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Critical Anlysis Of Malcolm X's The Ballot Or The Bullet

1197 words - 5 pages

Critical Analysis of Malcolm X’s “The Ballot or the Bullet”

Malcolm X: His very name is a disregard to the beliefs of the white supremacists of his time. The "X" symbolizes his rejection of slave-names and the absence of an inherited African name to take its place. Similarly, in his speech "The Ballot or the Bullet", Malcolm X denounces the actions of the white population, without any attempts to appeal to them. His approach to the civil rights issue is in complete opposition to the tactics of other civil rights leaders of his time, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Rather than trying to integrate the black community into the white, he focuses on the complete separation of them. ...view middle of the document...

As long as you and I have been over here, we aren't Americans yet." Malcolm continuously refers to this concept for the rest of his speech, stating that blacks are not Americans; rather, they are "just" Africans. He begins the sentence with "Everything that came out of Europe…" This created the impression that absolutely everybody from Europe was accepted into American society, including low class criminals and other people of such low moral character. While all blacks, even highly educated individuals such as MLK, Jr. are still looked down upon in society.
Malcom’s speech continually uses pathos by playing to the emotions of his listeners. His statements fuel the already passionate and strong hatred of his black audience toward their “oppressor”. Instead of referring to the white population as "white," he uses the phrase "blue-eyed thing." In doing so, he reinforces that fact that the United States has built its entire country on something as trivial as eye and skin color. This instills a feeling of pride in his audience, because they have the moral fiber to look past such irrelevancies. This statement begins to create a feeling of separation from the white population into which the blacks had previously been trying to integrate. When put together, the phrase paints a vivid image: his audience can easily imagine masses of people with blond hair and blue eyes arriving in ships, flooding the streets that had been previously occupied by blacks.
Malcolm continues to make his point stronger, to appeal to his audience's emotions in a more direct manner. Malcolm goes on to say, "Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on that plate. Being here in America doesn't make you an American. No, I'm not an American. I'm one of the 22 million black people who are victims of Americanism." This statement reinforces his previous assertion, and directly states that blacks are not Americans. It drills this fact into his audience's brains early on in the speech, so that it will ring in their ears later on. He presents more evidence for his beliefs. By referring to the racial equality issue as "Americanism," and himself as a "victim," Malcolm creates this picture that the white population is this deadly, widespread disease, unable to control its own growth. Iit has already victimized tens of millions of blacks across the country, without a cure to stop it until now. He shows his...

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