What the 1960s civil rights protests can teach us about fighting racism today

Friday, June 5, 2020 - 13:50 in Psychology & Sociology

Day after day, protests have arisen in cities across America. The outrage was sparked by video of a white police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, even as the 46-year-old black man begged for breath. Floyd was arrested May 25 for allegedly trying to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill and died after being pinned to the ground for eight minutes and 46 seconds by the Minneapolis officer’s knee. That spark easily found both fresh and long-simmering fuel. Among recent events, white men killed a black jogger, a white woman called the police on a black birder in New York’s Central Park (SN: 6/4/20) and the pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on black people (SN: 4/10/20). Those events underscore centuries of racism that has limited black people’s access to housing, health services, education and jobs. The anger, anguish and calls for racial justice that first boiled over in Minneapolis quickly spread coast to coast. While many...

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