The Truth is Powerful
Representation isn’t just about visibility. Shootings remind us it’s about life and death
Francis Jue as DHH in David Henry Hwang’s “Soft Power” at the Ahmanson Theater in 2018. “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” In a single line from the final song of “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda nails the cultural struggle of our age.
The battles of #OscarsSoWhite, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter and cancel culture are part of the escalating war over the American narrative. The conflict isn’t only about who tells the story but also how it is being told. What are the assumptions of the storyteller? Whose experience is being prioritized? And, most important, which audience is being addressed?
Also, what are the barriers to other versions of the tale? And whose story might be precluded or shortchanged by this account?
These questions took on new urgency after eight people — seven of them women and six of Asian descent — were killed last week near Atlanta . Law enforcement charged a 21-year-old man with murder but was reluctant to categorize this targeted mass shooting as a hate crime.
For Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, the default identification was not with the nonwhite victims but with the white suspect, who was apparently suffering not from acute white […]