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Adriana McGhee



Feb. 12th, 2018

Paper 2

In class we learned that control response is key for control rhetoric. Avoidance is the first

strategy of control. When an establishment uses avoidance tactics they include, “counter-

persuasion, evasion, postponement, secrecy with rationale, and denial of means” (BOJS 55).

Passive tactics of avoidance include evasion, postpone and claiming the need for secrecy. All of

these attempt to waste time in order to further silence the agitators. Active tactics of avoidance

include counter-persuasion and denial of means. Both of these are negotiation tactics to push the

agitators into a corner and force them to choose what’s most important to them. The second

strategy of control is suppression. The goal of avoidance is to find the core of the agitator’s

issues, whereas “suppression tactics attempt to weaken or remove the movement’s leaders”

(BOJS 61). Establishments do this through harassment, denial of the agitator’s demands, and

banishment. An example of this at UA was during the integration of Autherine Lucy. Because

her and Pollie Myers were backed by the NAACP, UA had a strong agitator force going against

them. When UA expelled Lucy, they were using banishing tactics by forcing her to leave the

university. The third strategy of control is adjustment. Establishments use this when avoidance

and suppression are unsuccessful. This is when institutions have to adapt, modify or alter their

structures. UA used this strategy when they made changes to institutional buildings on campus at

the demands of agitators. They changed previously used building names that were associated

with racism to more progressive names. The last strategy of control is capitulation. This is when
all else fails and the institution is forced to adopt the agitator’s ideologies and replace their own

ideas, goals, policies and beliefs to suit their agenda.

The Black Lives Matter movement has grown tremendously as the years have passed and

as more black men die at the hands of police. This movement has been frowned upon by a large

number of people so they’ve had their fair share of control strategies used against them. For

example, Fox News and other right-wing media use Murphy’s strategy of naming. They labelled

BLM marches as violent and unsafe. With naming, the agitators get deemed as something that

they might not be. An example of naming that can make a positive movement be viewed as a

negative one was mentioned in Murphy’s article. He stated that The Freedom Riders were at first

characterized by Times as courageous victims, but that changed when they wrote another article

accusing them of being trouble hunters. After that article, people began to resent The Freedom

Riders based off of their label. This is much like the BLM movement, when taken out of context,

people might believe that their movement is self-centered and violent. According to members of

BLM, their protests are only meant to enforce unity and to try and make a change. Attorney Jeff

Session’s used Murphy’s strategy of diversion when dealing with racial issues between cops and

civilians. Murphy used the example of JFK allowing for new voting laws to describe diversion.

JFK was using diversion by allowing for voting so that he could use that to make the agitators

feel like they had won. Session’s also did this to the BLM movement. He’s not interested in

changing police reform, so he instead focuses on being strict on the racist drug war, adding

private prisons and reducing public fear of police departments. By doing this, he is trying to

divert the attention of BLM members. He makes it seem like he is trying to make the changes

that they want, but he’s not addressing the whole issue. BLM’s goal is to change police reform

and put an end to the killings of unarmed black men. Session’s is using a form of stalling
because he is putting their focus elsewhere in order to not give them exactly what they want. The

police have also used suppression in order to silence agitator’s demands. The Ferguson protests

occurred after a white cop shot a black man, Brown, and left his body there for four hours. To

black residents in Ferguson, this was seen as a blatant disrespect for human and black lives by

the cops. This ensued huge protests against the police which caused them to respond forcefully.

They used suppression when they enforced a curfew in Ferguson, forced protestors to march

instead of stay in one area and tear-gassed them. After these protests, the BLM movement spread

even further and 40 chapters were created. They often times shut down highways when they’re

protesting, which makes the Republican lawmakers use harassment to get them to stop. In BOJS,

harassment is described as “encompasses a broad range of actions that range from moral force to

relying on physical force” (BOJS 62). They’ve threatened that they’re going to make laws that

protect a citizen if they hit a protestor if they’re disrupting traffic on highways. There have also

been reports by members in the BLM movement that they have had their phones tapped and been

watched or raided by police officers. This could be another harassment or scare tactic meant to

stop them from spreading their movement’s message further. In another instance, a protestor

tried to use the bathroom at a LAPD headquarter and was forced out by the cop all while he had

his hand on his gun. The control strategy that I made up for this would be “racial profiling.”

Establishments could use control rhetoric based off of someone else’s race or color of their skin.

With this, control can be held by whichever racial group holds more power over the

disempowered one. Although BLM has made a nationwide impact on protesting black police

killings, some White House representatives and other political groups have previously viewed

them as problematic. Members of the BLM also feel that black killings are far less publicized on
the media than white ones. These are instances of racial profiling because one race is being held

to a higher standard than the other.

The BLM movement connects the most with public memory being stemmed from current

concerns, issues or anxieties of the present. This movement was motivated by the fear of

America going back to the way it used to be. Collectively, black people know how they used to

be treated before de-segregation. Things such as sit-ins, civil rights movements, slavery and

marches are taught in schools and memorized. This is why cases such as Trayvon Martin’s

sparked major controversy in the BLM movement. Because Martin was unarmed and shot by a

white cop, some black people were reminded of the racism that used to exist. The multitude of

killings that happened after Martin, just added more fuel to the fire. When the cops tear-gassed

protestors in Ferguson, it was reminiscent of civil rights marches when protestors would get

hosed. “Groups tell their pasts to themselves and others as ways of understanding, valorizing,

justifying, excusing or subverting conditions or beliefs of their current moment” (Blair,

Dickinson, and Ott page 6). The BLM movement has even been compared to the Civil Rights

and Black Panther movements. Both of these movements fought against the racial discrimination

and mistreatment of intuitions. De-segregation occurred barely over 60 years ago, making it a

more recent historical milestone. Just because America was de-segregated however, racism

didn’t automatically end. The BLM movement has the goal of ending racial profiling and

unarmed black killings to make sure America doesn’t take steps backwards. When the protests

and counter-protests occurred in Charlottesville, white supremacists tried to shut out the BLM

movement by yelling “white lives matter” and “blood and soil.” Occurrences like this can be

related back to when segregation was legal and KKK members would rally for white power.

These events show that the past has a way of resurfacing when you least expect it.