The Ballot or the Bullet

The Ballot or the Bullet Irony

"What about Eastland? He's from the South. Why not make him the president?" (Verbal Irony)

People say that because President Johnson is from the South, he is better equipped to deal with southern segregationists. When Malcolm X says, "What about Eastland? He's from the South. Why not make him the president," he is pointing out a flaw in this argument by using verbal irony. He does not actually want Eastland to be president, he is illustrating an issue with the reasoning that claims being from the South is a positive attribute because it allows someone to make deals with segregationists. But, Malcolm X points out, that's no help because that just means the person may be likely to hold racist views—for example, Missouri Senator James Eastland, who was famously opposed to civil rights.

Northerners are foxes, southerners are wolves, and yet African Americans are the ones in the doghouse (Situational Irony)

In an example of situational irony, Malcolm X characterizes northerners as wolves, southerners as foxes, and African Americans as in the doghouse. This is ironic because it is the politicians who are actually the dogs, but African Americans who are being treated as such.