Trevor Noah delivers a significant message on race in America or ‘The Contract’ as he refers to it in his powerful and impassioned monologue. The perfect metaphor that explains the message of the duality of the America citizens are witnessing in full color during one of the most uncertain times in our nation. Systemic racism at its peak, a worldwide pandemic that has claimed over 100k lives in less than three months in the U.S. alone, and one of the most unprecedented unemployment rates in our nation’s history.
During the video, Trevor shares his thoughts on the murder of George Floyd, the protests in Minneapolis, the dominos of racial injustice and police brutality, and how the contract between society and black Americans has been broken time and time again (Excerpt: The Daily Show With Trevor Noah).
As Trevor appears to search for the perfect analogy to explain the social, economic, and civil unrest currently happening in America, and the impedance for such unrest being predicated on broken laws every Citizen has agreed to uphold, he is reminded of a chapter in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, ‘David And Goliath’. Trevor lays out ‘The Principles of Legitimacy’. He starts, “In order for us to argue that any society or legal body or any power is legitimate, we have to agree on core principals.”
“He then goes on to state his recollection of ‘The Principles Of Legitimacy’ of which there are three:
- We have to agree on what the principals are.
- We have to believe that the people who are going to enforce those principals are going to enforce them fairly.
- We have to agree that everyone in that society is going to be treated fairly according to those principals.
Trevor recalls, in one week alone perhaps since the beginning of Coronavirus blowing out in America, “Black America has seen their principals completely delegitimized.”
The Dominos Of Racial Injustice
Trevor starts his ‘Daily Social Distancing Show’ with a conversation about how dominos connect. He explains, “One piece knocks another piece, that knocks another piece, and in the end creates a giant wave”. He continued, “Each story seems completely unrelated, and yet at the same time I feel like everything in the world connects to something else in some way shape or form.”
Trevor notices how the news cycle that we have witnessed over the last week or so is a “Perfect example” of the Domino effect. He names the players in the stream of Dominos that ultimately rose up into a wave of Citizen outrage. Trevor names, Amy Cooper, George Floyd, and the people of Minneapolis. The first domino, he cites Amy Cooper as being the “Catalyst” in the minds of many. He injects “Against the backdrop of all of this is the Coronavirus.” People are stuck in their homes, losing jobs at an unprecedented rate, struggling to survive, and all of this coupled with a complete absence of leadership. Trevor directs the focus, “While everyone is facing the battle of Coronavirus, Black people in America are still facing Racism and the battle against Coronavirus.” The COVID-19 Pandemic highlighted the disparities unique to African Americans.
The first Domino to fall, Amy Cooper. A white female who Trevor states had a “Distinct understanding” of a black man’s fear of “Interacting with Police because there is a presumption of your guilt because of your Blackness”. She knew as a white woman she could “Weaponize” that as a tool against this black man in the park who was simply asking her to respectfully follow posted dog leashing rules. Her statement to him when he would not stop recording her breaking the rules in Ramble Park in New York, “I’m going to call 911, and I am going to tell them there is an African American man threatening my life.” Of course, not one word of her statement was true.
This moment was significant. Why was it so significant? Because, at the moment Amy Cooper taunted the African American man with a call to the Police for daring to call her out for not obeying the laws of the park, she knew and understood the power of her privilege over a fellow human being. Most importantly, she knew how to use it, and took full advantage of that privilege.
Even more disturbing, she activated that privilege with a call to Police, even to the detriment it may cause another human being including possible loss of life. The man’s fate, based solely on her account of the incident that was falsely reported by design so as to force retaliation for her bruised sensibility of privilege.
Trevor concludes that Amy Cooper knew as it related to her account to Police of the interaction in the park with the African American man, that “By the time we’ve sifted through who was right or wrong, there is a good chance you (The Black Man) would have lost in some way shape or form.”
Amy Cooper was charged for filing a false Police report.
Malcolm X Historical Reference | The African American Experience
The Government Has Failed Us And We’re Fed Up:
“They’ve become disenchanted, they’ve become disillusioned, they’ve become dissatisfied, and all of this has built up frustrations in the black community that makes the black community throughout America today more explosive than all of the atomic bombs that the Russians can ever invent. “
George Floyd Murder | Minneapolis Protest
The next Domino, the shocking murder of George Floyd, literally at the knee of a Hennepin County Police Officer in broad daylight while Citizens looked on in shock and horror. Mr. Floyd was a Citizen of Minneapolis, Minnesota. On May 25, 2020, Officer Derek Michael Chauvin pushed his knee into George Floyd’s neck for Eight (8) minutes or more while Mr. Floyd was face down with arms pulled back and in handcuffs, as confirmed by video footage taken by an eye-witness.
