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< Back to question How do we think about the George Floyd murder? Show more Show less

On May 25 2020, George Floyd was suffocated to death by the police. Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. In chilling footage that would go viral within 24 hours, officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes ignoring Floyd's repeated pleas for him to move. The asphyxiation led to his cardiac arrest. Floyd's death has so far inspired protests across more than 75 US cities, calling for an end to police brutality and institutional racism. The responses to these riots have included state-wide curfews, the threat of military intervention, attacks on the media and civilian arrests. The situation has given rise to a complex debate with commentators arguing over what precisely it has exposed about contemporary America. So, who are these groups, what do they stand for, and why?

Society creates the nation: the murder exposes America’s deepening social cleavages Show more Show less

This approach believes that deep social divisions are at the heart of the issue. The murder has galvanised violence and unrest because of the more intrinsic identities that it represents.
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The riots have exposed a contradiction in American values

The myth of America is that it is a land of opportunity. The riots have shown that the problem of modern America is reconciling two competing values. Namely, that "it is a land of opportunity for some more than others". How we navigate that irony will define the next stage in American history. Proponents include the eminent historian Clayborne Carson.
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Rejecting the premises


    This page was last edited on Wednesday, 3 Jun 2020 at 11:23 UTC


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