While my colleagues and I were thrilled to see Chicago folks speaking out against Trump, I struggled to watch CNN's reporting without screaming at the television...
As a narrative scholar, I am very sensitive to which voices are legitimized and which are silenced. For hours, CNN covered the protests in Chicago without interviewing anyone actually IN the protest. We just watched the protesters through the fishbowl while white people told us what was happening. The network called up people in Quebec City and brought in a pretty blond Trump supporter to speak out.
But it seems no one thought to simply ask the protesting people why they were there. Why not? Perhaps because America is not quite ready to legitimize black and hispanic voices. Is there really no person of color in the crowd of 10,000 who can offer the speaking points of the group?
It seems CNN and its viewers forgot that those protesters are as American as the white people. Their votes count equally and their desires as legitimate. They were not trying to punch anyone in the face, they simply wanted to be heard. We could not grant them that.
The coverage of the report also brought to mind a narrative analysis I read of white protests versus black protests. In Cleveland or Cincinnati or wherever it was, the scholar looked at the words various news sources used around protests. If white people were involved the protests were inspired by justice even if just about some debate over school sports. If there was any disturbance, the sources considered them the result of innocent drunkenness.
When black people protested about police treatment, they were described as mobs. Violence was never attributed to youth or inebriation, but due to the unruly nature of the people.