One Year After George Floyd’s Death: America Remains Trapped In The Racial Debate

3 min readMay 25, 2021


The United States commemorates this Tuesday the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, asphyxiated by the Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, with concentrations throughout the country, but without having left behind the debate on race relations in a country whose motto is, paradoxically, “of a lot, one”. At least, on this occasion, it is about acts of tribute, not looting or riots, like those that took place a year ago when the US experienced the worst racial tensions since 1968, with dozens of deaths, and Donald Trump put at the gates of Washington to the 82nd Airborne Division, veteran of Normandy and Iraq, and the 10th Mountain Division, fired from Afghanistan.

The anniversary comes when public opinion, the political class and the business elite are each trapped in their contradictions on racial matters. And, although the relations between whites — 67% of the population — and blacks — 13% — are at the center of the debate, the other minorities are also playing an increasingly influential role, as revealed by the Anti-Crime Law for Covid-19, passed last week, which criminalizes attacks against the Asian community linked to the pandemic. Because, since the coronavirus arrived, a part of the American public opinion (and we are not talking only about whites) has decided that the blame for the pandemic lies with the Asians living in the country.

At the political level, the situation is complicated. Joe Biden’s Government is like an ARCO facility, held steady with as much diversity as possible. The Vice President, Kamala Harris, is a female and African American or Indian American, depending on the political needs of the day. An African-American, Lloyd Austin, removed a white woman, Michèle Flournoy, from the post of Secretary of Defense at the last minute, and the president endangered the slim majority of his party in Congress by electing three congressmen to his government: Marcia Fudge (female, African American), Cedric Richmond (male, African American), and Deb Haaland (female, indigenous, and the first person from that community to serve in a presidential cabinet in US history).

Meanwhile, the Republican Party is, more and more, the political formation of the whites, with which racial polarization, far from having ended, continues as virulent as before, although, at least, it remains in ‘sotto voce’. And while complaints — in many cases, with videos — about police brutality continue, there is a fear that law enforcement agencies are simply failing to act to avoid legal trouble.In 2020, the number of homicides grew by a staggering 33% in major cities in the United States. The causes of that brutal increase are not clear, but, for many, it is inevitable not to consider at least the possibility that the police do not want trouble. In addition, some cities, such as New York, have dismantled part of their forces of order, precisely to avoid their alleged racism.

The division is evident in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which is progressing through Congress at a snail’s pace. Biden’s goal, which was for Congress to vote on him Tuesday, is unattainable, due to disagreement between Democrats and Republicans about the civil liability of police officers.

Still, Democrats can be satisfied with the progress of that piece of legislation. The initiative, promoted, among others, by Harris herself last year, slept the dream of the just until Biden seized, with a remarkable sense of opportunity, the news of Derek Chauvin’s conviction on April 24, to relaunch it.

Video of an unarmed black man in police custody

The ‘inclusivity’ has become the slogan of big business, which is now almost de rigueur to include women and racial minorities in positions of responsibility in which until recently were conspicuous by their absence. In March, Jane Fraser became the CEO of Citigroup, and thus the first woman to lead one of the four big banks that dominate the US financial system. The acronym ‘ESG’ (‘Inclusivity’, Social, Governance) has become the magic word when it comes to evaluating the management of companies, and it includes the racial issue, although nobody knows very well how that is reflected in practice.

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