The Ballot Or The Bullet Rhetorical Analysis Essays

Analysis Of Malcolm X's "Ballot Or Bullet" Speech

Malcolm X Warns, "It Shall Be The Ballot or The Bullet"

The 1960s were a time of battle for change. Frustrated and fed up with the oppression with which they were forced to live, influential people such as Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr. started a whirlwind known as the Civil Rights Movement. On Easter Sunday, March 29, 1964, Malcolm X gave a speech warning of "the ballot or the bullet" (3) from the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights, New York. Extending his position to black people living in America, Malcolm X used repetition of words, epistrophe, anaphora, and antithesis to convey his message in a forceful and fascinating way.

Malcolm X spoke to black nationalists as a plea for action against their white oppressors. He made the point that African-Americans were treated as second class citizens: they were denied the constitutional rights that they deserved. Malcolm X also spoke about the "back pay" (2) that white Americans owed them for the slave labor they forced upon the ancestors of the African-Americans. Malcolm X made a call for freedom.

Malcolm X's diction added emphasis to his speech. He used repetition of words frequently throughout his speech. Near the beginning of his speech, Malcolm X said:

The first step for those of us who believe in the philosophy of Black Nationalism is to realize that the problem begins right here. The first problem is right here. We have to elevate our thinking right here first--not just the thinking of a handful, that won't do it. But the thinking of 22 million black people in this country must be elevated. (1)

This statement used repetition of the words "first" and "thinking." It also utilized epistrophe with the phrase "right here." The whole quote can be summed up using the words Malcolm X repeated. His main idea was that African-Americans first had to change their thinking right here. Malcolm X used repetition of words and phrases to highlight the idea expressed in the quote.

Two paragraphs later, Malcolm X repeated the word "gospel" throughout an entire paragraph.

When you have a philosophy or a gospel--I don't care whether it's a religious gospel, a political gospel, an economic gospel or a social gospel--if it's not going to do something for you and me right here and right now--to hell with that gospel! In the past, most of the religious gospels that you and I have heard have benefited only those who preach it. Most of the political gospels that you and I have heard have benefited only the politicians. The social gospels have benefited only the sociologists. (1)

Malcolm X was trying to convey the idea that if the gospel doesn't work, do not accept it-create your own. The African-American people cannot just accept the fact that...

Loading: Checking Spelling

0%

Read more

Analysis of Othello's Speech

1153 words - 5 pages Othello is a man of romantic nature. He fell in love with the beautiful Desdemona. He was accused of stealing her away from her father. Othello was of a different race and did not fit in with her family. Othello makes a plea for Desdemona and tells his story which wooed her to begin with. Othello tells of the love that her father showed him since his boyish days. This was like a match made in heaven that overcame many obstacles which got in...

Malcolm Baldrige Awards Analysis & Recommendations of a Successful Quality Model

1800 words - 7 pages What sets a successful company apart from everyone in the industry? Is it the way of thinking within a company that promotes the quest for continuous improvement or the value a company puts on their customers’ satisfaction with the company’s product or service? There are many qualities that make a company successful. Two examples of how successful companies demonstrate what it means to be a successful is by who they are, as well as how they...

Review of James H. Cone's Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or A Nightmare

1954 words - 8 pages Review of James H. Cone's Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or A Nightmare Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare written by James H. Cone is a book that takes an in depth look at Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, their ties to each other and what they meant to American society. Before the reader can understand why Martin and Malcolm developed such varying views on civil rights, he first discusses the...

Analysis of the Emancipation Proclamation Speech

1643 words - 7 pages The "Emancipation Proclamation" speech was actually intended for most of the people that would free the slaves, not to the slaves. According to Rollyson the proclamation was not intended for the slave, blacks, or former slaves. The “Emancipation Proclamation” speech was during the Antislavery Movement or what some people call it the Abolitionist Movement, during the 1960's. The main leaders of the abolitionist movement were Abraham Lincoln and...

Rhetorical Analysis of JFK's Inauguration Speech

910 words - 4 pages John Fitzgerald Kennedy delivered one of the most important American speeches after being sworn in as president on January 20, 1961. His inauguration speech was so influential that it seized the nation’s attention, and quotes from it are still clearly remembered by people today. It is considered one of the best speeches ever written and ever delivered. It presents a strong appeal to pathos, ethos, and logos and accomplishes what any speaker...

