Analysis of rhetoric of two writers and articles - Crime Essay Example

Analysis of the Rhetoric of Two Writers and their Articles on

Whether Anti-Immigration Rhetoric Provoke Hate Crimes


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Hate crimes inflicted against minorities has always been an issue in culturally diverse societies such as the United States. To stop or at least minimize the number of hate crime occurrences, one must be able to control its direct and indirect causes. However, like most social problems, the causes of hate crimes defy simplistic definitions. Social scientists can only hypothesize. An especially notable category of hate crimes in American society are those committed against Hispanics. One of the causes towards the provocation of these violent crimes is said to be the anti-immigration campaigns which denounce illegal immigration of Latinos into America. Mark Potoc and Martin Epstein write two articles for the CQ Researcher magazine showing two divergent opinions in answer to the question as to whether anti-immigration rhetoric provokes hate crimes against Latinos.

Potok, who believes that the two variables (anti-immigration rhetoric and hate crimes) are related, begins his argument by presenting the views of the other side and then disproving the logic behind the opinions. He reiterates the points raised by nativist organizations (his opponents) and denigrates them by, for example, describing them as “defying common sense” (Potok, 2009).  Potok also employs statistics to strengthen his position, citing FBI records which show an increase of anti-Latino hate crimes between the years 2003-007. Furthermore, he quotes Jack Levin, “a nationally known hate crime expert” (Potok, 2009), who shares the same opinions as him. He ends his argument by recalling the murder of Marcelo Luceros whose killers are known to have been a gang of white racists.

In contrast, Epstein believes that there is no connection between anti-immigration rhetoric and hate crimes against Latinos in the United States. Like Potok, he begins his essay by presenting an argument of the opposition, in particular of which is a quotation from a speech by President Obama who himself believes that the broadcasts from two journalists, Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh, were “a reason why hate crimes against Hispanic people doubled last year” (quoted in Epstein, 2009). As in Potoc’s article, Epstein presents some statistics to prove that even “Obama’s facts and logics are plain wrong” (Epstein, 2009). In so doing, he provides a more convincing argument with his numerical presentation that the first writer. Potoc’s numbers are general, covering only the total number of incidents for a three-year period. Epstein, meanwhile, is more thorough. He enumerates the types of offenses classified as hate crimes and shows how most of the said hate crimes on record are actually minor offenses like graffiti and name calling. The Lucero murder that the first writer highlights is also actually one of only two hate-crime related murders in 2007. Epstein also does a long-term period comparison, a decade compared to Potoc’s three years, and shows that hate crimes per capita has actually dropped instead of increased. Furthermore, Epstein presents the theory that some of these purported hate crimes may not have been influenced by anti-immigrant rhetoric at all since there is no record of a hate crime committed by any follower of the immigration-control movement and half of the said hate crimes are actually committed by blacks and thus may not be motivated by racist views.

Both writers strongly argue their respective contrasting views about the issue at hand. In the final analysis however, what makes Epstein’s article more convincing over Potoc’s is the type of evidences he present to support his arguments and how he presents them. Potoc is obviously appealing to the reader’s sense of compassion for his advocacy. His writing is more emotional but less effective because of the vague generalization and the lack of factual support. He attempts to rationalize with words. Epstein, meanwhile, rationalizes with numbers and actual facts and the effect is a more comprehensive—and thus, credible—look at the issue. As Epstein states in his strong and stern conclusion, which can also serve as admonitory words for Potoc and his weakly-researched article, “Before we abandon our core democratic principles of free speech and open debate in the name of stopping hate crimes, we should at least get our facts straight” (Epstein, 2009).


Potoc, Mark and Marcus Epstein (April 2009). Pro/Con, Is Anti-immigration rhetoric provoking hate crimes against Latinos? CQ Researcher.


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