Malcolm X Warns, “It Shall Be The Ballot or The Bullet” Essay
The 1960s have been a time of battle for change. Frustrated and fed up with the oppression with which they were forced to reside, influential folks similar to Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr. started a whirlwind often identified as the Civil Rights Movement. On Easter Sunday, March 29, 1964, Malcolm X gave a speech warning of “the ballot or the bullet” from the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights, New York. Extending his position to black people residing in America, Malcolm X used repetition of words, apostrophe, anaphora, and antithesis to convey his message in a forceful and interesting means.
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 have been denied the constitutional rights that they deserved. (Goodman, 1971, 14-18) Malcolm X additionally spoke about the “back pay” that white Americans owed them for the slave labor they pressured 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 consider within the philosophy of Black Nationalism is to comprehend that the problem begins proper right here. The first problem is true right here. We need to elevate our considering proper here first–not simply the thinking of a handful, that won’t do it. But the pondering of twenty-two million black individuals in this nation should be elevated.
This assertion used repetition of the phrases “first” and “thinking.” It additionally utilized apostrophe with the phrase “right right here.” The entire quote may be summed up utilizing the words Malcolm X repeated. His major thought was that African-Americans first needed to change their considering right here. Malcolm X used repetition of phrases and phrases to focus on the concept expressed within the quote.
Two paragraphs later, Malcolm X repeated the word “gospel” throughout a whole paragraph. When you could have a philosophy or a gospel–I don’t care whether it’s a spiritual gospel, a political gospel, an economic gospel or a social gospel–if it’s not going to do one thing for you and me proper right here and right now–to hell with that gospel! In the previous, a lot of the non secular gospels that you just and I even have heard have benefited solely those that preach it. Most of the political gospels that you just and I actually have heard have benefited solely the politicians. The social gospels have benefited solely the sociologists.
Malcolm X was making an attempt to convey the concept if the gospel doesn’t work, doesn’t accept it-create your individual. The African-American folks cannot simply settle for the truth that they’re seen as being subordinate. If they want change, they will have to demand that the gospel be changed to incorporate equality for their race. Malcolm X used repetition of phrases and phrases as a flag that’s raised when he is making a principal point. Anaphora is one other method that Malcolm X emphasized the major factors of his speech. It is nationalism that’s bringing freedom to oppressed individuals all round the world. It was nationalism that introduced freedom to the Algerians. It was nationalism that introduced freedom to the Nigerians and to the Ghanaians. It was nationalism that brought freedom to the people of Uganda and Tanganyika and Sudan and Somaliland. It was nationalism that has introduced about the freedom of every oppressed people. (Foner, 1973, 369-85)
Malcolm X argued that nationalism was the way for African-Americans to get what they wanted-and he used this paragraph to take action. Those who attended virtually definitely left the Audubon Ballroom with the phrases “it was nationalism” rolling again and again of their heads. To additional emphasize his concept of nationalism being the answer to oppression, Malcolm X used anaphora again later in the identical paragraph. “And they have seen that the Africans did not get it by sitting in. They didn’t get it by waiting in. They did not get it by singing, “We Shall overcome;” they got it through nationalism”. How did they get it? “It was nationalism…”
One final main occasion of anaphora that Malcolm X used underlines the wants Malcolm X felt had to be met so as to satisfy the targets he was trying to situate within the minds of African-American individuals. He wished to teach the folks in tips on how to win their battle. “Let’s join in-if this is what the Negro desires, let’s be part of him. Let’s present him how to wrestle. Let’s show him the way to struggle. Let’s present him the method to deliver a real revolution. Let’s make him stop jiving!” Let’s show him. The anaphora that Malcolm X utilized is paying homage to different great audio system, similar to John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Martin Luther King, Jr. He used the device the lay emphasis on his important arguments. In addition to including emphasis, the anaphora Malcolm X employed successfully captured the audience’s consideration by making the speech pleasant to listen to.
Malcolm X also used antithesis to stress his concepts by contrasting opposites. The first instance of antithesis is found within the second paragraph. “When we are saying so-called Negro that’s pointing out what we aren’t, but it isn’t telling us what we are”. Malcolm X is making an attempt to make the point that the word “Negro” has a negative connotation and that African-Americans mustn’t discuss with themselves as Negroes (or enable anybody else to discuss with them as that, for that matter). He is stating that they aren’t “Negroes.” Rather, they “are Africans, and they happen to be in America”. The words “Negro” makes no reference to the place African-Americans come from or who they’re, but only serves to level out the truth that they are not “Americans” within the sense that a racist would interpret the word. Later in that very same paragraph, Malcolm X made one of many strongest statements of the speech. “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock; the rock was landed on us”. This assertion refers to the reality that African-Americans did not choose to return to America. They had been kidnapped and brought right here towards their will. If Malcolm X had merely stated, “We didn’t decide to come right here,” his statement would not have been almost as efficient. Antithesis intensifies the drive of his speech.
The diction and sentence instruments that Malcolm X used helped to create his voice in the speech even on paper. In his or her head, the reader can almost hear Malcolm X dramatically giving the speech. He has a very robust, confident, persuasive voice. A author or speaker who has management of his language has control of his audience. The repetition of words, apostrophe, anaphora, and antithesis that Malcolm X implemented in his speech “It shall be the ballot or the bullet” helps to impress thought in his viewers. These instruments intensify the principle ideas in his speech and do so in a way that may attain his audience and permit them to remember what he stated. The management he has over his words gave him a strong voice when he spoke that Easter Sunday in 1964. The ability to use such instruments in order to attain his viewers gave Malcolm X the facility to become such an influential and successful speaker. (Rich Andrea, 1971, 260-93)
Foner Philip S., Editor. The Voice of Black America: Major Speeches by Negroes in the United States, 17971973. NY: Capricorn Books, 1973. Vol. 2: Malcolm X, 369-385.
Goodman Benjamin, Editor. The End of White World Supremacy: Four Speeches of Malcolm X. NY: Merlin House, Inc., 1971. 14-18.
Rich Andrea L. and Arthur L. Smith: 1971: “Architect of Black Revolution:” Two of Malcolm X speeches, “On Unity” and “The Ballot or the Bullet” 260-293.