#BLM Final Paper
I was exposed to the Black Lives Matter Movement since the beginning of when it first started. When we first talked about breaking the movement into sections in class, I kind of knew I wanted to try something different besides looks at hundreds and hundreds of tweets (I personally don’t even have a Twitter). A side note, I don’t have a Twitter, but I have been exposed to the different hashtags throughout the beginning of the movement. I’m aware of the different aspects that have contributed to the movement, but I never dug deep into the different frameworks. For this final analysis, I chose to look at specific parts of my press and social media to convey a message and an argument. I chose to look at the entire video, for I felt it told a story about people in the moment of the Ferguson, Missouri verdict.
My Press story was title, “Alton Sterling and When Black Lives Stop Mattering,” by Roxane Gay. I first read the entire story before looking for data to compare to my overall argument. As I read the press the first time, I noticed a couple of things that I knew I wanted to address, such as the repetition. Roxane Gay throughout the entire article used the words, “I don’t think.” She uses it in the beginning of certain paragraphs (anaphora), over and over stressing her point and her experiences on what’s going on. Gay stated, “I don’t think any of us could have imagined how tiny cameras would allow us to see, time and again, injustices perpetrated, mostly against black people, by police officers. I don’t think we could have imagined that video of police brutality would not translate into justice, and I don’t think we could have imagined how easy it is to see too much, to become numb.” She also used it again with “I watched,” throughout her article. She stated, “I watched the cellphone video, shot by a bystander and widely available online, of the final moments of a black man’s life. I watched Alton Sterling’s killing, despite my better judgment. I watched even though it was voyeuristic, and in doing so I made myself complicit in the spectacle of black death.” Both of these makes it seems as though the author is frustrated, and fed up with the same events happening. She is speaking for an entire marginalized group. She takes her anger and frustrations out in her article. She also repeats and explains the word “execution.” Roxane Gay talks about Alton Sterling’s death as an execution. She even describes the police officer responsible for this as the executioner. So, a lot of repetition throughout the article with a lot of detail and personal experiences with the repetition. I also looked at the comparison the article makes in reference to the other killings that have happened. For example, she makes a brief comparison with the Alton Sterling case with Michael Brown and brings in when Black Lives Matter movement started.
One of the fallacies I focused on was Appeal to Consequence. Gay states, “Charges might be brought against the two officers involved, but, as history both recent and not shows us, it is rare for police officers to be convicted in such shootings.” I chose to look at this quote for appeal to consequence because X is true and people have accepted it (Charges might be brought against the two officers), so therefore X also have negative consequences (but as history both recent and not shows us, it is rare for police officers to be convicted in such shootings). This is interesting because Roxane hopes to see justice, but in order to gain justice, you need something and someone to blame for the current circumstances you may be facing. She does this by giving us a recent history on law enforcement in connection with personal beliefs.
I also looked at emotional appeal towards the end of the article. There was a detailed story on how Alton Sterling’s son had tears running down his face when the mother read her statement. Roxane Gay spent the last two paragraph’s explaining the details with Alton Sterling’s son sobbing over his father. She included this in her article to give the audience a visual and softer side to everything that’s going on. And deciding to end with this instead of continuing to talk about law enforcement was a wise choice, for it allows us to come to a conclusion of what can we do and what if that was my relative?
For Perelman, I focused first on the premise modifiers, more specifically, space. Space is making something feel close. Going back to the last two paragraphs, the detail with letting the audience know and get a description of a child in grief, it makes those with black children more susceptible to understand what’s going on.
Gloria Anzaldua’s legacy, I feel was important to this press because it defines what identity is and within identity, who are we and what’s the point of us fighting for something the oppressor doesn’t believe in. In Anzaldua’s legacy, she states, “Her own experiences and theories fully embrace the fact that ambivalence is inevitable when dealing with questions of subjectivity.” Roxane Gay is discussing her that the mixed feelings she has on the whole matter is deep rooted way beyond Alton Sterling’s case. She has seen and has heard the different cases that have been brought to the light. It’s the wear and tear on the system that has caused her to speak again on yet another case of “execution.”
I compared the article to chapters one, three, and six in the Persuasion and Social Movements book. Chapter one more specifically had a section on time. Since shootings with law enforcements has been happening on and off, time can be a precedent matter. The article addresses the last shooting that had taken place prior to Alton Sterling (which was about two year prior), which means the movement was brought back to mainstream media with the Alton Sterling case.
Chapter three was over The Persuasive Functions of Social Movements, and in this section I chose to focus on the perceptions of the past. I observed the parts in the article where Roxane Gay spent a little time talking about the years of struggle for black people with regards to brutality. This is the section she discusses the role of law enforcement in relation to how they see black people.
Chapter six is Languaging Strategies and Tactics of Social Movements with the sub section of storytelling. Like I’ve previously mentioned, when I first read the article, I chose to read it before deciding to find an argument and data. The author talks about certain things as if we can visually tell what she’s talking about. It’s a sense of connection between the reader and the audience.
