Rhetoric in Civic Life
1. King's presence in Montgomery was viewed as a threat to the development of the newly elected city government by the Alabama clergymen until his death in 1995. King was addressing racial issues and an immediate need for social justice in a way that created social tension between the whites and the black people in their struggle for social justice. Just after the election of a new city government, King had started to mobilize people for demonstrations and marches against racial inequality and these actions were considered risky for the progression of the newly elected government.
2. King explains his presence as being driven by the need to fight for social change in terms of racial equality and thus the need for tremendous tension in the South to free the Negros from the passive unjust plight (Palczewski et al. 2012). King also declared to advocate for positive peace which he visualized as respect for human dignity and personality by eliminating the hidden tension that the Negros had already lived.
3. Some realities are selected while others are deflected in view of King’s presence in Montgomery. Realities that are selected include the risk of political development in Montgomery due to the fact that King was mobilizing the masses to demonstrate against social injustice. The clergymen deflect the reality that King’s effort would help improve the way white people treated racial minorities thus improving social awareness in Montgomery.
1. King resignifies the meaning of breaking an “unjust law” by analyzing human motives and relations through symbolic actions. Through these, he is able to identify the underlying social injustices that people had been living and would continue to live despite the election of a new city government. Breaking an “unjust law” is, therefore, a set of actions and purposes that highlights oppressive hidden concepts.
2. King resignifies the demonstrations that were so deplored by the Alabama Clergy by writing to the Alabama Clergy to explain the importance of the tension as part of crucial phases that would eliminate the negative peace that had set the Negros in unjust plight. King also describes the demonstrations as non-violent compared to the hidden violence that the Negros already lived with (Palczewski et al. 2012). Resignification can be identified as King bringing out the issues of social justice in the open where it was clearly visible so that it would be dealt with.
3. King uses resignification to embrace his characterization as an extremist when he leads people in demonstrations and marches against connotations of justice and exposing how the clergy viewed the demonstrators as violent as a mere construct to change the connotation of justice for the Negros. Even after his arrest, King continues to write to the clergy about the pressing social issues and this shows how he uses resignification to embrace his characterization as an extremist.
Uses & Misuses of Language
1. Language symbols have different meanings for different people since people are influenced by their society, culture, past experiences, and so forth. It is for this reason that rhetoric cannot be treated as an exact science. The second major term of this definition is "social reality," which can be described as the "reality as understood through symbols humans use to represent it” (Palczewski et al. 2012). This almost explicitly means that reality is subjective and that a person's reality is defined, inescapably, by their culture, their past experience, and essentially everything that makes them who they are. A philosophical debate aside, the effect of rhetoric is reliant in part on personal identity, because it is the filter through which every symbol employed by rhetoricians is understood.
2. With these basic explanations of the terms of the definition of rhetoric, one can begin to fully understand its impact and purpose in society. Rhetoric allows human interaction to be effective, purposeful, and meaningful. The use of rhetoric flourishes in societies where human interaction is encouraged and welcome and does not fare so well in societies in which human interaction is censored. It specifically flourishes in democratic societies because democratic societies require it if they are to consider themselves to truly be a "well-functioning civic community" (Palczewski et al. 2012). Obviously, rhetoric can only be influential if people are open to different ideas.
There are different levels of persuasion, as laid out in the chapter: the rhetoric can attempt to create a virtual experience for the audience, alter their perception, explain his argument, formulate a belief for the audience, initiate action for the audience, and hopefully spur maintained actions for the audience.
3 b “When rights are consistently denied, a cause should be pressed in the courts and in negotiations . . .”
Since that time there had been some proof of expanded self-control and an ability to confront actualities. Capable residents had attempted to deal with different issues which cause racial contact and agitation. In Birmingham, late public demonstrations had given a sign that we as a whole had an open opportunity for another useful and practical way to deal with racial issues.
Palczewski, C. H., Ice, R., & Fritch, J. (2012). Rhetoric in civic life. Strata Publishing.