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Author’s Methods of Conveying the Main Idea of the Work

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The procedure a writer takes to communicate a topic with the reader is key to develop a strong stance within their writings and confirm that the reader and writer are on the same page.

The author can utilize different techniques to create this stance by using the art of rhetoric and claims. By using these techniques, the writer is able to get his or her point across without stating it exactly. The writer attempts to communicate with reader about the subject at hand by knowing the audience they are attempting to reach and their purpose for their writing. This paper will be focused on the author’s use of persuasion and claims to sway the reader’s opinion and help the reader see their point of view. Using Vanessa K. De Luca’s article “Serena Williams was Blamed for Defending Herself. That’s Nothing New for Black Women.”, I argue that the writer uses these techniques to construct their viewpoint to influence the reader’s opinion on the way that black women and women in general are viewed and treated in America.

De Luca discusses the behavior of the chair umpire Carlos Ramos and his “[attack] on [Serena William’s] character”. The author also emphasizes the reaction of the media and how they “support the stereotyping and….[eagerness] to characterize black women as angry and women in general as incapable of controlling [their] emotions”. When an author is writing, they must keep in mind three important factors for their piece to make sense and come together. They must know their intended audience, this is critical as their intended audience will be the ones to.

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Have their opinion swayed the most and also will be the ones most interested in their stance, reasoning, and claims. In terms of this article, the intended audience seems to be for people who viewed William’s actions as inappropriate or disagreed with her as this will give the author a chance to change the audience’s opinion. The paper was also posted on Washington Post, which happens to have a mixed audience of both sides of the political spectrum. This could aid the author because she will have people who agree with her as well as others who might not agree, which helps her show her argument and get others to see her point of view and thoughts. Another important factor for a writer who is trying to persuade their audience is the person doing the persuading, in other words called the rhetor. The rhetor is critical to identify so that the reader is informed who is trying to persuade, which can help to see if the writer has any credibility. The rhetor for this article is De Luca, who served as the Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine, award winning journalist, and featured on national TV programs like CBS This Morning, NBC’s Today show, and CNN. Lastly, the writer must know their purpose of their writing. The purpose is crucial as it provides a meaning for the article, which can be to inform, to persuade, to express, and to create. Regarding this article, the intent appears to be to inform and make aware of the situation that occurred, hopefully to alert the audience of the problem that America has been “forever tainted by the same old sexist, misogynistic tropes that women, and black women in particular, have been dealing with for centuries”. All of these factors contribute to the rhetorical situation and aids in the writing process for the author to build and develop their argument.

Within De Luca’s article, she uses various different techniques to build her argument. She utilizes the strategy of claim of value, definitional claim, as well as the three rhetorical appeals, which are the following: Logos, ethos, and pathos. In regards to the article, the author

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Uses claim of value to bring awareness to the problem “that being attacked for speaking up is part of daily life for black women”. She also says that this problem occurs “ when [they] challenge male authority”. By using these claims of value, she is expressing that a problem exists within our society about the way that black women are being treated. The author is stating these facts due to expressing her opinion on the unfairness that Serena Williams dealt with, in other words, valuing Williams due to how she was mistreated. The claims she states are controversial and can be viewed differently depending on the person even among the Washington Post, which has a mixed audience as stated before. De Luca also utilizes the art of definitional claims, when the author mentions how Ramos penalized Williams, she tries to show how ignorant the penalization was by emphasizing that Williams is “a professional athlete with 23 Grand Slam single titles, and therefore well versed in tennis rules and regulations”. She uses this statement to define Williams as a well informed player in the world of tennis. She uses claim of definition to support her argument that the penalization was unfair and that, like always, black women are treated differently even if they have credibility behind them. The way that the media treated the situation at hand was also a big problem for De Luca due to them having misleading titles. De Luca presumes that because Williams is black and a women, the media describes “William’s actions on the court as a “furious rant,” “an outburst,” a “shocking tirade” and a “meltdown”. De Luca vocalizes that this “[supports] the stereotyping” of women and black women due to the media making it seem as though Williams acted out without a cause.

