preview

The Ballot or the Bullet by Malcolm X Analysis

Satisfactory Essays
The purpose of this speech was to encourage African - Americans to stand up for their rights and vote, so that their voices will be heard. This was incredibly during that time period because even though slavery had been abolished nearly a hundred years earlier, African - American were still being undoubtedly oppressed by white Americans. He also wants his audience to consider what would be the most efficient way to make sure that their voices are heard, by using the democratic opportunities available to them, and voting, or by resorting to violence to gain attention. It should also be understood as a warning to white Americans, that if the black community do not receive the respect they deserve then they will choose to use violence against them. The speaker of this poem is Malcolm X who was an African - American human rights activist, he belongs to the religion of islam, and audience only knows this for it is one of the first things he says in his speech. However it does not affect his arguments and his speech in its entirety, and is stated to only be a religious belief that should not be mixed with political beliefs. Even though it apparent that the speaker is educated and eloquent, he portrays himself as being apart of the community that he is speaking to and states his arguments in a way that is easy to comprehend, as to make sure that the entire audience will understand what he is saying. The speaker’s tone throughout the speech is very aggressive and determined as he gets his arguments across. The audience in this case is a group of, most likely, young African - Americans. They seem to be not be as educated as the speaker, which is displayed by the speaker essentially over explaining his arguments so that they are comp... ... middle of paper ... ...t his ideas and arguments. For example, "Now in speaking like this, it doesn't mean that we're anti-white, but it does mean we're anti-exploitation, we're anti-degradation, we're anti-oppression. And if the white man doesn't want us to be anti-him, let him stop oppressing and exploiting and degrading us." The quote makes perfect sense, and is phrased in such a self-evident way that the audience feels obligated to agree. “The Ballot or the Bullet” was, and still is one of the most powerful and important speeches that has been written. Even though its dark and aggressive tone can be off-putting, it needs to be remembered, as it shows what a desperate time it was for the African - American community during that time. Furthermore it shows the power that words can have, how it can rouse a populace to take their lives into their own hands and change their destinies.
Get Access