Scholars in the field of speech communication have described genres as generalizations and have been defined by context similarities in ways of thinking, situations, and audiences with the expectation that these similarities will result in similar types of rhetoric. Rhetorical genres are a fusion of elements that consist of substantive, stylistic and situational characteristics where the key idea or organizing principle (root term or label) is formed by the set of interdependent features of the genre. Generic criticism is a method of rhetorical criticism in which “the generic critic seeks to discover commonalities in rhetorical patterns across recurring situations”.
Generic rhetorical criticism provides insight into the ways humans attempt to persuade each other.
“Applying the generic approach to the rhetoric of social movements may make it easier for us to understand, and explain, how that particular kind of persuasion operates in society”. Generic criticism may also provide insight into the strategies that marginalized/oppressed groups use to challenge a dominant perspective, and the impact they have on the external audience.
The focus of this essay is the content and context of a two-minute impromptu speech given by Walter “Hawk” Newsome Jr., the President of the Black Lives Matter of Greater New York chapter at the Mother of All Rallies (MOAR).
This is significant since the rally was a pro-Trump rally fueled with a predominantly white audience, and the purpose of Newsome’s presence along with a handful of Black Lives Matter chapter members was to protest the rally. He was not scheduled to speak and was actually expecting to be met with hostility from the crowd, instead, these two groups for a moment in time, shattered the ‘Divided America” narrative.
The outcome of this encounter was considered positive for all groups that were involved but poses the question of whether the Black Lives Matter group actually engaged in a protest.
An attempt of discovery will be through a generic rhetorical analysis, particularly the generic participation of the artifact, and will involve a deductive process that “involves three steps: describing the perceived situational requirements, substantive and stylistic strategies, and organizing principle of a genre; describing the perceived situational requirements, substantive and stylistic strategies, and organizing principle of an artifact; and comparing the characteristics of the artifact with those of the genre to discover if the artifact belongs to the genre”. Racism in America is an ongoing social issue that has continued to plague many ethnic groups, particularly African American society. The long-fought struggle for justice and equality stemmed from direct action and organized protests from the civil rights movement (Janken, 2010). The leadership and activism of many freedom fighters, protestors, and various structured organizations relied on the tactics of nonviolence and passive resistance to support this social movement