Principles and Goals

In a 1972 interview, Angela Davis was asked, “How do you get there [in reference to a revolution]? … You get there by confrontation – violence?” She goes on to say that a revolution doesn’t necessarily involve violence, but lies with the principles and goals you want to achieve – not the way you achieve them. Davis further discusses how it’s not unreasonable to get reactions such as violence – that it should actually be expected. She continues her argument using pathos to describe the life of a black person constantly being surrounded by white police officers – how living in that situation everyday can cause those reactions of violence. She sounds almost surprised and appalled that the interviewer would ask whether or not she approves of violence, even after hearing/knowing what violence the black community is put through. Davis continues the use of pathos when describing how she grew up surrounded by violence – how they grew up in fear of being attacked at any given moment. She discusses how some of her close friends were killed by bombs planted by racists, how from a young age she remembers the feeling of her house shaking from explosions. She ends her interview by saying how it amazes her that when someone asks her about violence, it means that they have absolutely no idea what the black community has gone through. I believe Angela Davis was successfully able to use her own personal experience growing up with violence as a form of rhetoric, specifically in the form of pathos.

When I looked up “the Black Panther Party,” on the first page every entry on the party mentions how they’re a party for self-defense. How they practiced self-defense against the U.S government and how they fought to establish “racial dignity and self-reliance.” However scrolling to the bottom of the first page on Google, one website stood out and that was the vault.fbi.gov – the first lines in the preview of the website page says that the BPP “advocated the use of violence and guerilla tactics to overthrow the U.S. government.” Like what? I think its crazy that the government believed the BPP to be such a threat that they labeled them as a “black extremist organization,” when all the BPP wanted to do was to create equality.

Relating back to language I find it interesting that a few words can be easily twisted to benefit the cause of others.

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One thought on “Principles and Goals

  1. I also found it interesting that she is amazed by the question of violence and I think she explains her point perfectly when talking about her childhood and how she had to worry for her life at all times. It was also interesting that you found a website that so completely disregarded everything they worked so hard for, just to show that they were some type of “monsters. “

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