Ten Days that Changed the World

user image 2020-06-30
By: Mark Chupp
Posted in: Reflections and Ideas

Ten Days that Changed the World


Mark Chupp
June 22, 2020

Words create worlds. The power of narrative affects the future. The one that controls the narrative controls the future. We are experiencing a battle of narratives and seeing a transformation unimaginable just a month ago.

Since the Minneapolis Police killed George Floyd, we have seen four competing narratives played out across the country:

  • Black Lives Matter stresses that there is systemic racism in policing as an institution. The response by police to peaceful protests across the country has largely reinforced this critique with massive, militarized police forces pushing, pepper spraying, shooting with rubber bullets and tear gassing peaceful protests. Defund the police has become the battle cry across the country.
  • Many white Americans, liberal and conservative, are caught up questioning the chaos, rioting, looting and violence. They say play by the rules. But focusing on the late-night actions of a small minority detracts from and downplays the larger peaceful movement for system change.
  • The fearful and those that support the status quo call for law and order and a return to normal. They see police killing of Blacks as a few wayward police officers, “bad apples” that went too far. President Trump used his bully pulpit to paint protestors as controlled by radical Antifa extremists and he threatened “total domination” of protestors in Lafayette Park, even as he built a reinforced wall around the White House.
  • An increasing number of whites are for the first time taking responsibility for their role in white supremacy and institutionalized racism. Some might be self-centered, trying to rid themselves of guilt, but many are coming to terms with their role in a system of white supremacy that oppresses Blacks and benefits themselves. While some might be in for performative protests, many more recognize their complicity and are taking concrete action to promote structural change.

While swirling narratives is common after a major news event, this time is different. This time is not like previous mass shootings, where outrage and calls for action peak and then die down before real change occurs. The status quo wins out. Today is different. Over ten days following George Floyd’s killing, the battle for the control of the narrative was won by those demanding change.

Protests were massive the days after Memorial Day but grew even larger and more peaceful the second week in hundreds of cities across the US and world. Even with looting and burning squad cars, the violence-achieves-nothing narrative was being drowned out by a demand for change.

President Trump started losing public support and his stranglehold on conservative voices. Four generals and even his own Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, public stated he does not support using active military against US citizens to enforce order. Despite his 197 tweets in one day, he could no longer control the narrative. Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser had city employees paint Black Lives Matter with 50-foot letters on the street leading up to the White House. Many other cities have followed with their own murals.

The winning narrative of Black Lives Matter and confronting systemic racism is leading to change. Defund the police, while not universally understood, has changed the Overton Window, the range of ideas the public is willing to consider and accept. President Trump has been master of this process by pushing extreme policy positions into the realm of possibility and even enacting them, such as banning immigrants from Muslim countries. Defund the police has made possible not just police reform but transformation. The Minneapolis City Council voted to disband the Police Department (what was a model of progressive policing in the country) to create a new public safety department. Los Angeles and New York leaders committed to dramatically cut the police budgets and invest those funds in programs and services for neighborhoods. Bills in the Senate and House are challenging qualified immunity for police. Beyond policing, the NFL admitted they made a mistake in forbidding players to take a knee as a peaceful protest. NASCAR banned the confederate flag; Civil War monuments are coming down. The changed narrative has spawned change in surprising places.

As fast as things are shifting, they did not happen overnight. The power of social movements made possible what we are seeing. Alicia Garza penned “Black Lives Matter” in July 2013 that gave birth to the movement that has grown stronger and more organized with chapters across the country. Replacing diversity training, antiracism work among whites has expanded and is slowly changing the consciousness of millions in this country. Current protests are not just larger, they are more diverse than we have seen in previous moments.

True change requires systemic change. We are learning that shifting the narrative creates the space for shifting policies, resources and structures possible. They go together.


改变世界的十天


作者 Mark Chupp
翻译:崔馨元
2020年6月22日

文字创造世界。叙述的力量影响未来。控制叙事的人,掌控未来。我们正在经历一场叙事之战,并看到了一个月前还无法想象的转变。

自从明尼阿波里斯市的警察暴力执法致死乔治·弗洛伊德后,我们在全国各地看到了四种相互矛盾的叙述:

