Malcolm X 'The Ballot Or The Bullet'

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The use of a variety of rhetorical strategies help to strengthen a speaker’s argument. In the speech “The Ballot or the Bullet,” Malcolm X uses the basic premises of the rhetorical situation, stasis theory, and the rhetorical appeals in order to emphasize the mistreatment and discrimination that African-American citizens have experienced. Throughout the speech, Malcolm X encourages black citizens to demand their right to vote as well as inspire them to be ready to take up arms if the government continues to deny their human rights. In this paper I will show that (X) through highlighting the hypocritical nature of American democracy, (Y) Malcolm X provokes feelings of anger (Z) in order to inspire his audience of African-American citizens to…show more content…
The stasis theory is a four-question writing process that investigates the facts of the argument, the meaning or nature of the issue, the seriousness of the issue, and the plan of action. In the stasis theory model, the conjecture arguments raise questions of existence in order to discover the root of a problem. For example, in this speech, Malcolm X blames the discrimination against African-American citizens on the white politicians who have failed them. He explains, “Uncle Sam’s hands are dripping with blood, dripping with the blood of the black man in this country.” The figure of “Uncle Sam” is representative of the American government. By saying that Uncle Sam’s hands are “dripping with the blood of the black man,” Malcolm X is emphasizing how the government has repeatedly disregarded the lives of African-American citizens. Even though the United States promotes equality and justice for all of its citizens, black Americans continue to be discriminated against and their rights are nonexistent. He continues on to emphasize the fact that the government refuses to help African-American citizens. He claims, “When you take your case to Washington D.C., you’re taking it to the criminal who is responsible … They’re all in cahoots together. They all work political chicanery and make you look like a chump before the eyes of the world.” According to Malcolm X, the government’s primary function of protecting its citizens seems to not apply to black Americans. Malcolm X emphasizes how African-American citizens are not able to get neither the American government nor the United Nations to hear their complaints. Since the government is made up of primarily white males, they have the power to ignore the mistreatment of minority groups and continue to treat them as inferior human beings and criminals. The use of conjecture
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