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'Hands up, don’t Shoot:' Why certain symbols stick with protests

Attendees open umbrellas as a symbolic gesture during a vigil on Wednesday night, Oct. 1 at Grand Park in support of pro-democracy demonstrations happening in Hong Kong.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Attendees open umbrellas as a symbolic gesture during a vigil on Wednesday night, Oct. 1 at Grand Park in support of pro-democracy demonstrations happening in Hong Kong.

Symbols have long been part of protests, from the Guy Fawkes masks that were adopted by Occupy protesters, to the umbrellas donned by students in Hong Kong -- in what we now refer to as the “umbrella revolution."

Symbols have long been part of protests, from the Guy Fawkes masks that were adopted by Occupy protesters, to the umbrellas donned by students in Hong Kong -- in what we now refer to as the “umbrella revolution,” to the three-finger-salute seen in protests this summer against the Thai government and hoodies for Trayvon Martin. This week in the wake of the Ferguson grand jury decision, 5 players on the St. Louis Rams football team came out onto the field with their hands up, echoing the calls of protesters in the streets chanting “hands up, don’t shoot.” How and why do certain symbols become icons of protest? And do some symbols attract people to the cause?

Guests:

Anthony Kammas, Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at USC

Movindri Reddy, Associate Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College

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