Challenges and the “Double Duty” Blacks Show the Country by Michelle Obama
Message Criticism Speech
The message from the speaker Michelle Obama portrays the graduates as victims. The speaker empathizes with the graduating students. She makes them feel as though they have been neglected because of their group orientation, which is not the case. The airmen had endured a lot of pressure and they were graduating with diplomas from the University in preparation for their service to the nation. This essay analyzes the purpose, target audience, and rhetorical strategies used in the speech. The speech by Michelle plays an epideictic function in trying to explain the experiences of the airmen.
We have several factors that determine the epideictic experience of both the audience and the speaker when giving out a speech. The vital factor that determines epideictic experience in a speech is praise and blame (Condit 285). Michele praises the airmen for their resilience. Even though these men were highly educated, trained to operate some of the most complex technologically advanced machines, she mentions that these men faced great resistance within their own country. On the battleground, they were still treated as though they had completely no technological know-how. These factors include on how the speech entertains and shapes opinions of the target audience. The audience also has its own perspectives about certain issues addressed by the speaker. The speech presented by Michele Obama portrays an understanding role by shaping their opinions on various issues in the society including rampant discrimination based on race. Consequently, the audience is made to understand the cause and effect of certain issues in the contemporary society.
The speaker directly addresses the issue of racism at a time when no one wants to talk about the issue. The main undoing of the speech is that she makes the graduates look like victims. Michelle gave an example of how she and her husband have encountered situations similar to those of the graduating airmen in their pursuit to the White House but did not give up. She mentioned that the media continually questioned the credibility of her suitability to lead the nation. They also attacked her race and her character by calling her crude names. She noted that some people had even questioned their intelligence and their love for the country. She encouraged them to shun the fear that their job application may be overlooked because of their background or the sound of their names. She told that them they should not be distracted by external forces because some people are good at discouraging others from pursuing their dreams. Michelle opined that they should do what they consider right instead of listening to people with negative influences. The audience can use their position as victims as an excuse to engage in antisocial behavior in the society. They can also use this position to hate on other races and also discriminate them. Her speech appears to be framed on the blacks experience in America. The audience of a speech performs the vital role of judgment by hearing a speech. The audience judges the speaker and their ability to present materials and facts concerning a particular topic (Condit 286). From the speech by Michelle, it is evident from the applause and praise of the audience that they appreciate the speech. The reaction from the audience clearly shows that the speech presented by Michele play both an understanding and judgment role.
Michele uses several rhetorical strategies to win the hearts of the target audience. A speaker can earn the right to talk about a particular topic by winning the hearts of the target audience through certain strategies (Condit 288). The speaker has earned the right to talk about some experiences that the airmen underwent by emphasizing the values in the opportunities provided for in the future. She stated that even though racism and discrimination is still a core issue in the country, and many are still rejected because of discrimination, it is of benefit to persevere. Airmen would be rewarded for their perseverance and staying true to their values besides aiding in the ultimate goal of completely killing racism and discrimination in the country.
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