For my rhetorical analysis, I selected an article from the Miami Student and identified the various persuasive moves that a rhetor makes when appealing to an audience. In this assignment, I identified what the author is trying to argue, but more closely, how the author has attempted to persuade the audience.
Diversity is integral in understanding all humanity—whether it be in our nation or the world as a whole. Diversity is seen through many facets, college campuses being one of them. Brett Schneider, a writer for the Miami Student, discusses diversity on Miami University’s campus in his article “Miami Student Body Needs More Diversity.” He claims that Miami does not do an acceptable job of introducing diversity on its campus, and as a result, does not adequately educate its students of the importance of diversity, making them unaware of the happenings in the larger nation and world surrounding them. Through Schneider’s personal experience of being a Miami student, his target audience focused on the people who make up Miami University and the backing of his claims through statistics, his argument is persuasive and underlies the importance of diversity on college campuses, Miami University in particular.
Schneider’s article speaks to the Miami student body and administration as a whole since it appeared in the school newspaper. Therefore, the speaker is voicing these opinions to the Miami student body, not universities in general. Through the rhetor’s word choice, using “we” and “our” he shows that, he too, is a part of the audience and relates on a personal level with whom he is speaking. This insight gives more consolation to those reading his piece, creating awareness that the writer has a reason for addressing the issue, effectively backs his claims, and personally experiences his argument on a daily basis.
Schneider uses an internal factor, his personal experiences and an external factor, statistics and rankings, to back his major claim that Miami University should increase ethnic diversity on its campus. This increase in diversity will allow students’ to gain important knowledge and understanding of the country in which they live, and in a broader sense, the world stretching far beyond our nation. Through his personal experiences, that is, being a student at Miami University, Schneider is forced to acknowledge the issue of diversity on a daily basis; in fact, all Miami students experience this issue daily. Simply by walking around Miami’s campus one can clearly see the lack of diversity. Whether it is the school itself or the people who make it up, Miami lacks variety, and Schneider states, through an external report, “We know that we do a repugnant job with diversity, as evidenced by our ranking as the fourth worst of the 371 institutions rated by the Princeton Review for ‘race/class interaction.’” Through the use of more specific statistics, the rhetor effectively proves the crucial aspect diversity poses on one’s general life. In his findings, Schneider concluded that Miami University is 90.2 percent white whereas the state of Ohio, as of 2006, was 82.8 percent white and the US was about 66 percent white. Therefore, 90 percent of Miami students are white, while only 10 percent of students are from other cultures, which is disappointing and clearly not representative of the disparity in the United States or the world. As a result, after graduating college and leaving Ohio, Miami does not provide the tools students need to acknowledge diversity, including individual and cultural differences, in a country where more than a quarter of the population is ethnically diverse. The issue of diversity is essential because it gives students more familiarity of people who may not be exactly like them, and “Improving your familiarity with the culture of various subgroups is essential to having a full understanding of the country in which you live.” Without diversity, Miami students will be “Unprepared for the spectrum of people who will be your future co-workers and neighbors,” Schneider argues. These statistics give a more realistic approach to the issue, ultimately proving diversity’s critical role in shaping Miami students’ future successes. Showing these insufficient statistics to students raises the importance of the issue, specifically identifying that these percentages and rankings are not only unacceptable but embarrassing as well.
On a more personal level, which all people have related to, there is evidence that can be used to state that Schneider believes all people deserve equality, all people are important, and all people should be viewed in that way, although he does not implicitly document any values or beliefs in his piece. He continually talks about how individuals must understand different cultures in order to understand the people of that culture. The rhetor also mentions how it will give students’ larger perspectives and greater meanings throughout their lives. Clearly, then, he thinks that each person, regardless of what background or personal experience they have had, is worthy of equality and must be viewed as a unique, important, and worthy individual, an imperative concept all people have been taught and subsequently valued throughout their lives.
While diversity is good for rankings in a college review book, the issue goes further beyond that. A difference of culture will shape our views for the rest of our lives, but it begins in the classroom. As Schneider notes, “Visual diversity does bring a greater range of perspectives and thought processes to the classroom, which allows us to better challenge ourselves academically.” The importance of diversity in the larger scheme of the world cannot be achieved without the change being made first in the classroom. Sure, professors and student’s can read books and discuss how different cultures may interact or form beliefs they still cherish today, but these teachings will have greater value if a student in the class is from a diverse background and can personally give examples of their unique cultures. Anyone can assume certain aspects of another’s background but it is not possible to get the full effect unless one has a personal experience, which a Miami student can do through the unique and important differences of their classmates.
Overall, Schneider ultimately proposed that Miami University was in dire need of increasing ethnic diversity across its campus. This argument was successful in persuading his audience, Miami students, of the importance of diversity through his personal experience of being a Miamian, his target audience focused on the people who make up Miami University, and the backing of his claims through statistics and rankings. Although Schneider did not seem too angered with this issue and how it has, one can say, had a lack of awareness on campus, the author still cites his argument and proves it efficiently. The percentages Schneider used proved that Miami could do a much better job of creating diversity on campus and, more importantly, he notes his belief that “Experiencing diversity and learning from it should come naturally through friendship and, in my opinion, this starts and ends with the admissions office.” The admissions office needs to see the necessity for diversity on Miami’s campus and should be the first ones to act on it, only allowing more cultural identities to gain the notability they deserve. As a response to this piece, students reading the article will most likely reflect on their own experiences at Miami and agree that there is little diversity on campus and little has been done to solve this conflict. Schneider’s argument clearly described his point, evidently articulates what he thought should be changed, and inadvertently makes his values and beliefs clear to all of those who come across this piece. Overall, Schneider effectively persuades his audience that ethnic diversity is essential on college campuses and is needed for students to gain knowledge of the outer world that they will be thrust into after graduating from Miami.
Schneider, Brett. “Miami Student Body Needs More Diversity.” Miami Student. 7 December. 2009. 28 September. 2010.