espartas3-take2 - Spartas 1 Against Expectations In 1976...

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Spartas 1 Against Expectations In 1976 Barbara Jordan was one of the keynote speakers at the Democratic National Convention. Her speech was different from those the American people were used to. The most obvious difference was a matter of who was giving the speech- a black woman was delivering it! For that time, a time when gender and race discrimination were still fairly accepted, this was an interesting choice. The next thing that made the speech unusual was that it failed to tear apart the Republican Party while presenting the Democratic Party in a better light as most political speeches do. When combining these unexpected factors with several value appeals Jordan was able to present a fairly successful speech to the American people. In a time when both the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements were occurring Barbara Jordan stood a symbol to the people listening to her speech. Being a black woman she was able to catch people’s attention right away. People had to wonder what could be so special about this Black woman that made her worthy of delivering a speech at the Democratic National Convention. There had to be something unique and special about her if this person- this Black woman- was selected to deliver a speech at such an important event. Because Barbara Jordan was representing not one but two minorities she became all the more inspiring. One reason given for why Jordan may have been chosen as keynoter is that “as a black woman, she symbolized the Democratic party’s traditional empathy for and acceptance of powerless minorities” (Frye). Yet another minority Jordan was able to represent was that of those who come from lower income backgrounds. Her ability to overcome economic hardships added to her appeal (Frye). In a way, she symbolized achievement of the American dream. She was a living
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Spartas 2 example that the American Dream is an attainable dream. Even in her opening Jordan noted her presence “as one additional bit of evidence that the American Dream need not forever be deferred” (Thomson225). A great deal of the success of the speech was due to the new and different approach Jordan took. Typically political speeches patronize the opposing party. They point out the faults their opponent has, while highlighting the positive aspects of the side they are fighting for. Jordan, however, rejected this tactic and allowed her speech to offer criticism on both parties. With the phrase “We have made mistakes. We realize that. We admit our mistakes” Jordan recognizes that the party is not perfect (Jordan). After doing so Jordan notes the value of progress by stating “And now -- now we must look to the future” (Jordan). Not only is the value of progress noted, but also by admitting mistakes Jordan appeals to the value of honesty. This was especially important at the time because there was a great deal of suspicion regarding the government due to Vietnam. This honesty allowed the people to regain hope that not all government officials would lie to
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This note was uploaded on 10/20/2011 for the course SPANISH 231 taught by Professor Delgado during the Spring '09 term at Willamette.

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espartas3-take2 - Spartas 1 Against Expectations In 1976...

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