In today’s society, racism and segregation is viewed as a very controversial and serious issue within in all aspects of American life, but is considered especially problematic in the public-school system. In the article titled School Segregation Is Not a Myth, by Will Stancil, this topic is discussed to point out the dangers of racial inequality and re-segregation in America’s public schools. It was published in March 2018 around the same time as the black lives matter movement and police brutality issues, making it relevant to the current racism controversy within America. The article is intended to persuade students and parents of segregated schools, civil rights activists, and relevant government officials to stop re-segregation within the public schooling system. Will Stancil effectively convinces his audience that re-segregation in America’s public schools is prevalent and harmful with the use of pathos, logos, and ethos.
The article points out the fact that school segregation is being discussed by scholars and civil rights activists, with some believing that it is happening within America’s public education system, and some not. The author acknowledges the compelling ideas from both sides of the argument, but ultimately believes and claims that re-segregation truly is occurring. Stancil claims that focus shouldn’t be placed upon the causes of re-segregation, but more on the harmful effects that it has on the students involved. He believes that civil rights advocates and smart policy makers within the government can reverse this re-segregation, but that the problem will not fix itself.
The author appeals to those impacted by school segregation; students attending segregated schools and their parents, with emotion. He does so with negatively charged diction choices in the last few paragraphs of his article. He includes the words deprive, harm, isolation, and reduced achievement when describing the effects that segregation has on the students experiencing it. By using such negative words, the author causes the audience to fear re-segregation of schools and want to prevent it from happening. Stancil also uses specific examples of the dangers of segregation to appeal to his audience’s emotion. He explains that segregation within public schooling causes those attending the racially isolated schools to experience, reduced academic achievement, increased exposure to the criminal justice system, and significantly worsened professional and educational outcomes (Stancil, Paragraph 25). Including such specific details about the costs of attending a segregated school instills fear in his audience. By appealing to the audience’s emotions, the author is effectively persuading the readers in his call for action to end re-segregation.
Although this emotional appeal effectively persuades the intended students and parents, Stancil must appeal to logic to persuade the civil rights activists and government officials, who are not affected by his appeal to sympathy. Stancil includes statistics regarding the relationship between economic segregation and racial segregation in schools, to provide a logical appeal. He explains a study that shows that economic segregation is truly occurring, and then goes on to point out that racial segregation is interwoven with economics, because those schools that are the poorest tend to be those that are separated by race. By providing statistics on the subject and linking the two issues together, Stancil persuades his audience to believe that his argument is valid and logical. Another way he influences his audience’s views with logic is by including an analogy. He tells his audience to, imagine a housing subdivision where almost everyone is white, with a large wall to block out the surrounding neighborhoods that are, heavily nonwhite (Stancil, paragraph 17). He then goes on to explain that this analogy can be helpful to describe the metaphorical walls within the country’s current schooling system. Including this analogy helps the reader understand that the author’s ideas are logical and are based solely on facts. This convinces the audience to agree that re-segregation is harmful and must be stopped.
Stancil’s appeal to his audience with logic and facts would be ineffective without proving his credibility as well. He makes himself seem credible by acknowledging and explaining the opposing side of his argument. In paragraphs three through seven he talks about Robert VerBruggen, who is a writer for the National Review. Stancil explains that VerBruggen believes that re-segregation is not a myth due to his extensive research on the topic. By acknowledging the flip side of his own argument, Stancil shows that he has conducted very extensive research about re-segregation within schools and proves to his audience that he knows every aspect on the issue. This persuades his audience to agree with his argument, because it causes them to believe that he is very knowledgeable on the topic and this proves his credibility. Another aspect of ethos that Stancil includes in his article is research. He provides a link to an article called The Data Proves That School Segregation is Getting Worse, from a website called Vox.com, and then goes on to summarize the data’s findings. By incorporating an outside source and explaining how its content is relevant to his argument, it shows that Stancil has conducted vigorous research for his argument and displays external expertise on the subject. This causes his readers to agree with his argument, because it shows that he is an expert on the topic. These elements that Stancil uses in his article establish his credibility to the readers, causing them to agree with his argument.
Stancil’s use of emotional, logical, and ethical appeals truly helps persuade his readers to agree with his argument about re-segregation being harmful and needing to be stopped. Causing his readers to fear the harmful effects of re-segregation, understand the logical dangers of the issue with the use of statistics and analogies, and proving his own credibility with research and expertise all help to influence the intended audience.
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