What Role Does Racism Play in George Floyd’s America?

A picture of George Floyd at a makeshift memorial put up by protesters at the corner where he was arrested in Minneapolis, Minn., May 28, 2020. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Different academics come to radically different conclusions, which suggests the question has no single answer.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE O ur country is literally burning. George Floyd’s death and the response to it are everywhere, and rightly so. Based on everything we know now, Derek Chauvin should have been arrested and charged with murder, as he has been.

The fact that there’s near-consensus on this point means that the protests aren’t about whether Floyd did something to provoke Chauvin (he didn’t), nor even about whether police need more and better training in deescalation and alternative response techniques (they do). The question is an even more vexing one: Is Floyd’s experience with Chauvin emblematic of the black experience in America more generally?



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