This week’s discussion is part show and tell, part thought exercise. Go find an example of rhetoric being used to fight for social change or justice in current events, meaning something happening now. Let’s put the timeframe for the piece of rhetoric as sometime in the last year. What goal is the rhetoric trying to achieve? Is it effective? (Note: effective does not mean successful; sometimes wheels turn very slowly, especially when we look at big institutional changes involving congress, court systems, social norms, wars ending, etc. I wouldn’t say that MLK’s rhetoric was ineffective just because he didn’t live to see many of the successes he fought for – it was still powerful progress.) How is it using rhetorical strategies to work toward its goals? 

Also consider this: is this found piece of rhetoric advocating for nonviolent direct action, or for by any means necessary? Do you think it’s taking the right strategy? Why or why not?

Examples of social justice rhetoric in the wild could be news articles, bumper stickers, speeches, news comedy bits (think The Daily Show), memes, political cartoons, TikToks, protest signs, music, art pieces, congressional debates, online debates, etc. There’s a really, really broad range of things to choose from, and any current social issue (not limited to the US) is fair game.

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