Weekly Digest: June 12, 2021

June 12, 2021

This week, we launched a new feature called “What’s Happening?” on social media. These short-form analyses allow us to give you the low-down on more news events, while still providing quality, in-depth analyses on the most important stories of the week.

Every Saturday, we will send these out in a weekly digest to summarize the week.

If you’re interested in following along in real time, feel free to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Tuesday, June 8

What’s Happening with Kamala in Guatemala?

VP Harris is visiting Guatemala and Mexico, but not the border.

To the right, the VP’s absence at the border is evidence that Biden’s soft immigration policies are feeding the crisis. The VP is spending time and resources on non-US citizens while ignoring the needs of the people she has sworn to protect.

To the left, the VP’s work to improve living conditions in Guatemala and Mexico is a smart, long-term solution. The right’s obsession with her whereabouts is a distraction — a photo op at the border won’t stop the suffering!

Conversations around immigration are often about protection: The left wants to protect immigrants seeking a fresh start, and the right wants to protect the nation from law-breakers.  

Reasonable people can disagree on this front, but it’s useful to recognize that the other side’s priority feels just as important as our own.

What’s Happening with the Chicken Sandwich Wars?

The chicken wars are escalating, with Burger King making a dig at Chick-fil-a’s anti-LGBT reputation by pledging to donate 40 cents to the @HRC for every chicken sandwich sold, “even on Sundays.”

To many on the left, this is a corporation putting their money where their mouth is and being an ally to the LGBT community during pride month. Burger King should be applauded for taking a principled stand against corporate bigotry.

But others on the left are annoyed by Burger King’s ploy, in rare alignment the right.

They see the move as insincere and pandering. This is just another profit-driven corporation with a history of LGBT discrimination profiting off of the LGBT identity during pride month.

The right is annoyed for a very different reason. To them, the campaign is proof that the left’s tolerance is a sham — otherwise they would be more sensitive to the Christian right’s religious beliefs.

Wednesday, June 9

Hunter’s Racism: Almost as bad as the other side’s hypocrisy

#RacistHunter started trending on Tuesday night. Twitter was set ablaze by texts from Hunter Biden to his lawyer where the president’s son used a racial slur multiple times and told the lawyer (who is white), “I only love you because you’re black.” 

To the right, the Hunter Biden story proves the left doesn’t really have the moral high ground on racial issues. Democrats’ constant pandering to black communities is proof the white left doesn’t truly see them as equals, but political pawns. It’s easy to see this in Joe Biden’s rhetoric. And the silence by liberal media is deafening. Imagine the media coverage if it were one of Donald Trump’s children! 

To the left, it’s outrageous that the right cares so much about this one instance of racism while continuing to support racist people and policies. Besides, doesn’t the right constantly deny the existence of racism? Hunter Biden’s struggles with addiction and mental health are well known. While his actions are inexcusable, he is not in the administration, so this is really a nonstory. It’s clear the right doesn’t really care about Hunter’s racism — they just want to attack the president and his supporters.

When we try to understand the other side’s commentary within their own framework, we realize that a mere reaction is not as clearly hypocritical as we might intuitively believe. 

We’re all prone to that quick, instinctive thinking which simplifies our opponents to mere hypocrites, rather than understanding them as the messy, complex beings we all are.

Thursday, June 10

What Happened in Lafayette Park?

On June 1, 2020, Lafayette Park outside the White House was cleared of protestors. A new government report concludes that this wasn’t initiated to allow President Trump to do a photo op. This sparked a debate about narrative manipulation. 

People to the left and the right agree there's been a cover-up. But is it by Trump or the media?

To the right, the report completely vindicates President Trump—where’s his apology from all the journalists who pushed a lie? This is another example of leftist media being blinded by their hatred for Trump and failing to do their due diligence. 

To the left, the report doesn’t carry any weight. It was obviously written by a Trump appointee to cover up the previous administration’s attack on peaceful protesters. It’s the use of excessive force that should have been investigated!

Friday, June 11

Critical Race Theory in Classrooms: Cultural revolution or cultural revival?

To the left, CRT is at least a useful framework for understanding society and the racist structures that persist within it. Teaching CRT in schools will help students understand and address the systemic issues facing society. At most, integrating CRT in classroom instruction is necessary for changing the racist power dynamics in our country. The push by the right to ban CRT in schools is an outrageous attempt to indoctrinate children with white supremicist views. 

Promoting critical race theory in education over the status quo of “patriotic” education is a tool for cultural revolution.

To the right, CRT is at least ideological content that is actually reinforcing racial stereotypes. At most, teaching CRT is indoctrinating young children to believe that all white people are evil. Our society’s progress towards equality is being dismissed as inconsequential, and the great history of our country is being erased and replaced with a narrative of hatred and racism. 

Promoting patriotic education over critical race theory is a tool for cultural revival.

Whether we believe schools are indoctrinating children often depends on whether we agree with what’s being taught. If you feel we should continue teaching through a patriotic lens, you’re not going to see that lens as indoctrination, but as truth. Likewise, if you feel we should teach through the lens of CRT, you’re not going to see that as indoctrination, but as truth.

There is no pure history; a worldview implies a perspective, after all. And in the end, indoctrination is often just a loaded word to label a frame that does not align with our own. 

Thoughts on the week’s events? Give us feedback by emailing narrativesproject@substack.com