Answer to Question #161135 in History for Wilson Huang

Question #161135

Minimum 300 words

Do you think the Floyd protests would have been as large as they have been if we were NOT in the midst of a pandemic? Why do you think the Floyd protests have drawn so many people out of their homes, even at the risk of contracting a deadly virus? Also, what do you think these protests say about the future of civil disobedience and protest in our era of coronavirus? Can you see the future and think of a social movement -- anywhere in the world -- that may benefit from increased participation because of the presence of the virus?

Expert's answer

The Floyd protests are a chain of protests and civil disturbance that started out in Minneapolis in May 2020 against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd, a Black American, by a Minneapolis police officer. The protests were carried out in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic and have continued to date. The existence of the pandemic drew larger numbers than there would have been because the protests depicted defiance as measures taken against the pandemic had extensive social and economic impact on Americans. The injustice occurred during a pandemic characterized by high unemployment rates, an economically vulnerable population and masses are less distracted and want to be outdoors.

The protests were characterized by several nights of civil unrest despite risk of COVID-19 and city curfews. The Floyd protests drew so many people from their homes because they were representative of a racial reckoning on systemic racism, police misconduct and police brutality targeted at Black Americans in the United States. Many African Americans shared a mutual sentiment of facing injustice through discrimination in sectors e.g. healthcare, housing, education, wages, imprisonment etc. and unconscious bias in how they are treated.

The protests paved way for civil disobedience in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic because while the pandemic forced staying indoors and disrupting lives, protests are creating crowds and threatening a resurgence. The Floyd protests were more powerful in evoking change because of the presence of a pandemic. More racially diverse people joined the protests more than ever before. Also, they have precipitated changes in government, industry and public opinion.

Civil movements protesting against racism in the United Kingdom could greatly benefit from increased participation in civil disobedience because of the presence of Coronavirus. The US civil disobedience already triggered protests in the UK on the issue of systemic racism and sparked debate on the statues of some historical figures. Increased participation on the topic in the presence of a virus could greatly favor them. 

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