Like Amy Cooper – The Stories We Tell
We often think of storytelling as highlighting the adventures of Hansel & Gretel or Superman or a curious monkey. Stories – often created to teach a cultural lesson – to highlight important societal values. They temporarily bring readers to different places, status or situations – delving into the diversity of life experiences. Everything from The Ilyad & The Odyssey to To Kill a Mockingbird serve as history – if not 100% accurate – at least capturing some greater truth and wisdom.
What we often overlook is the storytelling that is happening in our midst every day. It’s in all of our lives today – right now – demanding our attention. Journalism. As Bill Barr recently suggested, how a story is told is determined by the winners or those in power. Unfortunately, he is right, although it may not be in the hands of powerful individuals. You are more likely to find a culture in the driver’s seat. A big powerful assumed-to-be-good culture. The news we read and watch reflects the culture in which it was written. And right now we have a culture and systems steeped in racism. Like the old adage, “fish discover water last,” we, too, can be oblivious to what stories are not being told.
I encourage you to check out these two articles and give some thought to how the stories we have been hearing reinforce some cultural aspects we wish we could actually change. These stories seep into our homes, into conversations – informing our assumptions. They paint a picture of the world that will feel “right” to kids – that this is just the way things are. – SA
Amy Cooper played the damsel in distress. That trope has a troubling history.
Urban Uprisings highlight the need for more journalists of color in newsrooms