Trevor Noah has an emotional response to the death of George Floyd.
The “Daily Show” host shared a lengthy video to the late-night show’s YouTube and social media pages, addressing the #BlackLivesMatter movement, police and Floyd himself.
“The video of George Floyd comes out. I don’t know what made that video more painful for people to watch: the fact that that man was having his life taken in front of our eyes? The fact that we’re watching someone be murdered by someone whose job is to protect and serve? Or the fact that he seemed so calm doing it, you know?” he said in the clip. “Oftentimes, we were always told that police feared for their life. It was like a threat. You always feel like an asshole when you’re like, you didn’t fear for your life. Why did you fear for your life? How did you fear for your life? But now, more and more, we’re starting to see that it doesn’t seem like it’s a fear—it just seems like you can do it, so you did it. There was a black man on the ground in handcuffs, and you could take his life, so you did. Almost knowing that there would be no ramifications.”
Since the video of Floyd’s death went viral, all four police officers involved have been fired, while the officer who killed Floyd has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Following his death, protests have broken out in major cities across the United States and some have turned violent.
“I saw so many people online saying, ‘these riots are disgusting. This is not how a society should be run. You do not loot and you do not burn. This is not how our society is built,’” Noah continued. “That triggered something in me where I was like, ‘man, okay—but what is society?’ Fundamentally, when you boil it down, society is a contract. It’s a contract that we sign as human beings amongst each other. We sign a contract with each other as people, whether it’s spoken or unspoken, where we say, amongst this group of us, we agree in common rules, common ideals, and common practices that are going go to define us as a group.”
He added, “As with most contracts, the contract is only as strong as the people who are abiding by it. If you think of being a black person in America who is living in Minneapolis or Minnesota or any place where you’re not having a good time, ask yourself this question when you watch those people: what vested interest do they have in maintaining the contract? Why don’t we all loot? Why doesn’t everybody take? Because we’ve agreed on things… Think about how many people who don’t, the have-nots, say, ‘I’m still going to play by the rules, even though I have nothing, because I still wish for the society to work and exist.’ Then, some members of the society, namely black American people, watch time and time again how the contract they have signed with society is not being honoured by the society that has forced them to sign it with them.”
Noah also referenced President Donald Trump’s tweets about the protests, where he called the demonstrators “those thugs.”
“That’s the thing people don’t understand sometimes. We need people at the top to be the most accountable, because they are the ones who are basically setting the tone and tenor for everything we do in our society. It’s the same way we tell parents to set an example for their kids, the same way we tell captains or coaches to set an example for their players, the same way we tell teachers to set an example for their students,” Noah went on. “The reason we do that is because we understand in society that if you lead by example, there is a good chance that people will follow that example you have set. If the example law enforcement is setting that they don’t adhere to the laws, then why should the citizens of that society adhere to the laws when in fact the law enforcers themselves don’t?”