Is to the attacks and murders on many innocent

Is the Black Lives Matter movement
a civil rights movement that is worth of respect, or is it really just an
anti-police movement that ought to be called out for its connection to
violence? The controversial Black Lives Matter (BLM) group was founded after
the infamous Trayvon Martin killing in 2012. It was a response to what many
black people in the U.S. felt was an instance of racial profiling and
unnecessary violence committed against an unarmed black teenager that ended up
in his death.  The BLM began with a
platform of creating awareness about the rash of killings of black men, and the
founders of the movement cited that BLM was created to address the systematic
injustices against all blacks in the United States. However, the BLM stimulated
great anti-police sentiment, and BLM activists were connected to the attacks
and murders on many innocent policemen around the country. An essay by Wesleyan
University student Bryan Stascavage in the college newspaper, used the
controversial BLM movement as a theme for his opinion essay. Titled Why Black Lives Matter Isn’t What You Think,
this essay offers a good example of many elements of the rhetorical
situation, especially the use of the persuasive tools pathos and ethos that
help develop his thesis.

Several of the
main concepts to consider in any rhetorical situation are the following:
exigence, rhetor, and audience. In the analysis of ‘Why Black Lives Matter Isn’t What You Think’, the exigence is defined as the reason why the
article or essay was written. The reason could be a reaction to almost
anything, such as another written piece, or a current or past event occurring
in the world. The concept of exigence can be thought of as the reason the
rhetor, or author, felt the urge to write the opinion. The rhetor, Bryan
Stascavage, a student from Wesleyan University, wrote an opinion essay. The
exigence calling the rhetor’s response was a series of attacks on innocent
policemen around the country that were linked to the BLM movement.

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The rhetor
Stascavage develops his argument in this order. First, he sets up the situation
he wishes to address. There is a growing hostility between the BLM movement and
the police. He states that he understands why BLM movement was founded. He
recognizes many instances of racism and violence directed towards blacks. He
then gives evidence of the disrespectable incidents are occurring today at the
hands of BLM. He points out the difference between the original BLM platform of
racial equality achieved through respected means vs. achieving it through
violence and murder. He questions whether the BLM is a respectable
organization? The rhetor is therefore asserting that the BLM movement has lost
credibility with the rhetor for being connected to the killings of innocent
police. In fact, the whole movement has lost his respect. He wonders how can
you respect any type or person or organization who promotes violence and the
murders of innocent people, and especially the killing of innocent policemen
who are trying to serve and protect the community? The rhetor’s conclusion is
that BLM movement will not survive long enough to achieve its equality platform
if they resort to violence and murder. He finishes his essay by asking whether
the BLM movement needs to rethink its platform to stop the perpetuation
violence in our communities.

It is clear to the
audience that Stascavage is critical of the BLM movement. However, at the same
time that he also gives respect to what the movement is trying to achieve due
to racism and discrimination the black community has faced historically. The
use of these counter points, which give credit to the mission of the  BLM, make his argument more effective because
he does not appear to be unsympathetic of all the challenges black and
minorities have faced. He is trying to point to say that he understands the
grievance of the BLM, but that it is never acceptable to resort to violence.
This statement is very reasonable, and will likely succeed at gaining most of
the audiences’ approval.  

Stascavage uses the standard tools of persuasion
in his essay, which in the rhetorical situation typically include ethos, logos
and pathos. He uses pathos and logos mainly, since as a student writer it is
unlikely he has much notoriety in his community. Qualities that help to
establish ethos, or the writer’s credibility, include that of technical or
political expertise, history of trustworthiness in the public eye, or holding a
position of authority in society. Outside of his local university community, he
would have virtually no notoriety and therefore little credibility as an
expert. However, his use of pathos is abundant. Pathos is a tool used in the
rhetorical situation to convince the reader or audience, but instead of relying
on credibility like ethos, it persuades by tapping into the reader’s emotions.
Pathos is powerful because it can successfully connect the writer and the
audience. Pathos may move the audience to act on their emotions. Various ways
to evoke pathos include telling stories with descriptiv.e words, using
emotional themes and words, or even using comedy. Stascavage uses pathos
throughout his essay. He gives many examples of instances of race relations
gone violent, like BLM exremists’ attacks against police, as well as numerous
violent attacks by whites on blacks. Whatever side of things the reader is on, the
rhetors used of these emotionally charged incidents draw the reader in to his
main point, which is that violence is not an answer in changing society. Stascavage
also relies on the tool of logic, or logos, in his rhetorical situation. Logos
is a powerful tool of persuasion, especially for certain types of audience
members. Since he is speaking to an academic community, it makes sense that
logos would be effective. He uses logic to connect cause and effect. For
instance, the cause of the BLM movement is perception of injustice, and the
birth of the movement. He also shows the cause of violence to be either racist whites,
or BLM extremists, and the result to be violence and a breaking down of society
relations

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