The Political Fight Over Race, Distilled
How the nation compartmentalizes racial injustice
On Friday morning, the the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released a report detailing the failures of the Minneapolis Police Department. The federal assessment began after police in the city killed George Floyd in May 2020 and determined that Floyd's death was a function of "systemic problems" within the department.
The department "unlawfully discriminates against Black and Native American people in its enforcement activities," the report found, validating many of the criticisms amplified in the protests that followed Floyd's death. It wasn't just that Floyd was a Black man who died at the hands of police; it is that he died while being restrained by a member of a force that federal observers say systematized excessive force and targeting of Black people.
Every time there is a similar scenario, in which a Black person is victimized by a member of law enforcement, the incident is compartmentalized by many Americans. It isn't that Black people are unusually victimized by law enforcement, it's that Derek Chauvin, the officer who killed Floyd, is a bad apple. He's the exception.
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