Free «MLK's Letter to the Clergy» Essay

MLK's Letter to the Clergy

MLK jr's letter was Rogerian because it was very respectful of the other person's opinion. He

was able to make his point while at the same time acknowledging the opposition, and instead of

belitting his opponent, he admits that he has a good opinion. Rogerian was a good choice,

because if you want someone to respect you, you should show them respect as well. If all you are

doing is telling them why they are wrong and you are right, they are less likely to take you

seriously and consider your side as you considered their's.

In this fragment, author insists that the style of MLK’s letter to the clergy bears signs of a Rogerian argument. The thesis is undoubtedly correct, while the author’s reasoning is somewhat shaky. The very first sentence pretends to prove the point, referring to the respectful tone of the King’s letter. However, it has little to do with the main attribute of Rogerian argument, which is about finding common ground with the opponent. Showing respect is a good communication style, but it does not help discovering shared values. Actually, the outward respect that King has demonstrated did not prevent him expressing bitter disappointment with “white moderate”, whom clerks apparently represented. Further on, the author mentions that King has acknowledged clergy’s opinion while making his point. Strictly speaking, it is not true as the only position that MLK has repeatedly agreed with was Christian roots he shared with clergymen. Contrastingly, King systematically challenged clerks’ allegations about his Birmingham campaign once he has established common grounds on the base of Christian values. These two logical fallacies weaken the author’s arguments in favor of King’s letter being Rogerian.

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While containing some discrepancies, this fragment nevertheless effectively conveys the author’s point on the topic. Indeed, at a first glance the logic seems straight and persuasive. The author is right about the main features of Rogerian arguments. It is true that the clergy would have been offended should King confront them openly and aggressively. Likewise, the notion of respect is relevant, though not exactly evidential. On top of this, there is a fact that no written work can be exactly categorized as belonging to some strictly defined style. Being in essence Rogerian, King’s arguments sometimes deviate from the definition of this style, which complicates the analysis. Overall, the author has undoubtedly succeeded in proving the point, while more accurate arguments might have improved the evidence base.

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