Speech What Martin Luther King Research Paper

Download this Research Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Research Paper:

The real words of King? "I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government." (quoted in: Husseini)

The final major flaw is that Clinton addresses the black ministers with a severe racial hubris -- he never makes any mention of the racial differences that might call into question his naive (at best) brotherly demeanor. He careful avoids bringing attention to the fact that he is not, as he says, "one of" these honest black ministers -- he does not actually share in their pain or their calling. The fact that he preaches to them on their moral duty instead of involving them in dialog and addressing them honestly as equals who might have as much to teach him as vice versa on the issue of race relations is rather disturbing.

Reactions to the speech were mixed. It was widely hailed as a breakthrough, and considered to be extremely eloquent. One New York Times reported said of it, "[Clinton] spoke from within himself, responding in emotional terms to the appalling reality of violence in this country today. The response he got shows that one thing Americans want a President to do is to speak out about wrongs... No one person can solve our problems of social decay but this President has made us face them." (in: American Review) Perhaps ironically, for an unabashedly liberal-centrist president, the conservative parties apparently had very little to say about this speech, though of course they generally opposed his crime and medical bills which were exalted here. The general white media seemed glad to honor it as racial bridge-building, an assessment based, one assumes, on the cozy fashion in which Clinton addressed the ministers as brothers.

Black activist groups and true liberals, on the other hand, had some rather harsh opinions of the speech. Their readings, like that of this listener, instantly saw the speech as a very direct attack on the progress of civil rights (as seen in his claim that King would decry black people's supposed misuse of their freedoms).

As Scott Marshall of the Race and Ethnicity site says:

Perhaps the most unashamedly racist speech by a president, or any public official, was Clinton's "off-the-cuff, straight-from-the-heart" speech in which he lamented the "great crisis of the spirit that is gripping America today." Using codewords and themes such as "personal responsibility," "family stability" and "family pathologies," he reverted to the old themes of blaming the victims, revealing a president deeply infected with racism. This address will go down in history as infamous, reviving the oldest and worst racist stereotypes, bigotry and ignorance."

Clinton reports that this speech was done entirely off-the-cuff. As he says in his book My Life, " I put away my notes and, [I was] speaking to friends from my heart in the language of our shared heritage..." (excerpt in: Blueprint Magazine) it is difficult to say precisely what heritage Clinton shared with these minority religious leaders. It is even more difficult to be sure about the actual heritage of this speech. According to Clinton's autobiography, the speech was delivered on-the-fly, as it were. In other places, however, he openly and promiscuously gave credit for the writing of that speech to one of his prominently non-white (Latina) speechwriters, Carolyn Curiel.

Curiel herself, on the other hand, collaborates his early statement by saying that "gave him talking points, not text, and Clinton launched off of them..." (Bogue) One can, of course, consider any number of reasons why the president might want to credit a speech which many considered to be racist to a non-white woman writer.

Carolyn Curiel is also credited as being the author of his 1995 speech on affirmative action, in which the phrase "mend it, don't end it" was introduced.

Curiel's life story is, in itself, an obvious tribute to the successes of affirmative action. She spent most of her childhood removed from the normal experiences of a child in her position due to dehabilitating asthma that kept her constantly in a controlled indoor environment. She became a fluent reader, actor, and writer early in. She attended school to study journalism, and fresh out of her graduation was snapped up by a company who liked her resume. She held a short series of jobs after that, including working for some short time for Ted Koppel. The White House actually contact her, at her job with the New York Times, to ask her to audition for a position as a presidential screenwriter. After she was very quickly snatched up to the White House, where she frequently volunteered for the most difficult writing assignments. After leaving her position there, she was honored by the president and granted the position of "ambassador for life." She credits her success with her ability to, as she puts it, "Plug Away!" And "Stand out in some way... I could put myself in a position where I could show results." (Borgue)

If Carloyn did write this speech herself, it still does not alter the fact that it has many racist undertones perceptible to an alert listener. For starters, of course, Carolyn is not black but Hispanic, and historically there has been some tension between these two groups. Perhaps more importantly, of course, is the fact that the role of the speechwriter not to evoke their own opinion and ideas about the world, but to submerge their own id and ego in favor of expressing the articulations and ideas of the person for whom the speech is written. Clinton's poilitical stances are the primary thing which affected this speech. Apparently, spontaneous alterations of the text and proof-reading of any speech texts. In one article on the historical development of speech-writing explained: "[Clinton] would start reading what you had, and he would edit with his mouth, not with his hands. 'That's not me; I can't say that; how does this sound?'... As he gave it there would be an entirely different speech taking shape... And that would be the nucleus of a new speech." (American President.org) With such a pattern, there is no wonder that this speech was slightly dismorphic.

