I read some really compelling uses of counter storytelling and narrative method in news and commentary this month. Here are some of the best:
“The President’s first declaration makes clear to all those who are suffering addiction, seeking treatment, or who are in recovery: we stand with them, we are praying for them, and we are working every single day to help them. And the second puts all gang members and other organized thugs on notice: we are coming for you. We will find you, we will hunt you down, and we will bring you to justice.”
Rather than narrowly target a very few dangerous offenders and allow them to be monitored by law enforcement, we have morphed our registry into a massive instrument of public censure and marginalization, while utterly failing to advance the purpose for which it was created. The social science is unequivocal: the registry doesn’t make us safer, or reduce sexual violence. What it does is ruin hundreds of thousands of lives.
“I first saw the signs from Truckers Against Trafficking at truck stops around the nation. They were your basic public awareness flyers with signs about how to recognize human trafficking. Then at the port of entry in Wyoming, I saw a different poster from Polaris asking, “Do you want out of the life?”. I thought for a moment and realized that I do feel as if I am being trafficked and I do want out of “the life”. For the first time in my life, I feel like I should call Polaris for help, but I can’t. Because I am no longer a sex worker. This all began after I left sex work.”
Foley, formerly the editor of Blac Detroit magazine and author of How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass, says local residents deserve better and more diverse stories about the reality of living in the city. Many have long since grown accustomed to stories that celebrate either the “ruin porn” of abandoned auto-factories and urban desolation, or preemptively trumpet Detroit’s resurgence as a post-industrial tech hub.
It’s one thing for individuals to base their sense of self-worth on their contribution to the American economy. It’s quite another to claim that America values immigrants because of this contribution: This paves the way to thinking that America should make decisions about immigrants based on whether they benefit the economy.