Video #8: Ferguson, MO and Police Militarization: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Police released a video of Michael Brown (the victim of the shooting in ferguson) committing armed robbery (1:26-1:40) This is unrelated to the cause of the shooting, as it shows previous criminal activity, not the reason for the shooting itself.
Could be an ad hominem fallacy or ridicule (quasi-logical argument) until backed up by evidence (which it mostly is)
John Oliver’s argument paints the officials at Ferguson as incompetent in handling the case, often making a joke of it.
Establishing the Structure of Reality
Hierarchically Arranged (the evidence seems to escalate in severity and scale, from isolated incidents and poorly worded comments to broad reaching national policy)
Mentions the number of african americans on the police force.
States that police stop more blacks
Mentions the case of Henry Davis (4:44-5:22)
Then extends it to the county (5:22-5:58)
Focus shifts to police militarization (6:53-12:46) which he connects back to Ferguson.
The “bring it” quote (13:02-13:49)
Governor of missouri mandating a curfew. (13:49 - 14:53) Framed as a child like punishment.
Flips the script (14:49 - end)
If the police want to be patronizing and institute a curfew the we should take the police’s “new toys” away until they don’t shoot unarmed black men.
Based on the structure of reality
A (which is bad) interacts with other variables to create D (which is worse).
Basic argument is: unnecessary power + an inability to properly handle that power + an inability to view african american citizens as humans worthy of respect = racialized police violence.
Overall, John Oliver, sandwiches a solid argument between two fallacies (partly as joke, but with an element of persuasion to them). In light of the evidence, the two fallacies seem less fallacious. The justice fallacy even gets applause, rather than laughter, for the audience.
BLM in not mentioned, but Oliver’s message is in line with theirs. I think he chooses not to mention them because how the organization is portrayed by their opposition may turn people away from his points.
Social Media #8: MillennialAU
MAU is a student lead organization. They attempted to raise money for a legal fund. No real argument seems to be made, though the focus is clearly on students and person to person involvement through twitter. A statement could be made about the appearance of closeness the reader has to the organization. They are speaking to individuals and urging individual action. Many of the images felt very normal and informal, with students clustered together or posing for the camera, so involved in protests, and only one depicting police. It felt very focused on colleges and college students, which is quite appealing and makes the movement seem down to earth and relatable.
Facts/truths (Supposed) used to highlight a double standard
A hasty generalization is implied, that the majority of white students involved threatened lives and that the majority of black students went on strike. It would not be surprising if some (on both sides) deviated from this simplification, though the lack of nuance may be the result of the limited format of twitter.
There is also a use of anaphora in this tweet as well with the phrase “______ students don’t like something they ______” being repeated in 2 of the 3 lines.
“Black students don’t like something and they went on strike.
White students don’t like something and they threaten lives.
We violent though.”
Press #9: Whatever Happened to Black Lives Matter?
This article is a response to criticism leveled toward BLM.
Makes the argument that because we can tie BLM to other civil rights movements then BLM is legitimate and the shared criticism is illegitimate.
The author uses criticism to tie back to previous civil rights movements.
Makes the argument that BLM and other protests are being suppressed.
Mentions anti-protest laws being passed.
Seems to claim that such a bastardization is based on a straw man representation of BLM is a hate group. Points out the fallacy in order to discredit the criticism against the movement.
Makes an argument against the “all lives matter” bastardization of the hashtag. Claims that BLM is painted as a hate group.
(the words “what happened” are repeated multiple times in the article)
Continues to repeat the question of “what happened” to BLM and offers multiple theories on why the organization is not as visible as it once was.
All in all this is pretty in step with the “herstory” page on the BLM website.