In the article, “Blue Collar Brilliance,” by Mike Rose, challenges the point of view of how intelligence is measured. According to Rose intelligence is defined by the amount of schooling a person has completed(276). He claims that blue-collar as well as other service jobs require intelligence which is not being seen by the rest of the people in society. Rose believes that intelligence should not be measured by the level of education but instead by the idea of how someone masters their job. Through the use of rhetorical analysis, Mike Rose is able to get his purpose across by targeting a specific audience. This article is effective because throughout the usage of pathos, and ethos Mike Rose is getting his stance about intelligence across; regardless of where it is learned it should be valued.
Mike Rose begins the article by using ethos when telling a personal story “ When I was growing up in Los Angeles during the 1950’s”(272) observing his mother as a waitress in coffee shops and family restaurants. Mike proclaims that his mother had to use intelligence skills such as memorization and coordination when handling the customers as well as the restaurant, “What I observed in my mother’s restaurant defined the world of adults, a place where competence was synonymous with physical work”(274). In addressing his uncles work in detail at the General Motors factory and shows the amount of intelligence that was required of him as he rose from being in the production line to supervising paint jobs. By having the author share his personal background story on the topic of blue-collar intelligence. It gives Rose the authority, trust of his audience as well as grabbing their attention. Showing how the author observed different types of blue-collar and service workers in action, gives him a bigger image of the topic as well as helping him conclude that each of them has a skill that takes a lot of mind power to master. This shows that his point of view is not based on just his personal experience but on other people’s as well.
Pathos is another rhetorical analysis that Mike Rose uses in his article. By describing how to work, education, and social class depend on the way people think about themselves as well as other people “more than once I’ve heard a manager label his workers as a ‘bunch of dummies”(276). Our culture has promoted different stereotypes based on how someone looks or what they do for a living. One example mentioned in the article is that an image of a muscled person promotes a lack of knowledge. The usage of this evidence is overwhelming and upsetting to the audience because it is the reality of how we view each other including the way we see ourselves. It gets the attention of the readers when knowing there is something wrong with the way our culture develops labels or names for everyone in this world. In the article, Mike Rose acknowledges that not everyone has the same opportunities to have a higher education because of financial reasonings. However, showing an equal amount of respect and valuing the intelligence of those who had a higher level of schooling as well as those who did not.
Mike Rose, recorder “Intelligence is closely associated with formal education the type of schooling a person has, how much and how long and most people seem to move comfortably from that notion to a belief that work requiring less schooling is required less intelligence” (276). In this culture people really don’t understand the true meaning of intelligence. They understand it as grades in school and numbers on the IQ tests. Intelligence has many different forms that cannot be measured by grades and test scores. People’s bias on this topic does not see the hard work of blue-collar “if we think that whole category of people identified by class or occupation is not that bright, then we reinforce social separations and cripple our ability to talk across cultural divides”(283).
The amount of schooling completed does not necessarily measure intelligence level. In today’s economy, many people can not afford to pursue higher education.