Bibliography

American Presidents.org "Office of Speechwriting: Judson Welliver and His Successors. http://www.americanpresident.org/action/orgchart/administration_units/officeofspeechwriting/printable.html

American Review. "PRESIDENT CLINTON'S SPEECH to BLACK MINISTERS in MEMPHIS. http://www.americanreview.us/memphis.htm

Borgue, Amy. " Alumna Enjoys Career as Presidential Speechwriter, Journalist and Ambassador" the Communicator. http://www.cla.purdue.edu/academic/comm/Newsletter/Spring2003/curiel.html

Clinton, Bill. My Life (Excerpt). Blueprint Magazine, July 2004. http://www.ndol.org/ndol_ci.cfm?kaid=127&subid=173&contentid=252794

Clinton, Bill. "REMARKS to the CONVOCATION of the CHURCH of GOD in CHRIST in MEMPHIS, November 13, 1993." The Clinton Foundation. http://www.clintonfoundation.org/legacy/111393-speech-by-president-in-memphis.htm

Denton, Nancy. "Half Empty or Half Full: Segregation and Segregated Neighborhoods 30 years after the Fair Housing Act." Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research. Vol 4 No 3. 1999, pp. 107-122.

Husseini, Sam. "Religion and Politics: The Media's One-Dimensional View" Osama Husseini. http://www.husseini.org/

Marshall, Scott. " the Fight Against Racism Today" Race & Ethnicity. http://eserver.org/race/fight-against-racism-today.html[continue]

Some Sources Used in Document:

"osama-husseini" 

Cite This Research Paper:

"Speech What Martin Luther King" (2005, May 30) Retrieved December 7, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/speech-what-martin-luther-king-63952

"Speech What Martin Luther King" 30 May 2005. Web.7 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/speech-what-martin-luther-king-63952>

"Speech What Martin Luther King", 30 May 2005, Accessed.7 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/speech-what-martin-luther-king-63952

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Martin Luther King Speech Critical Analysis of

    Martin Luther King Speech Critical Analysis of "I've Been to the Mountaintop" by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The last speech Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered has been popularly referred to as the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech (). Dr. King delivered this speech on April 3, 1968 at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. Following this speech on April 4, 1968, Dr. King

  • Martin Luther King Jr The Mid Twentieth Century

    Martin Luther King, Jr. The mid-twentieth century was a time of much reform for many Americans, and even more push for equality amongst African-Americans. Amongst the leaders of the well-known African-American movements toward desegregation and equality for black rights was the activist Martin Luther King, Jr. A renowned and respected pastor and a man well-known for his peace movements within the African-American revolts and the anti-war protests against Vietnam, there is

  • MLK Jr On Morality Utilitarianism

    " Would King align himself with Utilitarianism? J.S. Mill asserted that the good can only be measured by the consequences of an act, whether pleasurable or painful. In its well-known simplified form, the maxim of Utilitarianism says that what should be chosen is what brings "the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people." Mill nuanced the notion of happiness, subordinating sensual happiness to mental happiness. King would have

  • Martin Luther King the Story

    ... we noticed all over the polo grounds almost a half million people.... I could hear people shouting all over that vast audience, "Freedom, Freedom!" before I knew it, I started weeping. I was crying for joy.... And I could hear that old Negro spiritual once more crying out: 'Free at last, free at last, Great God Almighty, I'm free at last (Carson).'" Finally, Dr. King pointed out that," "The

  • Martin Luther King s Speech

    Martin Luther King: "I have a Dream" a Timeless Speech Since the beginning of recorded time there has been discrimination against various people for several different reasons, however the one main reason, simply put, is that they deviate from the norm or are different in some way. Among the groups against who are discriminated are African-American people who have taken many generations of harsh treatment. Because of this horrible alienation there

  • Martin Luther King Jr When Martin Luther

    Martin Luther King, Jr. When Martin Luther King, Jr. was growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, during the 1930s, he promised his mother: "I'm going to turn this world upside down." A number of years later, he followed his dream and became the leader of America's civil rights movement (Pastan, 5). During his 13 short years of advocacy, King helped Americans recognize the wrongs that were being done against black Americans and,

  • Martin Luther King s I Have

    Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred…We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force…the marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro


Read Full Research Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved