Is Derek Chauvin a racist murderer or just a murderer?

That is not fair. But – it also explains the disproportion. That is: both things are true. It is wrong that more black people are poor, but that fact also explains why black people are two and a half times more likely to die at the hands of the cops.

That this almost uncanny statistical match-up is no accident is further supported by studies showing that while cops are more likely to rough up and verbally abuse black people, they are not more likely to kill them.

These facts lead to a conclusion that makes many very uncomfortable: that George Floyd did not die because he was black.

Many just cannot swallow that. It seems inconceivable that a white cop would snuff out the life of a white guy in the same way. What Chauvin did seems to recapitulate so much about how white people and black people have always interacted in this country.

But our sense here is impressionistic, and the impressionistic is no more valuable here than it is in whites’ impressions that a black person is “suspicious” or underqualified or angry or is less susceptible to pain.