Racism In The Vietnam War Summary

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John Kerry utilizes powerful language to combat the depersonalization of the Vietnam War and effectively condemn the actions of the American government. He retains his credibility throughout his speech because he himself is a Vietnam War veteran, and no one knows better than them what really happened.
Kerry carefully chooses his words to demonstrate his personal connection to the subject of his speech. He does not shy away from the use of communal language such as the word “we.” This collectivism establishes the solidarity between veterans that his speech first highlights and reinforces Kerry’s ethos. In the very beginning of his speech, he calls attention to the symbolism of where he is and what he is doing. In this case especially, the speaker appealing to ethos is vital. The Vietnam War was the most televised war in history at the time, and the images seen in the people’s homes sparked outrage across America …show more content…

First, he mentions the dishonesty of a “one-sided idea of who was kept free” by the war if “the highest percentage of casualties” were African-American (15). Kerry made his speech during the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement, and he keeps it in mind when discussing the unfortunate state of veterans in America, particularly black veterans. Similarly, it doesn’t escape his notice that the war America is fighting in a third-world country is much more violent and inhumane than one fought in a European country. He accuses America of losing its “sense of morality” because of its apathy to corruption and massacres such as what happened in My Lai (16). Due to such destructive war tactics, Kerry says that “America placed a cheapness on the lives of” the Southeast Asians that they were fighting (17). Although the Vietnam War was ruinous for everyone, Kerry wants to highlight the disparity between the races when it comes to the devastation of

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