One of the three rhetorical appeals is Ethos, which is the author making themselves seem educated, reliable, dependable, and plausible. This is extremely important for a author to do because if the author had none of the characteristics listed above, the intended audience will not

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Take the author seriously and lack faith within the article because the person writing it doesn’t seem educated. Though for this article the author does not mention herself much, the times that she does is very crucial. De Luca is described in the caption under her name as a media consultant and former editor in chief of Essence magazine, which is a magazine geared toward a black audience.. By having this description under her name, it builds her credibility that she has experience in writing and is very honorable. Once researched, De Luca is black and a women, which creates a personal credibility within this argument.. Due to her being the same race and gender as Williams, she most likely has experienced the inequality that Williams faced in her tournament. this builds trust within De Luca and shows that she is educated and is making valid points. It is important to take into account that within the article, De Luca is showing the unity between her, Williams, and Naomi Osaka. At one point, she refers to women’s emotions as “our emotions”, creating a understanding that she is on the same level as Williams and Osaka, maybe not in profession but in society. De Luca also does this when discussing the fact that Williams has made “the path Osaka follows in tennis and in life…a little less difficult”. She mentions this to convey that these women have shared values. Having mentioned the unification of these two women, De Luca is slowly building her credibility that she is too a black women and understands these values.

Another factor of the rhetorical appeal is pathos, one of the most powerful of the rhetorical appeals. Pathos involves that appeal to emotion, and using the audience emotions to persuade them and build the argument presented. De Luca presents pathos when mentioning how William’s is “here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality”. This appeals to emotion as this shows the pride Williams has for fighting for women’s equality. By including

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This in the article, De Luca is showing the hardship that Williams faces and how she is willing to fight for women to be equal when men don’t have to because Ramos has “never taken a game from a man”. This causes the audience to feel pity for Williams and makes De Luca’s argument more powerful. Since Washington Post is not a one sided publisher, there can be many mixed emotions from the audience. There could be people who agree with Williams and her actions, which most likely could be black women and women. In all likelihood, they feel as though the fouls were unjustified and had racial and/or sexist intent behind them. There can also be people who agree with Ramos’ decisions and believe that Williams got what she deserved, this most likely will be white males. They will probably feel less pity for Williams and believe that the fouls against her were equitable. De Luca also discusses Williams after the match and how Williams “[embraced] [the] winner Osaka during the awards ceremony”. By presenting this, it refutes the stereotype of “[characterizing] black women as angry and women in general as incapable of controlling [their] emotions”, which was stated previously. This shows that Williams is able to take the loss, act professional, and control her emotions.

The last part of the rhetorical appeals is logos, which is the appeal to facts and statistics. This can help build an argument by using proven facts and statistics, which can strengthen the argument dramatically. Logos also has to do with how logically a argument is presented. In terms of this article, the logic behind the argument is very valid due to Williams being a black women and the referee being a white male. This argument that De Luca presents is extremely known and has been discussed many times before. It has some rationality behind it because of these two people being different genders and races. De Luca also states that “it has happened before to Serena Williams, in collisions with tennis’s ruling organizations, but never as

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Dramatically”. She acknowledges the fact that William’s has had problems with the tennis rules in the past, and states that they were not as dramatic as this recent one. Expressing this shows that this situation went farther then it was meant to, De Luca states that “Ramos could have defused the situation simply by saying that he understood her point- and then warning her that if she continued to speak, he would penalize her a third time.” Stating this creates a appeal to reasoning because if Ramos handled the situation in a fair and professional way, then the feud would not have been as extreme as it was. Having this reasoning of how Ramos could have handled the situation better shows that the argument of black women and women in general being treated differently is viable. Within the rhetorical appeal of logos, there is a is type of argument called a enthymeme, which is the deliberate omission of a conclusion or a premise, usually adds a dramatic effect to the piece. For this article, De Luca says that “she had a bad feeling from the moment that Williams walked over to chair umpire Carlos Ramos”, but she never states why she had this feeling. She omits the reasoning behind her having a bad feeling, leaving the reader guessing. This bad feeling could have arised due to De Luca noticing that Williams is a black women going against a white male. She is trying to say that because Williams is a black women, she will almost automatically be seen as wrong than the white male. De Luca also presents the fact that Williams “is a professional athlete with 23 Grand Slam singles titles, therefore well versed in tennis rules and regulations”. By expressing this, she is able to show that Williams is very educated on the rules of tennis and is not going to “cheat to win, [she’d] rather lose”.

In conclusion, De Luca presents a valid argument through the use of rhetorical appeals, claim of value, definitional claim, and the art of persuasion. She adequately proposes her

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Argument to her intended audience with claims and persuasion techniques. Though she could have stated more facts and statistics about black women being mistreated and used those to further and strengthen her argument. If she had used more facts, the argument would have been of higher quality. She shows her purpose by constantly stating the inequality that occurred in regard to Serena Williams, in a attempt to inform her audience that change needs to occur.

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