Rhetorical Analysis of President Obama's Inauguration Speech

1398 words - 6 pages On January 20, 2009, President Obama was officially inaugurated and sworn in as the forty-fourth president of the United States of America. The tradition of being inaugurated requires the president to give a speech about the goals they want to reach during their presidency. The president must make a speech that appeals to the audience while being professional. Rhetoric is a useful strategy to utilize in speech making. Obama uses rhetoric to...

Rhetorical Analysis of Swami Vivekananda’s Speech

853 words - 3 pages Columbian Exhibition of 1893 in Chicago was the first attempt of global religious leaders to unlock and disclose the truth about all beliefs across the globe and first effort to reinforce the humans’ attitude to the values of each religion in particular. One Indian monk, without a coin in his pockets, intentionally left his motherland and visited American assembly in order to participate in the parliamentary meeting. It was Swami Vivekananda who...

Wedding Speech for a Maid of Honor or Best Woman

922 words - 4 pages Wedding Speech for a Maid of Honor or Best Woman Good evening. I would like to thank all of you for attending this joyful occasion. For those of you that don't know me, I'm Hanah's friend Erica, sometimes known as "Natasha" or "Hanah's foot taller twin sister". I'm sure you read in the playbill/program that I used to work with her in the accounting department. We hit it off from the start - both having a love for drama, we spent not only...

Analysis of President Obama's State of the Union Speech

1068 words - 4 pages “He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” On Tuesday, January 25, 2011 9:00 pm in the chamber of the House of Representatives Sergeant at Arms Wilson Livingood announced with great pride the arrival of the President of the United States. As President Obama worked his way to the podium members of Congress and...

An Analysis of Mary Fisher's Speech, A Whisper of Aids

768 words - 3 pages On August 19, 1992 in Houston, Texas, Mary Fisher, the HIV-positive daughter of prominent Republican fundraiser Max Fisher, gives her keynote speech “A Whisper of Aids” to the Republican National Convention (1). Fisher’s purpose is “to lift the shroud of silence which has been draped over the issue of HIV/AIDS” epidemic (1). Fisher succeeds in her overall persuasiveness by effectively using ethos, logos, and pathos throughout her address to the...

An Analysis of President Obama’s 2008 Victory Speech

1304 words - 5 pages The origin of my essay is the victory speech of Barack Obama in 2008. The essay is an attempt to illustrate the correlation between discourse and politics in varies of aspects and perspectives. I hope the reader can enhance the skills of persuasive power in discourse. Since in the political views, nothing is coincident. We can use the persuasive power to assure the thing is going to the right track of your plan. I found there are varies...

Rhetorical Analysis of Malcolm X's Speech, The Ballot Or The Bullet

  • Length: 1126 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More ↓
Malcolm X: His very name is a stab to the beliefs of the white supremacists of his time—"X" symbolizing "the 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: he doesn't want the blacks to integrate into the white hotels, he wants blacks to own the hotels. He believed that the black population had to break the psychological, cultural, economic, and political dependency on their oppressors. By using tactical phrasing of his sentences that connects to his audience emotionally, Malcolm X attacks the tendency of African-Americans to identify with White America, and insists they identify instead with Africans, their ancestors; thus, he promotes his purpose: to instill a feeling of self-respect and self-help in his fellow African-Americans, which in turn is the stepping stone to the liberation of the Black people.
Malcolm X begins breaking down the bridge between Black and White America at the beginning of the speech, phrasing his sentences in such a way as to convince his audience of the fact that your place of residence does not determine who you are, and therefore blacks shouldn't identify with White America. Though blacks are considered "citizens" of the United States, Malcolm X asserts "Everything that came out of Europe, every blue-eyed thing, is already an American. As long as you and I have been over here, we aren't Americans yet." Malcolm X continuously refers back to the 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," creating 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—this statement fuels the already passionate and strong hatred of his black audience.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Rhetorical Analysis of Malcolm X's Speech, The Ballot Or The Bullet." 123HelpMe.com. 10 Mar 2018
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=157796>.

