Historian Mar Hicks responded to a CNN headline – Cities face an eighth night of protests – with an obvious, but important, question: “Why isn’t the headline just ‘Protests continue for 8th night in many cities’?”
In the process, she explained why the way we talk about these protests matters:
cities aren’t “facing” an 8th night of protests, cities are PARTICIPATING in an 8th night of protests.
how tf can cities “face” something their citizens are actively part of? This headline only works if you 1) consider cities to be buildings not citizens 2) consider cities to be police forces, not citizens, 3) want to paint protestors as implicitly being an outside/foreign presence
makes it sound like the cities are facing an invasion. That only works if yr talking about the invading militarized forces from a tyrannical federal govt-but you’d never say that.
more wht ppl, esp. those who are historians, experts, or have other experience w/dog whistle press language need to loudly call out this nonsense constantly & relentlessly. These headlines matter. They write the 1st draft of history, influence policy, & create lasting narratives.
The protests are a response from people – from cities – rejecting the status quo and demanding better. Because they deserve better. Any headline or reporting that suggests otherwise is part of the problem.