By now, everyone who wishes to (and undoubtedly many who did not) has seen the gruesome death of George Floyd with a knee on his neck. The video of Floyd’s murder now joins a twisted pantheon of video evidence of brutality against Black bodies, that stretches back to the infamous videotaped police beating of Rodney King in 1991, and to public displays of brutality that were cast across the country during the Civil Rights Movement
“Ferguson” is about systemic historical injustice that goes beyond a single case. It is about the mass incarceration of black and brown bodies, in which the majority of drug users and dealers are white, and yet three fourths of those imprisoned for drug offenses are black and brown. It is about stop-and-frisk policies by the police that target poor black communities, tearing families apart rather than rooting out crime. It is about young black males being 21 times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts.