Sparked: George Floyd, Racism, and the Progressive Illusion
Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
Walter R. Jacobs, Wendy Thompson Taiwo, Amy August
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed by Minneapolis police officers, sparking months of unrest at home and around the world. As millions took to the streets to express their outrage and speak out against systemic racism, injustice, and institutionalized violence, the city of Minneapolis and its residents were deeply shaken. For many, George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing uprisings shattered the city’s reputation for progressive ideals and a high quality of life. For many others, the incident simply caught on camera a representation of the harsh realities and paradoxes that they have been living with for generations. In the words of Jasmine Mitchell, “the ‘Minnesota nice’ comforts and illusionary progressiveness resides upon the ignoring of White racial terrorism and fears of Blackness, brown immigrants, and resistance to White supremacy.”
Sparked brings together the perspectives of social scientists, professors, and other academics who work or have worked in Minnesota. The essays present reflections on racial dynamics in the Twin Cities and the intersection of the wonderful and wretched sides of that existence, revealing deep complexities, ingrained inequities, and diverse personal experiences.
Walter R. Jacobs, Wendy Thompson Taiwo, and Amy August. "Sparked: George Floyd, Racism, and the Progressive Illusion" Faculty Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity (2021).