In Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me the author talks about the contestation issues regarding ongoing racial tension for African American men. Coates put light on how racism is still one of the main issues in America. He passes on the message to his son in the form of a letter, hoping he understands how the society they live in works. His only audience isn’t his son though. It is also to other blacks who endures the everyday struggle as well.
The purpose of this essay is to execute a rhetorical analysis in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me showing you how he uses the rhetorical elements of ethos, logos, and pathos to show the issues of racism in America today.
In Between the World and Me, Coates shows the weight that the role of racism, until this day, plays in his life and as well as other males of African American descent , through the usage of ethos.
In the beginning of the book, Coates starts off by saying “Dear son”. This interprets that the book is none other than a letter directed to his son. Doing so shows that Coates seems to be a good father in his son’s life by giving valid advice to his son of his own personal expereinces. Coates earns the reader’s trust by speaking on his past. He states in the book “But race is the child of racism, not the father”. Saying that, he shines the light on and displays the outcomes of racism and how much it affects Black America.
He speaks on his past to connect with the readers to show that he has dealt with racism in the streets as well as in school and has had an impact in his careerlife too. Coates brings historical facts to the audience as well, not only to provide examples but to show that the racism has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be about. Using the rhetorical element ethos, Coates brings the credibility to himself that racism is a major problem in today’s world.
Furthermore, Coates characterizes his reasoning for all the inequity that African Americans deal with through his knowledgeable usage of logos. Coates states, “The entire narrative of this country argues against the truth of who you are.”. He wants his audience to stick together and to stay enlightened about the issues they will most likely face. This could lead into the right direction to equality. He also states, “The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free”. Coates is telling the readers that as long as they stay and continue to be educated then they will no longer remain a slave.Coates using logos the reader can state that as long blacks stay uneducated than the white supremeacist will always have an “up “ on them. In reality this the world Blacks live in an unfair and will always will be one of the first recieve the unfair treatment. So either they struggle with it or learn to live in it. In other words he wants the audience to stop living blindly and “stay woke “. The usage of logos assist the understanding ofhis reasons for bringing about the problems of racism.
Speaking on the discriminating treatment towards Blacks he uses pathos to gain compassion. For example, he speaks on how his father punished him for getting robbed and also for being disrespectful to his tecaher. “A year after I watched the boy with the small eyes pull out a gun, my father beat me for letting another boy steal from me. Two years later he beat me for threatening my teacher.” He then speaks on the moment his 15 year old son was crying about the death of Mike Brown and instead of comforting his son he chose to tell him as his parents told him growing up about the world they both now live in. He thinks that there is no reason to hide the true colors of how then and todays America operates and feel towards Blacks. Coates also gains empathy when he speaks on when one of his closest friends from PG County who was murder due to color of his skin. His usage of pathos earns him the compassion from his readers as he speaks on the on going racism.