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Sunday Reading: Racial Injustice and the Police-Collection of Essays with 2016 Essay by Allyson Hobbs

David Dee Delgado/Getthy

This past week, protests took place in every U.S. state and in many foreign cities, an uprising ignited by the killing of George Floyd. The demonstrations speak to the larger malignancy of racism and police abuse over the decades. This week, we’re bringing you a selection of pieces that examine racial injustice and police misconduct from both contemporary and historical perspectives. In “The Death of George Floyd, in Context,” Jelani Cobb writes about the painful events surrounding Floyd’s murder, and, in “No Such Thing as Racial Profiling,” he describes how policing in America is often mediated by race. In “Freddie Gray’s Voice,” Amy Davidson Sorkin recounts the death, in police custody, of the twenty-five-year-old Gray, and considers the growing perception that politicalinstitutions are unresponsive to incidents of police brutality. Dexter Filkins chronicles the transformation of local police departments into heavily militarized forces that resemble the U.S. Army or the Marines.  In “Remembering Sandra Bland’s Death in the Place I Call Home,”Karen Good Marable revisits the cautionary tales that she grew up with, as a young black woman living in Texas, and contemplates the disturbing nature of Bland’s arrest and subsequent death. In “The Power of Looking, from Emmett Till to Philando Castile,” Allyson Hobbs reflects on the importance of videos and other images in exposing police brutality and sharing victims’ experiences with the world.  Finally, in “Back on the Bus,” Calvin Trillin looks back on the months that he spent reporting alongside the Freedom Riders, a group of civil-rights activists who rode integrated buses into the South in order to challenge the policies of segregationists in the early nineteen-sixties.  David Remnick