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Tristan Zapata-Pulido

Professor Granillo

English 101

26 September 2018

Americas Divisions

Rhetoric is the use of persuasion on readers with the use of three modes known as ethos,

logos, and pathos. Reading through an article “Why America Is Self-Segregating” by Danah

Boyd she wants to make it clear that this time it’s more of people self-segregating and dividing

ourselves among society. Rhetoric was founded by Aristotle, uses the three modes to get others

to see your views, ethos relates to ethics and morals, logos is for logical evidence, and pathos is

all about emotion.. Although Boyd would agree that America is self-segregating she uses the

rhetorical mode of logos with historical background, ethos by stating division in the military, and

pathos in relation to social media slandering; This evidence was further used to get her

motivation across to show that we are segregating ourselves from the world.

Boyd wants to prove that America has had to deal with divergent views and opinions to

keep this country functioning and keeping us together. To give other examples where America

had people with opposing views and how it was handled she stated, “Hell, the history of the

United States is fraught with countless examples of people enslaving and oppressing other

people on the bias of difference.” (Boyd 219). She wants to show where we have had issues with

being segregated. We have always had some divisions between people based off the biases that

feared change or difference, or just hope that they can avoid it. These are all some views that

have been brought by Boyd who was is the founder of the Data & Society research institute,

which makes her evidence valid.


Boyd wrote this article to explain her research and knowledge that our worlds social

fabric is being torn apart. She has knowledgeable information with her being a researcher for

Microsoft Research, professor in interactive telecommunications, and founder of the Date &

Society research institute. Her facts are very logical coming from her having knowledge in how

society works and communications, this is where she gets her follow up information or logical

evidence. She has plenty to bring to the table but there are some who would like to fight and

counter, thinking that America isn’t segregating.

While it is brought to our attention that the internet is meant to bring people together and

close those bridges of division, there are those who use them to build up segregation. Boyd

reminds us that “… The tools that were designed to bring people together are used by people to

magnify division and undermine social solidarity.” (220). This is where Boyd uses ethos to shoe

that the things we make to bridge the divisions are being used to start social groups who slander

one another; While there are those who continue to divide us and keep us segregated, Boyd

wants to bring them into the light so that us as readers can avoid being like them. This explains

that there are a clear majority who still divide us with their biases, stopping us from becoming

less segregated.

We need to come together as people to have a country that has no issues based on the

biases of difference or change. Boyd states what she believes is how our country can function

right, saying “The United States can only function as a healthy democracy if we find a healthy

way to diversify our social connections…” (221). Boyd is using ethos in this as well showing

how our democracy is being affected by segregation which in return could cause more divisions

in society; this county had a big issue with segregation and unfairness to some social groups in

our country. There are still some of that division and unfairness around today, but Boyd wants us
to know that we are starting to increase these divisions again. It is what she wants people to

know, that our diverse country can’t function properly if we do not come together. This is where

she uses a big piece of logos to remind us of the history this country using the time of

segregation which hopefully we won’t go back too.

Boyd being founder of a research institution could be where most of her information

comes from besides the common knowledge we all share. The areas she had to have some type

of research, speaking on privatization in the military. Also, having facts about what our military

was doing after 9/11; speaking on us pouring large amounts of money into the U.S. defense, this

is common knowledge as well because we can assume that we would ante up our defense

system, but it could show that she could’ve had some research. Along with other dates “… the

U.S. military is far lower than it was throughout the 1980’s.” (Boyd, 222); Adding that it was

“Due to the military privatizing huge chunks of it’s branches.” (222). These facts couldn’t be

common knowledge, unless she learned this when she was going to school, there must have been

some type of research done to get these dates and what occurred. Boyd does not focus on just

society, but the military as well with it privatizing its recruits, which doesn’t give them the

chance to learn to work together in a diverse group. Despite Boyd giving some facts without a

citation, which should’ve been there, she wants to try to reach us on an emotional type or way as

well with pathos.

In these areas of pathos Boyd used some of her own language in the article that giver her

emotional input to get us to feel how she does. While she was on the topic of social media,

saying that she felt bad for Mark Zuckerberg because she believes that while people questioned

Facebook for creating divisions, he just wanted to make the world a better place. This was pathos

because she is trying to have her readers have some sympathy for what Mark would’ve wanted
but was criticized and bashed on his website; to get you to feel bad for him and give some

sympathy that people are doing the opposite of what he was trying to do, bring people together.

This example was used to relate back to the theme of segregation. This isn’t the only sign of

pathos that was used she used a sense of caution.

When it came to caution she used more of future scenarios of what could happen to get us

to act now and change. She believes that there is an “increased polarization and were going to

pay a heavy price for this going forward.” (Boyd, 228). This is used to show that there can be

serious consequences if we don’t act now; she indicates that by stating “…we are moving in the

opposite direction with serious consequences.” (228). Thus, giving more feedback on her

wanting us to be cautious. America is just becoming self-segregated and this is what the long-

term damage could be if we continue to go about like this in society. Not only does she want us

to look ahead but right now as well because this could be the very start of our country becoming

self-segregated.

Rhetoric is used to persuade readers with modes like ethos logos and pathos, which relate

to logic, ethics, and emotion. Danah Boyd uses these in her article “Why America is Self-

Segregating” to make it known that more and more people in society are segregating themselves

amongst others. Aristotle created these to give motivation and power to an author’s argument so

that they can prove their views. Her use of logos with the historical evidence, ethos with how it

affects democracy, and pathos for those who try to bridge gaps but are criticized. Self-

segregation is what can tear us apart and ruin society creating new tension between race and

gender; society must bridge these gaps and allow us to heal Americas divisions.
Boyd, Danah. “Why America Is Self-Segregating”, They Say/ I Say, Edited by Gerald

Graff, Kathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. 4th Edition, W.W. Norrton, 2018. pp.219-229,