I pretty much looked at the entire article to see how she wrote it. I didn’t want to just name a bunch of fallacies or rhetorical devices, I wanted to find what I saw stuck out and what kept reoccurring. I looked at the patterns and any other obvious data that I could collect.
The video I analyzed was, “A City Reacts: State of Emergency – Ferguson, Missouri.” I chose to focus on the entire video (which was approximately 12 minutes) because I felt as though this video told a touching story. I first watch the video before connecting any data.
When I collected data, I first looked at the individual interviews between each person and compared each one to the other. I looked to see if there were any patterns with the interviewees and why they chose to support the Ferguson Missouri verdict.
The rhetorical device I looked at was angle- eye level. This is a pretty basic rhetorical device, but I felt it was important because bits and pieces of the video that aren’t showing interviews, are showing the city and walking the audience through the protest/riots. The video allows the audience to be a part of the action. There isn’t any parts of the video that’s angled up high or down low, everything is even. The video also uses a variety of long and medium shots. When conducting interviews, medium shots are used, but when the camera is panning the city, long shots are used. Medium shots allow the audience to focus on the interviewee, drawing attention to what they’re saying, and drawing on the emotions of the audience. The long shots of the city, lets the audience get a glimpse of the city battle (it’s literally a mini battle between law enforcement and the community).
I next focused my attention on the emotional appeal fallacy because the entire video is filled with the community in anger on a pertinent issue. The community is tired of law enforcement officials abusing their powers against black people. From the community sharing the reasons why they’re there to the city going up in flames because of counter violence, it does give a sense of emotional appeal.
For Perelman, I used presence – time, a sense of urgency. The state at whch the video escalated in 12 minutes, captures the audience’s attention on what’s going on. Sometimes we talk about riots and things happening, but don’t really understand the magnitude of it because majority of us never had to be in one. The video just allows the audience to undergo the state emergency a long with the community.
For the Mash-up article I chose to stay with Anzaldua because it talks about coming together. She states, “These theories of subjectivity are also transformational strategies that start with and transcend individual change, creating new communities and worlds if enough people participate. These individual and collective changes may materialize through the power of language to rename and rewrite identities and personal, mythical, and spiritual histories.” Like I said in my presentation, I’m not justifying rioting, or setting a police car on fire, but having to hear the verdict on a serious case, brought together the community. They all became united and one for the sake of Michael Brown. None of them knew him personally, they were there to participate and spread what they consider love to the families. They were acting on previous notions of what they all have either witnessed, or heard stories about.
For the social movements book, I chose to look at chapter’s one, twelve, and thirteen. Chapter one I focused on the subsection “Social Movements as Outsiders.” Although this isn’t a direct video of a Black Lives Matter protest, it’s still part of the overall conception of what’s been going on. The video does show frustrations of people as well as the violence that went on right when the courts found the officer not guilty.
Chapter 12 I focused on counterviolence. There was a woman in the video that said she didn’t necessarily agree with rioting, but for the sake of all that’s been going on, and with everyone frustrated it's necessary to voice their opinions aloud.
Chapter thirteen, I looked at direct violence subsection. Towards the end of the video, when civilians find out the police officer responsible for Michael Brown’ death wasn’t convicted, the city went into an uproar. The video shows burning cars, burning building’s, graffiti with f* the police etc.
With Instagram, I decided to first scroll all the way to the very first couple of post to see what where they started the Instagram page. The first couple of post were from Ferguson Missouri and the protest. There were tons of these pictures, but not enough interaction with them, so I decided to stick with the recent years. I noticed there was a ton of paintings, and some with slogans with people holding a sign. I glanced at a few comments, and saw how ruthless some people were, so I chose to not to focus on comments really. I wanted to know what the top three most like pictures on Instagram was.
The top picture:
I found this interesting because, it allows the viewers to be aware that the movement is deeper than just riots, and law enforcement. It shows the movement does reach out to other marginalized groups.
The second picture was:
Just because the black lives matter movement started after the Trayvon Martin case, they still show remembrance to him while spreading message of hope and justice.
The last picture is:
Again, pointing out other problems besides law enforcement.
One of the most recent pictures with the least amount of likes and interactions was:
This picture only had one comment as well. I believe those other pictures had more interactions because they all are pointing at difficult topics that has caused controversy within the black lives matter movement.
My overall argument is people are tired of listening to excuses as to why justice can’t be served. People want to see and feel change, if not, matters will be taken into their own hands. In order to get their voice heard, sometimes extreme measures have to be taken. But for as Instagram my argument is Although there is a lot going on within the BLM movement, and a lot of outside unplanned riots that doesn’t define what the movement was created for, we still have to remain peaceful and hopeful that better days will come. Patience and hope are key factors in fighting the battle.
Does it Work?
Instagram – Yes to some extinct
Even with negative comments, they still are posting hopeful and out of the box things, which draws attention.
Even with negative comments, they still are posting hopeful and out of the box things, which draws attention.