The Concentric Circles of Privileged Speech: How Harry Edwards, Arthur Ashe, and LeBron James Established the Standard of Communication for the American Black Male Athlete
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This thesis is an analysis of the rhetoric used by three black male athletes in three distinct periods of American history. Using representative anecdote as a frame while applying metaphorical, synecdochal, and depictive rhetorical analysis, this thesis will demonstrate how Harry Edwards, Arthur Ashe, and LeBron James use figurative language and specific means of representation to speak on behalf of the black community. By doing this, these three black male athletes reframe privilege as the right to speak. As such, this thesis will deem these black male athletes’ means of communication “privileged speech,” while demonstrating how Los Angeles Lakers basketball player LeBron James has come to represent its standard. By reframing privilege as the right to speak, the black male athlete rejects his prescribed role as a one dimensional, cognitively limited entity, making the act of speaking both a form of protest, but also a privilege.