Racial discrimination is an enemy of growth and humanity that corrupts our world. In James Forman Jr.’s article “The conservative case against racial profiling. Arrested Development.” he argues that society must change its culture for a developed nation. The author argues that racial profiling creates a negative impression on the black kids’ mentality. Black kids automatically believe regardless of how hard they may work in school; they are doomed due to racial portrayals in society. The author effectively uses literary devices such as simple language and humor and enhances his credibility by appealing to the readers using pathos, ethos, and logos; however, he compromises his argument at the end of the article.
The author uses a variety of literary styles to embellish his artistic work. In one instance, he stages a humorous scene where a black police veteran in civilian clothes witnessed a robbery and informed a close police dispatcher. The police veteran proceeded to follow up and investigate the crime. Upon arrival on the scene, the police officers found a black man; they went ahead and thoroughly beat him up. The police later realized that the man they assaulted was one of them. The author, in this case, mocks the white police racial attitudes in a dramatic event. The author also uses simple language to communicate with the readers. The author’s choice of words makes the article comprehensive and entertaining to read. For example, readers easily understand when Forman says, “one of the officers who searched you yesterday (or indeed any officer) asking questions about the crime. How likely are you to help?” (Forman 26). The use of cover pictures in the piece is also relevant to the subject matter. The portrait with a black civilian with a dog walking innocently along a wall painted with the word “color” and a police car standing by the road is a brilliant art choice by the author. The message of the picture easily attracts readers’ attention and provokes them to relate to the article.
The author employs pathos to visualize the suffering the black community goes through in racial profiling. The author beautifully sends readers to a world of imagination, yet he explains how police harass the black community in an informative way. Readers then develop a feeling of association with innocent black kids and feel pity for them. For instance, he narrates a story on typical school days in Maya Angelou, where the police treat children aggressively. Forman describes how children are pushed against the wall, their legs stretched, and searched vigorously without proper explanation just because the school is in the compound of drug abusers. The author also provokes emotion when he narrates how the police point out guns to children and even “wrestles them to the ground” (Forman 25). The scenes described by Forman compel the readers to visualize the pain inflicted on the innocent by racial profiling. The author also uses personal conversations with tormented kids and highlights their awful experiences (Forman 26). For example, one the author’s student mentioned, “We can be perfect, perfect, doing everything right, and they still treat us like dogs. No, worse than dogs because criminals are treated worse than dogs”(Forman 26). The imagery of relating a human life with that of a dog expresses a miserable life. The readers can effectively empathize with a kid who sees his/her life no better than an animal
The author takes up an expert role in using ethos to appeal to readers. The author incorporates ethics from society that are undisputed. The author’s wisdom prompts the reader to positively judge the author and develop positive vibes while reading the article. The author uses universal values and principles that are relatable to daily human ambitions. The author reflects on the importance of hard work and how society rewards those who seize their moment. The author’s diction in highlighting society’s core ethics persuades the readers to acknowledge the writer’s position as an expert. Besides, Forman is an experienced man who has achieved academic excellence with many kids and studied their behavior (Forman 24). The validity adopted by the writer plays a fundamental role in convincing the reader to play along with the writer. For instance, the author hints that education enlightens the future of children “If you work hard and don’t make excuses, society will give you a chance, no matter what your background is” (Forman 24). The author also stresses that respecting human dignity is the ultimate accomplishment in the universe when he mentions that “It’s awfully hard to convince poor, African American kids that discrimination isn’t an obstacle, that authority must be respected, and that individual identity matters more than racial identity when experiences beyond school walls repeatedly contradict it” (Forman 24).
The most successful appeal employed by Forman is logos that prompt the reader to comply with his arguments. The author primarily operates facts and statistics that increase the validity of his statements. The facts make it easy to persuade the reader due to the contrast created. He uses percentages and values while articulating his view fetching the reader’s attention to agree with his idea. For instance, the author highlights offenders’ research that “yielded contraband, mostly drugs, on 25 percent of whites, 13 percent of blacks, and only 5 percent of Latinos” (Forman 25). We see the irrational act of the police. The readers can make deductions from the data and question racial profiling. How is it possible the blacks are primarily oppressed by law compared to whites, yet evidence shows the vice versa? The reader can undoubtedly agree and visualize the extent of injustice from the data. As a supplement to logos, the author creatively references credible sources to justify his article’s position. When Forman refers to ‘The Dream and the Nightmare’ and mentions the book is one of President George Bush’s favorites, he achieves climax persuasion (Forman 25). President Bush is very influential globally; probably, everyone would like to be associated with political idol. Forman trick in quoting a book preferred by a president enhances his argument’s logic and lures the readers to salute his credibility.
Indeed Forman arguments provoke a better mentality of law enforcement that promotes harmony in society. He makes a crucial point when he suggests that police should approach African Americans in a civilized manner if they desire to make the community safe. In my perspective, if we adopted the culture indicated by the writer death of civilians due to racial profiling would be fictional. The article refreshes the story of the Black Lives Matter campaign in my mind. What a tragic death of a submissive African American at the hand of the police! The articles’ excellence is due to appeals of logos, pathos, and ethos and literary devices such as humor and simple that decorates the reading. However, the author needs to back up his argument to greater heights to influence readers. When the author resigns to conservatives’ power, “such words could be music to conservative’s ears-but only if they are willing to listen” (Forman 27), he compromises his arguments.
Forman, James. “The conservative case against racial profiling. Arrested Development.” The New Republic, 10 Sept. 2001, pp. 24-27.