Rhetorical Analysis of Obama’s Speech on Race

Topics: Black people, African American, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 3 (912 words) Published: September 18, 2012
“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union”1 - On March the 18th 2008 Barack Obama opened his speech on race, in Philadelphia, with this sentence. From the open sentence you can see that this speech isn’t any speech, perform by any orator. It’s a speech with a main message, performed for the people, to creates a brighter future for all the American people and to change history.

Obama’s speech on race was a part of his campaign while he was running for the presidential election in 2009. He speaks to the American people with the purpose to gather them and with spirit of fellowship to creates a unity and patriotism. A unity where everyone stands together and in jointly could make the world a better place for everyone, no matter colour of skin.

Throughout the speech Obama uses much Pathos and occasionally Ethos. Pathos is used to create emphasises with the orator, and to appeals to feelings. You can see the use of Pathos all over the entire speech, but a great example is when Obama refers to his private life - “I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters”2. Obama applies his own experiences, which creates a confidence to his audience and besides that, the quoted passage also is a symbol of the previous America where blacks were marked as slavers.

On paragraph 1, page 6, Obama talks about his opponents, significant people and events, and he is very sarcastic and ironic about what he is saying. Throughout the paragraph he repeats “we can […]”3, to let all know that no one have changed the racial segregation and everyone had believed what they are told, but everything was a lie.

To changed that, he says in the end: “We can do that”4, which indirectly lets the American people know that they can work it out together - and again it’s a use of Pathos and a little bit Ethos, since it appeals to common sense.

In the following paragraphs Obama...
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