Rhetorical Analysis Of A Talk To Teachers

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James Baldwin wrote “A Talk to Teachers” in the early 1960s for the purpose of publicizing the “current”, “very dangerous…menace” that plagues our country - our educational system. As Baldwin develops his argument, he utilizes various historical prejudices that have been criminally ignored in the classroom and the effects that these lies have had on our society as a whole. To him, hiding our country’s scars threatens our nation as the majority of that generation grows up ignorant and complacent - a generation that “will simply obey the rules of society”. History has shown that if people fail to fight for the truth and fail to fight for change, then our “society [will] perish.” Through various examples, Baldwin illustrates that the only way …show more content…

African Americans and there Caucasian classmates were taught from a young age to develop a sense of pride and devotion to America, reciting the pledge of allegiance daily and learning about our courageous and heroic Founding Fathers. At the same time, the African American students were also brainwashed into believing that their ancestors “have never contributed anything to civilization” and were “nothing more than a record of humiliations gladly endured.” Growing up with these corrupt lies negatively impacted their future. Plagued with the idea that African Americans were somewhat worthless, society shunned them and “all the doors of opportunity [were] slammed in [their] face”. This pigeonholed their ability to qualify for jobs, restricting them to simple, low paying trades such as “a grocery boy or messenger”. Baldwin claimed that this form of oppression left African Americans with two options - to accept the fact that they were dispensable members of society and bottle up their anger, or to “become a kind of criminal”, one that “has turned away from this country forever” and decided to “live outside the law”. Either way, African Americans learn to develop hatred toward America and augment “this country’s tremendous reservoirs of bitterness” which Baldwin believes will eventually lead to turmoil and the downfall of our “unified”

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