Baldwin and Buckley Debate

When it comes to Baldwin, the structure of his argument starts withdrawing from his personal experience and expanding on the differences between the black and white man. He is in front of an audience mostly consisting of white men who have likely been privileged in their lives, so he comes from a different point of view trying to show that they wouldn’t understand his experience as a black man and how it forms his stance on the argument. Additionally, he transitions into talking about the American Dream, one-half of the main points of the argument. He shifts his argument into describing how the American Dream was built upon the exploitation and subjugation of black people, thereby making it unattainable for the same black people. Baldwin concludes with a passionate call for societal change, by emphasizing the need for acknowledgment of racial injustice as without acknowledgment, true social equality won’t be achieved. Buckley on the other hand starts his argument by acknowledging racial injustice, however, he argues that it is not inherent to the American Dream itself. His argument focus was more on the economic and social side of things to suggest that progress was being made towards racial equality through more opportunities for black people. He defends the American Dream saying it is an ideal for Americans that transcends the boundaries of races. In a sense, the way he presents his argument is condescending by implying that black people are beneath white people for now and as America continues to grant them the same economic opportunities, then everyone would be equal and able to achieve the American Dream.

Baldwin: One big aspect of his argument was the use of pathos to draw sympathy and understanding from his audience. He mentions the experience of a young black boy growing up in America, and how they learn the hard way later on in life that the white man’s America is not the same as the black man’s. Using the example of the black boy not being able to look in the mirror and facing the harsh truth, he allows the audience to better understand the perspective that he is coming from.

Buckley: Buckley takes an approach focused on logos when presenting his argument by citing statistics and different facts to claim that this is the way a black person will get better quality in America. Buckley says “It is, in fact, the case for that seven-tenths of the white income of the United States is equal to the income that is made by the average negro”, by stating this he claims that economic development is what is most important for the black person. This approach allows the audience to understand his argument better of how focusing on the economy and opportunities for black people will further the strive for equality.