Professor Catherine Powell wrote an article, that is part of a special Just Security “Racing National Security” symposium, on the ways in which the pandemic can serve as a driving force towards addressing racial justice.
We live in a moment of interconnected pandemics – this era of COVID-19 pandemic has provided a window into the pandemics of policing, poverty, and racism around the globe. The fact that police officers arrested and killed George Floyd – and earlier, Eric Garner – for a crime of poverty, highlights the misguided ways that the United States (and other nations around the globe) wrongly address economic insecurity through the criminal justice system rather than through more effective, enduring solutions. The uprisings over police brutality and the murder charges brought against Derek Chauvin (the officer who placed his knee on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds) are widely viewed as paving the way for a racial reckoning.
The global protests touched off by George Floyd’s killing – and the expression of cruel indifference reflected by police officer Derek Chauvin as he held his knee on Floyd’s neck – reflects resentment not only at American hypocrisy in failing to live up to its own ideals, but also anger with home grown racism and police brutality in sites around the world. Further, the demonstrations that have spread across the globe illustrate opposition toward the history of American imperialism generally and, to at least some extent, the Trump administration specifically.