Paralepsis – a word that sounds like some kind of physical condition, doesn\’t it? But actually it is a rhetorical device, whereby someone tells you something he pretends not to be telling you (“Since unfounded charges have no place in my campaign, I will not discuss my opponent\’s alleged wife beating and gambling debts”).
Here, excerpted from David Boyer\’s article for the Washington Times, is how President Obama handles paralepsis regarding the Michael Brown shooting:
PresidentObama said the shooting death of a black teen by a white policeofficer last month in Ferguson,Missouri, exposed the racial divide in the American justice systemthat “stains the heart of black children.”
Speakingat the annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner inWashington on Saturday night, Mr. Obama said the death of MichaelBrown “awakened our nation” to a reality that black citizensalready understood.
“Intoo many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust existsbetween local residents and law enforcement,” Mr. Obama said. “Toomany young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement – guiltyof walking while black or driving while black, judged by stereotypesthat fuel fear and resentment and hopelessness.”
Atthe president\’s speech in Washington, the audience included theparents of Mr.Brown, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., whose agency isconducting a probe to determine whether the slain teen\’s civilrights were violated. Mr. Obama said because of the continuing probe,”I won\’t comment on the investigation.”
– President Obama makes a speech in front of the Congressional Black Caucus – a Black-only group of Federal officeholders that virtually no one dares to call the racist organization it is (present company excepted, obviously).
-He talks about the Michael Brown shooting as a race-based incident – despite the fact that, to this moment, no evidence has been uncovered indicating it was racist at all (unless you believe that, because it was an interaction between people of different races, it must inherently be racist…which makes you a racist).
-He associates the Michael Brown shooting with overtly racist police action (e.g. “walking while Black or driving while Black”). He does so without any evidence that what happened between Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson – whose record as a police officer is absolutely free of complaints from anyone, White or Black, and who not one witness accuses of saying or doing a thing that could be construed as racist during the incident – had any racist component whatsoever.
-And then says that, because of the continuing probe “I won\’t comment on the investigation”.
Yeah, right. No comment on the investigation at all. How could anyone connect Mr. Obama\’s words to the Michael Brown shooting?
There you have it. Paralepsis in action. Beautifully done.
And – sad to say – perfectly credible in the minds of all too many people.