Rhetorical Appeals and Ethical Argument
“The Word “Nigga” Is Only for Slaves and Sambos” was written by Rob Nelson and first published in a university newspaper in North Carolina. Later on, the article was so meaningful that it was re-published in the academic journal, the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. In the article “The Word “Nigga” is only for Slaves and Sambos”, Rob Nelson uses ethos, logos, and especially skillful pathos appeals based on the history of slavery and the illustration about the future of African American, to prove why he thinks the “N-word” is not acceptable. By using ethical argument and those clever appeals, Rob Nelson definitely persuades his young African American audience.
“The Word “Nigga” Is Only for Slaves and Sambos” is an ethical argument. The author doesn’t paint the picture that he wants his audience to see. He also explains how the word change and become in detail. He makes sure that his audience understands the history and the negative meaning of the word before he argues about why they should use it. The author does respect his audience as much as he respects himself. None of the words in his writing says that “I’m right”, or “You’re wrong”, “You should be shame about it”, but he says that it’s “a sad contradiction” (Nelson, 1998). When Nelson tells a specific scene that evokes a slavery image, he carefully asks the audience to grant his exaggeration right after that. As an African American, Rob Nelson of course understands other opponent situation. He understands that those African Americans did not use the N-word to put down each other, but they use it among close friend. He did not mean to criticize them. In general, the author just wants his audience to see that the overall affective is negative. From all of these evidences above, Rob Nelson’s writing can definitely consider a fair argument. Most importantly, he did not try to win the argument no matter what, but he uses those powerful appeals cleverly to convince his audience.
Rob Nelson brought this article with an extrinsic ethos in it based on the character of the author. Rob Nelson is a well known African-American editor in Chief of Chapel Hill’s Daily Tar Heel newspaper. Its estimated print readership of 38,000 makes it the largest community newspaper in Orange County (DTH Media, 2011). This is a well-known magazine for the audience; therefore, all the information and article from Daily Tar Heel must be reliable to the audience. Since he was born and raised in an African- American community, Nelson usually reflects on issues about race and practicing racism in his writing. Later on, the article was re-published in the academic journal, the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, a journal that has a high academically reliable and strong authority. The readers knew about Nelson and his authority before they read his article.
In addition, the article “The Word “Nigga” Is Only for Slaves and Sambos” also has a strong intrinsic ethos itself...