Why I Am Black By John Mcwhorter Analysis

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The article entitled “Why I am Black and Not African American” written by John H. McWhorter argues that americans should use the term black instead of African American when referring to people of color. The term black is perceived as a symbol of strength and hard work, while the term african american transports blacks back to a time in history filled with bondage and discrimination. Therefore, McWhorter argues that the derogatory term of african american should not be used and that the term black is more appropriate. McWhorter was able to establish a strong argument because he met several of the standard criteria for a quality argument. The established criteria explains that a quality argument must include a debatable thesis, supporting evidence,…show more content…
McWhorter stated his thesis directly in the opening paragraph. The use of a direct and debatable thesis made for a strong argument and for the reader to be able to clearly draw connections to the supporting evidence. McWhorter used strong evidence throughout the entire piece. However, what made the essay have such strong evidence was the variety of the sources. McWhorter drew from several different types of sources such as court cases, history, personal experience, and public statements. However, each piece of evidence was not standing alone. Each piece of evidence was accompanied by a strong explanation and a clear connection to the debatable claim. Overall, McWhorter's evidence was clear and strong throughout the whole piece and helped the essay towards being a strong argumentative…show more content…
The author must also include element of ethos and pathos. Ethos is when the author establishes his or her credibility as an author, or on the debatable topic. The author of “Why I am Black, Not African American” establishes their ethos on both the topic and as a writer by stating their various degrees, the college they attended, and their work experience. Their variety of experience proves to the reader that the author has experience and knowledge of the topic. This then makes the reader believe that the author is credible. Therefore, the reader is more likely of believing the stance of the author. However, the author also used elements of pathos throughout the essay. Pathos is an argumentative strategy authors use to appeal to the reader's emotions. Pathos was sprinkled into the essay by the authors word choice. The author chose harsh and negative words when discussing the term african americans, for example “ To term ourselves as part “African” reinforces a sad implication: that our history is basically slave ships, plantations, lynching, fire hoses in Birmingham, and then South Central” (McWhorter 306). All of the words McWhorter uses do not have a positive connotation and they tend to make the reader feel sad and guilty. The authors word choice has the ability to play with the readers emotions and urges change, which is exactly what the author is searching
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