Rhetorical Analysis Of Carlton W. Reeves Essay

In 2015, Carlton W. Reeves, a U. S Mississippi District Court judge talks about how racist brutalism is in its wake again. Reeves is on the verge of giving his sentence about a murder case where an African American, James Craig Anderson, was murdered by three young men named: Deryl Paul Dedmon, Dylan Wade Butler, and John Aaron Rice. The murder of Anderson is a part of resurgence of black killing that happened before in Mississippi. Reeves extensively used the three rhetorical appeals: ethos, logos, and pathos.

The Judge illustrates how the past is being brought back to Mississippi, uses statistics about the torture of the African Americans, and personal stories to argue that the white male murders are just repeating history by bringing back racial affairs to Mississippi. In his speech, Judge Carlton Reeves sets the stage by describing specific scenarios in the past of race motivated tortures wedged against the black man by racial bigots through the use of ethos, which allows to build a relationship with the reader as well as to be credible.

For as long as he can remember, Mississippi has had a tortured past. “Mississippi has expressed its savagery in a number of ways throughout its history-slavery being the cruelest example but close second being Mississippi’s infatuation with lynchings” (Reeves, 2015). Reeves is experienced and with firsthand information about Mississippi, he is credible source throughout his speech which indicates the appeal of ethos. At the center of this Mississippian vice, there comes brutality that was fueled by justice systems.

Long ago, victims of lynching were often identified as having died in the hands of unknown persons. There are remarkably great improvements, however, Anderson’s perpetrators are arraigned into court, named, tried and sentenced. Hate and fear are the driving forces for racism; one white Mississippian was quoted saying, “A white man ain’t a-going to be able to live in this country if we let niggers start getting biggity. ” Reeves is also a shocked man by the extent to which hate and fear have turned white God fearing Mississippians into Massacres of their colleagues (Reeves, 2015).

During his speech and his background information, you can see that he is passionate to make a change in his state, because not only he’s from there but he deeply cares about Mississippi. For example, even though he speaks negatively about what is happening in Mississippi, he still calls it a “great state” and at this moment he uses the appeal of ethos to show it. Despite all, Mississippi has been through a journey to reinvent itself and free from racism. A lot had been achieved until recently when Dylan Wade Butler, John Aaron Rice, and Deryl Paul Dedmon and other young men not arraigned in court started moving around terrorizing blacks.

Reeves categorically said that even though much of the media reports are based on the activities of 26th Feb 2011, the defendants’ terror campaign is not limited only to one incident. Ironically, blacks have played an unignorable part in making America a great nation; the defendants here arraigned in court where each escorted into the courtroom by lawyers of an African American descent. These lawyers are under an Attorney who is a black. The case is decided by a black judge who apparently will sentence them to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, an agency headed by an African-American.

Throughout his speech, Judge Reeves uses strong sources that strengthen his standing and effectively appeal to the reader’s logos. To assist with logos, he includes “A new history of Mississippi” by Dennis Mitchel, “Mississippi: The American journey” by Anthony Walton, Ralph Ginzburg’s “100 years of Lynching without Sanctuary: Lynching photography in America” and “Lynching in America: Confronting the legacy of racial terror” which supports his appeal towards logos.

His orderly explicit of Mississippian racism coupled with both personal and tatistical evidence allude well with the reader’s logos. If you were to go back in time between years 1882 and 1968, a historian named Lean Litwack estimated that 4,742 African Americans were killed from lynch mobs. He applies this type of data for the audience to see concrete facts instead of opinions. In addition, Reeves (2015) talks about the “forty martyrs whose names are inscribed in the national civil rights memorial in Montgomery, AL, nineteen were murdered in Mississippi” (Reeves, 2015). Reeves goes on to list stark big and small names who had to bear the brunt of race cruelty.

The list is long, but not limited to Emmet Till, Willie McGee, James Cheney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwener, Vernon Dahmer, George W. Lee, Medger Evers, Mark Charles Parker, Mr. and Mrs. Luther Helbot and Lloyd Clay (Reeves). James Craig Anderson is the newest name in the list. Besides ethos and logos, Judge Reeves uses pathos to show his argument emotionally. Racism cuts across a myriad of social aspects as Carlton Reeves puts it, “hate comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors and from this case, we know it comes from different sexes and ages” (Reeves, 2015).

During his arguments, Reeves adds details that allow the audience to feel emotional. For instance, he places a small detail about how Anderson was killed 4 days before his birthday, which makes the reader feel sensitive about the incident. Funny enough, the brutality of Anderson was conducted by the people who we expect should fight it in the society. All the three are full-blown youths and of the new generation. Deryl Paul is 22, John Rice is 21, and Wade Butler is 23.

After strangling him to death, they also ran a truck over him and walked away chanting slogans of white power. Reeves finishes by giving his verdict. A verdict that is neither based on racism nor personal ego, a verdict that guarantees justice to the oppressor and the oppressed in equal magnitudes. Above all, a verdict that goes beyond the rule of law to express its emotional appeal with the three murderers by wishing them that they find peace. Above all, the sensitivity of the critical humanity issue it touches on and he prerequisite conditions leading to the unfolding of events.

All these evoke emotions of sympathy towards the slain men and the black fraternity as well. Reeves’s emotional speech goes further to wish Anderson’s mother well. The three murderers he wishes that they will soon find justice. This choice of words appeals to the reader’s pathos. Mississippi’s wound had long healed, but three young men opened the scar. It is unclear where the future of Mississippi lies, but the passage of time will tell.

The speech is breathtaking at its moral force and the sad tone with which it is delivered through the appeal of credible sources, data, and emotional reminders. The piece will undoubtedly remain in the history of Mississippi as one of the very best from a judge reminding the world that racism still exists. Reeves speech will resonate with audiences for decades. His artistic application of personal experience, rhetoric, and statistics make his writing unparalleled. He very well drives his point home, “racism is bad and inhumane. “