““I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” Those were George Floyd’s last words. We can’t let those words die with him. We have to keep hearing these words”.
These lines are part of the speech Joe Biden held from the White House after Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all charges in the death of George Floyd.
Biden chose to comment on the verdict in the Derek Chauvin Trail concerning the death of George Floyd. The killing of Floyd caused months of protests in the US and is one of the most high-profile cases in recent years concerning police violence against Black men.
Biden wants justice, when it comes to Americans disregarding race and points out that no one should be above the law.
As a result of this speech, people have sent their hopes and blessings towards George Floyd’ family. The killing of Floyd has put focus on the importance of racial discrimination.
Turning to modes of persuasion we can see the use of the form of appeal called pathos in this speech:
“It was a murder in the full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism the Vice President just referred to — the systemic racism that is a stain our nation’s soul;
the knee on the neck of justice for Black Americans; the profound fear and trauma, the pain, the exhaustion that Black and brown Americans experience every single day.” .
We can see that Joe Biden is trying to appeal to different kinds of emotions – here especially sadness, anger and injustice.
In this way he tries to persuade and get the audience to feel with him about this topic by evoking these different emotions. In addition, Biden uses a personification, when talking about “a stain in our nation’s soul”.
Biden also turns very emotional and becomes compassionate, thereby using pathos, when he refers to having had conversations with the Floyd’s family, especially his young daughter .
We can also see the use of the appeal form logos, when he is referring to examples of reality: “The murder of George Floyd launched a summer off protest we hadn’t seen since the Civil Rights era in the ‘60s” .