LengthColor Rating 
Malcom X Speech The Ballot or the Bullet - In the 1960’s, there was constant conflict with racism and equal rights. Malcolm X voiced his strong opinion on the topic. He had a speech which impacted peoples’ views. Malcolm X wrote a speech called “The Ballot or the Bullet.” In the speech, Malcolm X uses rhetorical devices, and emphasizes his tone and mood throughout his speech to emphasize his major points and to catch the listeners’ attention. Malcolm X’s speech was extremely powerful. A rhetorical device he used was repetition. Repetition is just repeating an idea or phrase or word....   [tags: racism, equal rights, malcolm x]539 words
(1.5 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
Rhetorical Analysis of Artifact: The Ballot or the Bullet Essay - Rhetorical Analysis of Artifact: The Ballot or the Bullet Speech Given by Malcolm X I. Introduction: Though almost half a century has passed, the Civil Rights Movement remains one freshly imprinted in not only the history books of US schools but also in the minds of countless Americans. Albeit, American society has come quite a ways in the acceptance of the individual - regardless of sex, age, creed or ethnicity - prejudices of different sorts are still to be found throughout every one of the united states of America....   [tags: Papers Malcolm X Civil Rights Movement Essays]2556 words
(7.3 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Essay about Rhetorical Analysis of Ballot or the Bullet Sppech by Malcolm X - As one of the most proficient civil rights activist of the 1960's, Malcolm X and his speeches were very influential but particularly one speech was highly esteemed, that being the Ballot or the Bullet speech. A speech that was given after the "I have A Dream speech by Dr. Martin Luther King. Despite, Dr. Martin Luther King being a pacifist and also a civil rights activist as well; Malcolm X was more tyrannical and advocated the use of violence. During this era, the democrats were in control of the House of Representatives and the Senate, therefore both the Senate and the House of Representatives were leaning towards providing more civil rights to African-Americans....   [tags: Essay on Rhetoric]
:: 1 Works Cited
1357 words
(3.9 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
The Ballot of the Bullet by Malcom X Essay example - Malcolm X once said, “It’ll be ballots, or it’ll be bullets. It’ll be liberty, or it will be death. The only difference about this kind of death—it’ll be reciprocal.” The Civil Rights Movement took place during the 1950’s-1960 and were political movements for equality. Some of the leaders and followers were Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X. The purpose for this movement was equal rights for all races. One very influential speech during this time period was by Malcolm X called “The Ballot or the Bullet.” He gave his speech on April 3, 1964 at the Cory Methodist Church in Cleveland, Ohio....   [tags: liberty, civil rights movement]
:: 6 Works Cited
1945 words
(5.6 pages)
Term Papers[preview]
Analysis of Malcolm X´s Speech: The Ballots or the Bullets - Malcolm X once said, “It’ll be ballots, or it’ll be bullets. It’ll be liberty, or it will be death. The only difference about this kind of death—it’ll be reciprocal.” The Civil Rights Movement took place during the 1950’s-1960 and was a political movement for equality. Some of the leaders and followers were Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X. The purpose for this movement was equal rights for all races. One very influential speech during this time period was by Malcolm X called “The Ballot or the Bullet.” He gave his speech on April 3, 1964 at the Cory Methodist Church in Cleveland, Ohio....   [tags: Civil Rights, Segregation, Discimination]
:: 6 Works Cited
1995 words
(5.7 pages)
Term Papers[preview]
Comparative Rhetorical Analysis: Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X Essay - Speeches are a method of persuading people to do something. For Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, their speeches were to bring equality for the people of color. However, their approaches are different. Consequently, the effects may be different. An example of their contrasting differences is a speech from each, King’s “I Have a Dream” and X’s “The Black Revolution”. Their speeches used pathos, a central metaphor, and a warning, but was presented differently. Both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X manipulate the audience’s emotions, pathos, throughout the speech....   [tags: notorious african american leaders]1122 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Rhetorical Analysis of Speech a Speech by George W. Bush - In this paper I am going to discuss the rhetorical appeals, as well as the argumentative structure, audience and purpose set forth by George W. Bush in his September 27 speech in Flagstaff, Arizona. More specifically I will refer to the rhetorical appeals of ethos, pathos and logos, and explain how they are used to gain the support and attention of the audience and further the further the purpose of the speech. As I explain these appeals I will also give an insight into the argumentative structure and why it is apparent in this particular speech....   [tags: Rhetorical Analysis of Speech]1144 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Rhetorical Analysis of President Roosevelt's Pearl Harbor Speech - Rhetorical Analysis of President Roosevelt's Pearl Harbor Speech The Pearl Harbor address to the nation is probably one of the most famous speeches made throughout time. In this essay I will evaluate the rhetorical effectiveness of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's famous speech and show that his speech is a successful argument for the United States of America. I will focus on the speaker's credibility, all the different appeals made throughout the speech, as well as the purpose and the audience of the speech....   [tags: Rhetorical Analysis of Speech]832 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
Rhetorical Analysis of Andrew Shepherd's Speech in Movie, The American President - A president has to have character, right. I mean, if the leader of the free world has no substance, nothing special about him, then how do we as citizens know that he is capable as far as foreign policies go. How do we know that we can trust him to make wise decisions. How do we know that he will tell us the truth. This concept is exactly what fictional president Andrew Shepherd successfully conveys in his “Address to the Press on Bob Rumson and the Crime Bill.” In the movie, The American President, Andrew Shepherd becomes romantically involved with crime bill lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade....   [tags: Rhetorical Analysis of Speech]1074 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Rhetorical Analysis of President Roosevelt's Pearl Harbor Speech - “Yesterday, December 7th, 1941- a date which will live in infamy- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan” (1). These are the words Franklin Delano Roosevelt chose to begin his Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. FDR’s speech was a call to arms, and in his speech he expressed outrage towards Japan and confidence in inevitable triumph. The speech was a request to declare war against Japan and to bring the United States into World War II....   [tags: Rhetorical Analysis of Speech]1255 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]

