Something remarkable is happening in the US in 2020 in terms of public awareness of race.
The George Floyd uprising, two months in duration so far, has brought formerly fringe ideas into the mainstream, shifting the entire frame of discourse to the left. The breakthroughs we are experiencing this summer might feel sudden, but they follow decades of activism, with all its labor, learning and dedication. People have been pushing for awhile. The murder of George Floyd was a “last straw” event.
One notable change is that the street actions in Minneapolis and other cities have been made up of diverse crowds that are led by people of color, with whites taking the backseat. This change in centering has been very welcome.
In the last couple weeks, a new element was added to the mix when Trump sent federal law enforcement officers to Portland, Oregon, to attack protesters. Nightly demonstrations in that city, which—though continuous since May—had dwindled to a hundred or so participants, then exploded into the thousands when these officers began nabbing people off the street and packing them into unmarked vehicles. This is the stuff the fascist regimes are made of, and people have been rightly alarmed.