and they are actually peaceful and not against the whites; they’re just against degradation. He uses the Rhetorical Strategies to provide emphasis for his argument.
In addition to creating sympathy with his audience from the beginning of the lecture, Malcolm uses statements that are planned to unify his audience and black community as a whole. “You don’t throw your political systems, the ballot, until you see a target. If that target is not within your reach, keep your ballot in your pocket.” Malcolm talks about the common fights and issues that plague the black community.
Some of the issues the black community faced during this time include segregation, Racism, Unfair treatment, Separate schools, riots, and jailing of blacks. Segregation was the most looked upon during this time period because it had the biggest impact on the African American community. Also during this time, blacks were separated from whites in schools different to get an education. Malcom X showed the audience these things to make the audience feel persuaded and ready to take action. He uses the things the black community has been through to influence them to rebel, in a respectful manner, against the unfair American government.
To close the essay , In the speech Malcolm X uses an unusual brand pathos, He uses aggressive and arousing statements in order to keep the audience in action. Malcolm’s use of warnings such as, “the ballot or the bullet” forces his listeners to make a definite choice. Even though his methods may anger or cause discomfort in people, His tone comes across at not only angry and frustrated but also pleading.
In conclusion, Malcolm X used his speech to motivate the blakc community to take action against the American government. He used the Rhetorical Strategies to get his auduince persuaded. His speech influenced the black community to stand up against the unfair American government.
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