Related Searches

Ballot         Malcolm X         Bullet         Stepping Stone         Black Community         Sentences         Hotels         African-americans         Black People        




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, which instills a feeling of pride 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 which the blacks had previously been trying to integrate into. Put together, the phrase paints a vivid image: his audience can just imagine masses of people with blond hair and blue eyes arriving in ships, flooding the streets that had been previously occupied by blacks.
He continues on 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, as 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 it's own growth; it has already victimized tens of millions of blacks across the country, without a cure to stop it—until now. He shows his audience how to finally battle and defeat this disease: by finally opening up their eyes and realizing that they are just as good as the white population, just as smart, just as capable, and just as significant—in reality, all he has done is manipulate his audience's emotions so that they begin feeling more self-confident and pride.
To close up the speech, Malcolm X attacks the true issue that the civil rights movement is fighting for, instilling yet stronger emotions by relating his argument to his audience's daily lives. Instead of approaching the issue like other civil rights leaders, he promotes the separation of the black and white populations. That issue is segregation. Malcolm argues, "A segregated district or community is a community in which people live, but outsiders control the politics and the economy of that community…They'll always give you the lowest or worst that there is to offer, but it doesn't mean you're segregated just because you have your own. You've got to control your own. Just like the white man has control of his, you need to control yours." Malcolm takes a fresh view on the issue of segregation by redefining the word itself. By introducing a new take on an old issue, he starts a new fire in his audience's hearts and emotions. No longer does it merely mean that for something to be segregated, it must be all black; it means that a given area is not under it's own control. In this sense, segregation becomes a whole new problem, with a whole new solution—which Malcolm X has the answer to. Instead of fighting to integrate the two races, this statement fights for the separation of the two. He convinces his audience of this with the phrase "they'll always give you the lowest or worst…" by showing them that there is no other way out—his solution is the only way that the black population will achieve equality.
Through his use of such radical ideas and solutions to the civil rights problems of his day, Malcolm X captivates his black audience. Malcolm X completely shatters his listeners' beliefs, using a roundabout form of rhetoric: he uses harsh language that seems to degrade his audience, while, at the same time, he increases their self-confidence subconsciously through their emotions. In successfully convincing his audience that identifying with the white population is not conducive to the eventual liberation of the black people, he is able to say to his fellow African-Americans, "It's the ballot or the bullet."



One thought on “The Ballot Or The Bullet Rhetorical Analysis Essays

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *