Rhetorical Analysis Of Malcolm X's The Ballot Or The Bullet

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One of the most influential figures during the height of the 1960’s civil rights movement was Malcolm X. In contrast to the pacifist political approach of Martin Luther King Jr., X advocated for protest by means of violence. On April 3, 1964 in Cleveland, Ohio, X delivered his powerful and compelling speech The Ballot or the Bullet, in which he explains to black Americans the necessity of using violence to gain basic rights. X supports this assertion with false choice to narrow the audience’s choice of action to two things, the use of various forms of repetition to place emphasis on details of his argument, specific pronouns and pronoun shifts to connect with and involve the audience, rhetorical questions to force the audience to examine the…show more content…
While speaking about the possibility of voting rights for all African Americans, X asks, “How can you thank a man for giving you what’s already yours? How then can you thank him for giving you only part of what’s already yours?” These questions force listeners to realize that their rights as Americans include the right to vote, and furthermore cause the audience to feel a sense of injustice because the government is only offering them a portion of the rights any human deserves. This prompts them to demand what should have been awarded to them long ago. X calls on another aspect of America by questioning business owners in black communities by saying “Why should white people be running all the stores in our community? [...] Why should the economy of our community be in the hands of the white man? Why?” In asking these questions, X expresses his ideas of separatism while encouraging black people to take control of the economy in their communities in order to increase the number of jobs available to black people. These questions also cause the audience to think about another thing that “the white man” has control over in America. Ultimately, the questions utilized in X’s speech work to reveal the different layers of oppression that must be fought by black
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