With the mayhem that unfolded in the Capitol building still fresh on everyone’s minds, David Bauder of the Associated Press attempted to explore the terminology used to describe the events that took place on January 6th. Unfortunately, his efforts were really just a kind of duplicity masquerading as some candid, nuanced discussion. Yes, “words matter,” but not when employed with such a high degree of subterfuge.
Initially, Bauder openly pondered what exact terms befit the violence on Capitol Hill. It seems rioting, chaos, and mayhem were too lackluster and inopportune. Perhaps, it was an “insurrection, domestic terrorism, or even a coup attempt,” Bauder opined. He finally settled on labeling it a “siege,” as though yielding to such a brazen and belligerent term that brought to mind moats and catapults made his bias any less evident.
Most concerning, however, was his attempt to make the Capitol Hill riots somehow distinct from the months of looting and destruction during the BLM protests over the summer that laid waste to cities all across our nation.
Bauder argued that the very use of the term “riot” in relation to the BLM protests was now “fraught with racial connotations” because “it…too quickly applied to situations involving Black Americans.”
In fact, the AP Stylebook has completely redefined such terms along obtuse and distinctly racial lines. For much of the media, referring to the BLM protests as a “riot” or in any potentially negative capacity is now deemed, essentially, racist:
“Focusing on rioting and property destruction rather than underlying grievance has been used in the past to stigmatize broad swaths of people protesting against lynching, police brutality or for racial justice, going back to the urban uprisings of the 1960s.
Unrest is a vaguer, milder and less emotional term for a condition of angry discontent and protest verging on revolt.
Protest and demonstration refer to specific actions such as marches, sit-ins, rallies or other actions meant to register dissent. They can be legal or illegal, organized or spontaneous, peaceful or violent, and involve any number of people.”
And now we approach the crux of the matter: David Bauder and the AP are not attempting to discuss the complexities of language and meaning under volatile circumstances. They are simply trying to monopolize and manipulate definitions to further a dishonest progressive agenda.
Apparently, a whole collection of terms can be used to describe the violence and chaos that occurred on Capitol Hill, but not even the term “riot” is allowed to describe the burning buildings, the destruction of small businesses, or the rampant looting that took place before our very eyes during the BLM “protests.”
In her piece for Hot Air, Jazz Shaw drives the point home:
“What should the press call it when a mob in Portland or Seattle or New York or Philadelphia suddenly breaks off from a demonstration and begins throwing Molotov cocktails at police cruisers, burning down precinct stations and federal courthouses, physically assaulting law enforcement officers, breaking windows, and looting businesses? It certainly sounds like a ‘violent public disorder’ by ‘three or more people,’ doesn’t it? So it’s a riot.”
Something even more pernicious is at play, though, as our very language is being racialized and contorted by the AP and other major legacy media outlets to conform to decidedly progressive beliefs like “antiracism” or “systemic racism.”
By adding endless qualifiers to definitions specifically for black Americans in the name of “social justice,” they are yielding to a virulent kind of racism. In effect, they assume an inferior standing for black Americans within the broader culture and treat them as automatons bound by history and race rather than as individuals with equal amounts of agency.
Lauded black scholar, John McWhorter, refers to this patronizing disregard for agency on the part of antiracism crusaders as “an elaborate and pitilessly dehumanizing condescension toward Black people.”
Glenn Loury, a renowned black professor and economist, also elaborates on this inherently racist notion for City Journal:
“The removal of agency is a deep concern of mine. The tone of the conversation here in the U.S. in the last ten years has shifted to notions of systemic racism, white supremacy, and so on, as if those facts alone determine the outcomes in the schools and neighborhoods and prisons of America…I think that is a bogus argument, an argument of surrender, and it leaves one, oddly, petitioning the putative oppressor to save you from the consequences of his oppression.”
Loury adds that “[s]tructural racism is a bluff” and “a bullying tactic” meant to shut people up. If David Bauder’s piece alongside the AP’s new guidelines for terms like “riot” is any indication, Loury’s assertion is proving correct.
The ongoing manipulation and monopolizing of language by the likes of the Associated Press should be a genuine cause for concern as divisions deepen all around us. It’s not meant to add nuance or complexity to our understanding. It’s meant to constrain us even further. While the Orwellian undertones seem self-evident, the prejudice that informs such tactics is not. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that we strive toward honest assessments of events in our nation, regardless of optics or outcomes.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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