Previous preamble of the Constitution, “We the people,

 Previous generations in the United States had
pessimistic views, where unity of all racial backgrounds seemed improbable. Today,
the people strive to correct this issue to become a more perfect union. In
Barack Obama’s speech, “A More Perfect Union,” he acknowledges the challenge of
racism in the country, but gives aspirations of a new outlook of the country
where unity is possible. This speech allowed him to address the emotions of
many people toward racial division and the effects it has on the unity of the
country. Barack Obama employs exemplum and juxtaposition to create an emotional
appeal that challenges those who believe themselves to be vastly different from
others in order to unite them in solving the country’s problems.

Throughout
his speech, Barack Obama uses exemplum to communicate with a variety of racial
groups that believe they are vastly different from others, when they share
similar aspects of life that make them Americans. Exemplum is an anecdote that
demonstrates a point to connect the audience to a topic. Obama starts his speech
by stating the preamble of the Constitution, “We the people, in order to form a
more perfect union” to make people recall the history of the country (386). The
use of this exemplum establishes credibility for Obama that will allow him to
enhance his argument that the nation should be unified. Moreover, the design of
this exemplum creates an emotional response for Americans to have sympathy for
those that had courage to leave their lives in another country to form a
preferable government that benefited everyone’s life. The country was not founded
by one specific group of people, but a multitude of groups. Furthermore, this reference
from the opening words of the preamble makes his audience reminisce of times
when people from diverse backgrounds set aside their differences and came
together to form a new government. Additionally, Obama strengthens his argument
by delivering an example of the people who “launched America’s improbable
experiment in democracy as farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who
had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny” (387). This exemplum clarifies
that, although these people came from diverse backgrounds, they share a common
goal of pursuing a better future for themselves and their families. Creating a
feeling of curiosity, this example demonstrates that people of different racial
backgrounds can communicate with each other to solve similar issues. If critics
were not persuaded by past examples of American unity, he goes on to give examples
from the present day. Obama states a case where the “lack of economic
opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not
being able to provide for one’s family” is like the anger that resides in a
middle-class white man that “worked hard all their lives, many times only to
see their jobs shipped overseas” (394). His description exhibits two groups not
differing vastly from each other when dealing with job security. However, their
racial anger towards one another has confined them to irrational views that the
other group is the cause of their hardships. This anger has clouded their
judgement to see the real culprit of their matters. The exemplum allows them to
see their irrational views and that they need to work together to solve their
issues since they are struggling through a similar experience. Dividing this
country because of irrational views would be unwise, creating more situations
that will be miserable to solve.

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In
addition, Barack Obama uses juxtaposition to compare his ideas with those who
do not agree that unity is the solution to the nation’s problems. Juxtaposition
compares contrasting ideas of a topic to create different emotions within the audience
in reaction to both sides. During the campaign, Obama was heavily criticized
for his affiliation with his priest who had controversial views about the white
race and federal government. Obama explains that his priest “expressed a
profoundly distorted view of this country–a view that sees white racism as
endemic” (389). This view contrasts with Obama’s idea that Americans of all
backgrounds were “hungry for this message of unity” when he won a “commanding
victory in the state with the whitest population in the country, South
Carolina” (388). On one side, the priest advises his followers to reject help
from others and to solve situations on their own, while Obama instead urges the
American people to show decency and come together to solve the problems in this
country. These ideas show dissimilar views on matters of the same issue. Juxtaposition
is used later when Obama displays the disparities between Reverend Wright’s ideas
and his own. In Wright’s sermon he “spoke as if our society was static; as if
no progress has been made” while Obama disagreed by stating that the “true
genius of this nation” is that “America can change” (396). The Reverend’s views
of unity illustrate a negative attitude while Obama’s ideas give the people
hope for a better future. By highlighting this contrast, Obama creates a
positive effect that strengthens his own claim, that people can change their
irrational views of race to form a unified nation which can solve its problems
as one. Through emphasizing the difference between his and the Reverend’s arguments,
Obama’s juxtaposition enables his audience to see the true identity of America.
Therefore, it would be difficult for a critic to deny that diversity, not
supremacy, is the answer to all their problems when history has proved this
idea.

In short, Barack
Obama urges the nation to unite, regardless of racial background to solve their
problems. Regarding discussions of racial injustice as illegitimate causes
racial anger within the country. Besides race, people do not vastly differ from
one another. While they may believe they are different, they have the same
issues, because they are all trying to solve the same problem. Through using exemplum
and juxtaposition, Obama reinforces this argument. Hopefully, his speech will
provide future generations knowledge to do what is necessary to close the
bridge of racial division in this country

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