As streets across America erupt into clashes over racism during the coronavirus pandemic, Jelani Cobb of The New Yorker examines a connection between George Floyd’s death and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 deaths among African Americans: “the thing that ties them together is empirical evidence of a phenomenon that had been dismissed otherwise.”
Cobb describes how the relationship between black Americans and the police has become a “barometer” for race relations in the country, drawing on his years of covering explosive tensions that he says are “overwhelmingly” in response to an issue of police use of force.
And yet, he says that this time — as the nation battles a highly infectious outbreak — the outrage is spreading in a way that seems different.
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For more from Jelani Cobb and FRONTLINE, watch 2016’s “Policing the Police,” now streaming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_8vTl6D940
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