VIDEO CONTAINS SENSITIVE MATERIAL
Mr. Floyd stated repeatedly, “I can’t breathe”. After Mr. Floyd became nonresponsive, Officer Chauvin left his knee pressed into Mr. Floyd’s neck for almost Three (3) additional minutes as evidenced by the video of the incident. Mr. Floyd died as a direct result of this incident. All four Police Officers on the scene were fired, and Hennepin County arresting Police Officer Chauvin was eventually charged with third-degree murder.
But, before this would happen, the final Domino against racial injustice would fall.
UPDATE-June 3, 2020: Arresting Officer Derek Chauvin’s criminal charges in the murder of George Floyd moved up from third-degree murder to second-degree murder. In addition, the other three Officers involved each charged with aiding and abetting in second-degree murder. (Earlier Findings: Independent Autopsy ruled death Homicide).
The final Domino to fall was the Protests sparked by Minneapolis Citizens calling for justice for the murder of George Floyd, beyond the termination of employment of the four Officers involved. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s response to the public outcry suggesting Floyd’s death may not rise to the level of a crime, stating of the video evidencing Floyd’s death, “That video is graphic and horrific but there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge.”
Following Freeman’s response, a community of citizens in Minneapolis and across the nation took to the streets and to social media in protest to demand appropriate justice for George Floyd’s murder. Ultimately, fires erupted in the city of Minneapolis, where the murder occurred, and Police and other buildings were set ablaze. Political Leaders in the city contend these disruptions in the peaceful protest were the work of outside influence with an agenda to divert attention from the focus, justice for George Floyd.
The family of Mr. Floyd, Community Leaders, and Activist say it was not enough that the arresting Officer Chauvin whose direct action caused the death of Mr. Floyd, and the other three Officers who they believe were complacent and aided in Floyd’s death only face termination of employment. They insisted all Officers be charged with murder.
Eventually, the arresting Officer Dereck Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder (Charge was before an independent Medical Autopsy ruled Floyd’s death a Homicide). The Floyd family did not feel the charge fit the crime and insisted there be a change in Officer Chauvin’s charges to First Degree Murder, in addition, the other three Officers be charged as well. The Protests across the country continued and spread to more cities and eventually, the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests for justice became a global movement.
Contract Principles Deligitimized
So, as referenced by Trevor Noah, the Contract is the unspoken rule of American Law. The premise of the ‘Contract’, Citizens of this society need only follow all the laws set forth and all will be well.
The challenge, if the Contract of social law only had to be upheld by Black people or Citizens of Color, that meant only they would be punished for non-compliance. So, one could conclude, the issue is the Other Contract if you will. If no other parties or members of society had any obligation to follow through on said Contract, then if any member of the Black or Brown community was harmed due to the failure of other parties’ non-compliance to said Contract, there were no consequences. Hence, in Trevor’s conclusion, African American rights related to the laws of the Contract for society or their “Principles completely delegitimized.”
Evidence Of Equality
While the ‘Contract’ is a symbolic reference to perceptions of inequality of law and legitimacy of rights among African American Citizens in our society, the perception is supported by a documented history of disparities of law for the aforementioned group. In addition, it has been further evidenced, some non-African American members of our society have an inferred belief that they hold certain rights and privileges over others, giving them a license to play out their interpretation of the same law often without consequence.
The United States of America is uniquely diverse and rich with people and cultures from across the Globe. As a society and a nation, we thrive when that diversity of communities is acknowledged and embraced. That only happens with evidence of equality of all things, at all times, for all Citizens.
Disclosure: Expressyourselfblog has no affiliation with the videos shared. They are informational and/or historical reference only.
Video ‘I Can’t Breath’-@TheDailyAngle
Video ‘Karens’-@MelodyMCooper (Recorded by her Brother)
Video ‘George Floyd and The Dominos of Racial Injustice’- @TrevorNoah of The Daily Show
Image Malcom X-The Peoples Forum.org