Credibility of a Source: An Article About Police Brutality by Charles Blow
Currently, the news is littered with events of police causing harm to innocent civilians. There was a seven year period where at least two incidences of police brutality occurred a week. Thankfully this period ended in 2012, but police brutality is still rampant enough today to be considered a priority problem. Such instances include the shooting of Trayvon Martin back in 2012 and the shooting of Michael Brown just last year. A recent example would be Charles Blow’s son’s run in with the police at the Yale University campus.
Charles Blow is a journalist for the New York Times who normally focuses on stories about racial equality. This time though his story involves his son being harassed by an officer after being mistaken for a wanted criminal. His son was leaving the library at Yale University when an officer stopped him at gunpoint as he had been called on scene to stop a burglary. Blow’s son was told to get on the ground as he just happened to fit the description and was questioned forcefully by the officer. The officer then let Blow’s son leave saying he would call him later, but as he was walking away the cop stopped him one last time to confirm the students ID. After showing the officer his ID he was free to go and he returned to his dorm to call his father.
Blow writes this article to stress the point that police brutality is a serious problem. It’s not just the problem of police brutality but the wrongful way that officers handle certain situations. Officers are trained to handle every situation and keep everything calm and from getting out of hand. This is the complete opposite of how the situation should have been dealt with. Most often when an officer is out to make an arrest he will ask the suspect his name and then make an arrest or let the person go. They don’t normally wave their guns around asking people for their identification; this is how you poorly handle a sensitive situation like this. Blow states in an interview with CNN that this is a traumatic story about his son, but more than that, it was created to highlight instances like this for other people too. His son was lucky that his father was a journalist that could spread his story, but Blow also wants to shed light on those stories that never make it onto the news. Many people have traumatic experiences with officers of the law and no one ever knows about it.
Charles uses police brutality in his column about racial inequality in an effort to give both issues more attention. He hopes that with his history at the NYT he was a large bit of credibility and backing to support his mission. With almost seven years of journalism under his belt he knows what he’s doing and can be trusted to do what’s best for everyone. He tries to focus on issues for every race and shine light on everyone equally. There is a sense of bias though as he is an African American journalist who focuses mostly on hate against African Americans. It is a greater possibility though there is a larger amount of hate related events against African Americans than people of other races.
The article does not really convey many examples of rhetoric, but he expresses a general bias that plays a part in the article. The issue is expressed with more emotion and force because not only did this happen to an African American, but it happened to his son. Blow is used to writing columns about African American abuse, but this time it happened to his son which most likely changed the words that he used and how he portrayed the problem. A lot of his words are him expressing his opinion, but he addresses the problem professionally as well. He uses his opinion to only strengthen his point against the issue, because any parent who reads this and imagines their child in his son’s position will agree with him. Even though he is a passionate scorned parent, the amount of facts and information that he uses in his article counteracts his biased opinion.
If the reader revisits the article with Toulmin logic in mind, it can be found that the article doesn’t take on a new meaning; instead, the ideas stay the same. In his article Blow makes no claims as to what happened that day, he merely relays the message he heard from his son. He is infuriated at the thought of any of that happening to his son true or not and discusses the issue of police brutality in an informative format. If anything had ended up being false there would have been a counterargument from the police officer. There was never a hint of what happened being untrue and the police department confirmed this by giving an official apology to Blow. What does happen is Blow purposefully turns the masses to his corner by conveying his emotions in his writing. When people read the article they feel angry and ready to rid the world of police brutality.
With this issue being a problem costing young Americans their lives it is good to know that many are fighting against it. Blow is just one of the many fighting to make not just his own son’s story known but the stories of others as well. This article is definitely a good source for anyone looking for more information about yet another event involving police brutality.