Protests against police brutality have been a daily occurrence following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department. The Black Lives Matter movement has been ongoing for years, but this wave has seen an increasingly diverse contingent of protesters, and record high levels of public support.
Jody David Armour, a University of Southern California law professor who studies racial justice, says that the country has reached a critical point.
“In the past, we'd have a tragedy of some kind and injustice, there would be a commission call, there would be hearings, there would be a town hall, people would vent,” he says. “And then we would have a fix that we thought might work: A technological one, like body cams, or a policy tweak, like implicit bias training or community policing something else that would not really get at the deep underlying problem. Now we're seeing it more clearly than ever, that Black lives just don't matter.”
Armour says that Black and Indigenous lives are the most historically marginalized in the United States. He says the ongoing pandemic may have played a role in initiating the reckoning by exposing society’s vulnerabilities.
“The future is starting to recognize that there's some deep structural things and changes that have to be made,” Armour says. “I think if we get some real changes in leadership, we might see some more deep going change. Until we are able to provide affordable housing and health care, mental health care; until we relieve our crumbling schools; until we address those deeper going issues that have a racial dimension in them, we're never going to really be who all of who we can be as a community.”