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Usage of Informal Fallacies in Public Health Advocacy

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For this assignment, I have chosen (Black Youth Project) BYP100 as my advocate. BYP100 is a black youth activism organization that was founded in 2013 by Cathy Cohen with the aim of bringing systems of anti-blackness in the society to an end (About BYP100, n.d.). BYP100 does not only advocate for black people as it also ensures the well-being of those living in the margins such as LGBTQ folk and women. The organization is member-based and operates at the national level. It’s made up of young black activists of ages 18-35 years.

Organizations such as BYP100 are essential as they help to address the injustices being faced by black people in the United States. The issue of racial discrimination in the US is well documented, and it has a lot of disadvantages. Discrimination has been proven to negatively affect the victim’s health, wealth accumulation, and economic opportunities (Cumulative disadvantage and racial discrimination, n.d.). For instance, studies have shown that African Americans are more likely to be first to be fired and last to be hired (racism – effects, n.d.). This is why organizations such as BYP100 are vital as they are the voice of those who are oppressed.

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In 2018, BYP100 wrote an article about gun control legislation and its effects on society and more so the black community. The article was titled Gun Control Legislation Sets Precedence for Racial Bias/Criminalization (Ransby-Sporn & Steez, 2018). This piece is a perfect example of an argument. The article talks about the effects the gun control legislation has on the black population and how black and brown people have always been discriminated. The reason why I have concluded that the above piece is an argument and not an explanation is the presence of premises and conclusions.

The article starts with a conclusion that states that when laws and legislations are created in the US, they almost always disenfranchise, dismantle, and criminalize the self-determination of both brown and black folks. This includes even the good but very few laws that are created with good intentions. One of the premises that support the above conclusion is that the foundation of governance and political power in the United States is predicated violently on white-supremacy, colonialism, and anti-blackness.

The second premise supporting the conclusion is that laws and legislation in the United States always turn into some form of policing of marginalized communities. With the above conclusion and premises, it’s easy to see why the authors of the article were not very optimistic about the gun control legislation. After all, legislations in the US always go against brown and black folks. A few examples of past legislations and how they turned out were used to support the author’s conclusion. The 1994 Violence Against Women Act was one example of legislation that was used as an example.

The legislation unreasonably criminalized black and brown companion partnerships as it did not have a weighty understanding of how gender-based maltreatment would converge with class and race. The authors of the article use the gun control legislation to prove their conclusion is right and they include another premise that states that history shows that the state does not see white folks with AR-15s as the primary source of violence in the US. Instead, it’s the brown, black, Muslim, and poor folks who have been positioned as the most violent in the US.

The article discussed above uses informal fallacies such as the appeal to ignorance fallacy, false dilemma fallacy, unwanted generalization fallacy, slippery slope fallacy, and the appeal to authority fallacy (Informal fallacies, n.d.). The appeal to ignorance fallacy takes place when someone makes an argument that his or her conclusion must be true mainly because there is no evidence existing against the conclusion. In the article, the authors state that Hilary Clinton called young black people superpredators.

The advocates use this premise to support the conclusion that in the United States, Black, Muslim, people of color and the poor folks are socially positioned as the most violent. False dilemma fallacy happens when you reason from the either-or position without considering all relevant possibilities. The slippery slope fallacy, on the other hand, takes place when a course of action is thrown out of the window because an individual with very little or no evidence insists that it will lead to a chain reaction that would result in an unfavorable end. The unwanted generalization fallacy takes place when a generalization is made based on insufficient evidence. The last fallacy present in the article is the appeal to the authority fallacy (Cook, n.d.) and it occurs when an opinion of an individual is heavily relied upon.


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