  • 尊重黑人生命运动强调,作为一种制度,警务存在系统性的种族主义。警方对全国各地和平抗议活动的回应,在很大程度上强化了这种批评:大规模军事化的警察部队推搡、喷洒胡椒喷雾、用橡皮子弹射击、用催泪瓦斯驱散和平抗议活动。撤资警察已成为全国的战斗口号。
  • 许多自由派和保守派的美国白人都对混乱、骚乱、抢劫和暴力表示质疑。他们说要按规则办事。然而关注一小部分人的深夜行动,是对争取更大范围体制变革和平运动的贬低和淡化。
  • 恐惧者和那些支持现状的人呼吁法律和秩序以及回归正常。他们认为警察杀害黑人只是几个任性的警察,“害群之马” 的执行范围太广。特朗普总统利用他的头号讲坛,恶意描绘抗议者是被激进的反法极端分子控制的,他甚至威胁要“完全控制”拉斐特公园的抗议者,尽管他在白宫周围筑了一道加固墙。
  • 越来越多的白人首次为他们在白人至上和制度化种族主义中所扮演的角色承担责任。有些人可能以自我为中心,试图摆脱罪恶感;但许多人正在接受自己在一个压迫黑人、造福自己的白人至上体系中的角色。虽然有些人可能会遭遇表现性的抗议,但更多的人认识到他们是同谋,并正在采取具体行动促进结构性改革。

在重大新闻事件发生后,人们经常会进行打旋式的叙述,但这次不同。这次不像以前的大规模枪击事件那样,愤怒和行动的呼声达到顶峰,然后在真正的变革发生之前逐渐消退。如果维持现状,我们会胜出。今天是不同的。在乔治·弗洛伊德被杀10天后,那些要求变革的人赢得了对故事控制权的争夺。

在阵亡将士纪念日之后的几天里,抗议活动规模很大,但在第二周,美国和世界各地的数百个城市的抗议活动变得规模更大,也更加和平。即使发生了抢劫和焚烧警车的事件,暴力成就无功的说法也被要求变革的呼声淹没了。

特朗普总统开始失去公众支持和他对保守派声音的压制。四名将军们,甚至他自己的国防部长马克·埃斯珀(Mark Esper)也公开表示,他不支持使用积极的军事手段来维护美国公民的秩序。尽管他在一天内发了197条推文,但他再也无法控制叙事了。华盛顿特区市长穆里尔·鲍泽(Muriel Bowser)让市政府工作人员在通往白宫的街道上用50英尺长的字母书写“尊重黑人生命”(Black Lives Matter)。许多其他城市也纷纷效仿,推出了自己的壁画。

“尊重黑人生命”和“直面系统性种族主义”的成功叙事正在导致改变。撤除对警察的资助,虽然没有得到普遍理解,但已经改变了奥弗顿窗口,也就是公众愿意考虑和接受的思想范围。特朗普总统掌握了这一过程,他将极端政策立场推到可能的范围,甚至付诸实施,比如禁止来自穆斯林国家的移民。取消对警察的资助不仅使警察改革成为可能,而且使警察转型成为可能。明尼阿波里斯市议会投票解散了警察局(这个国家进步警务的典范),成立了一个新的公共安全部门。洛杉矶和纽约的领导人承诺大幅削减警察预算,并将这些资金投资于社区项目和服务。参议院和众议院的法案对警察的豁免权提出了质疑。除了维持治安外,NFL承认他们在禁止球员用膝盖来进行和平抗议方面犯了一个错误。纳斯卡比赛禁止使用联邦旗帜;南北战争纪念碑正在倒塌。改变的叙述在一些令人惊讶的地方引发了变化。

尽管事情变化得如此之快,但它们并非一蹴而就。社会运动的力量使我们看到的一切成为可能。艾丽西亚加尔萨(Alicia Garza)于2013年7月撰写了《尊重黑人生命》(Black Lives Matter)一书,由此诞生了一场运动,如今该运动在美国各地都有分会,变得更加强大、更有组织。随着种族多元化培训的开展,白人中的反种族主义工作不断扩大,正在慢慢改变这个国家数百万人的意识。当前的抗议活动不仅规模更大,而且比我们之前看到的更多样化。

真正的变革需要系统性的变革。我们了解到,转变叙事方式为政策、资源和结构的转变创造了可能的空间。他们相辅而行。

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Mark Chupp
About Mark Chupp

Mark G. Chupp, MSW, PhD, is Assistant Professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of Case Western Reserve University, where he chairs the concentration in Community Practice for Social Change in the masters of social work program. He also directs international education programs at the Mandel School. His work over the past 25 years has focused on community building, community development and inter-group conflict transformation. Mark holds a Ph.D. in social welfare from Case Western Reserve University, a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan. He live in Cleveland, Ohio, a strength-based city that has transformed itself into one of the most vibrant communities in the country. 

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