‘Police in America Are Looting Black Bodies:’ Emotional Trevor Noah Speech Goes Viral

In a heartfelt monologue following the killing of George Floyd, the South African comedian says the social contract between black Americans and society has been broken time and time again

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Image from Trevor Noah's speech on civil unrest in the U.S.
Image from Trevor Noah's speech on civil unrest in the U.S.Credit: Screen shot / YouTube

South African comedian Trevor Noah said “police in America are looting black bodies," as unrest continues throughout the United States in the wake of the killing of George Floyd last week.

In an 18-minute video released Friday by “The Daily Show,” Noah reiterated that there is no "right way" to protest, alluding to the criticisms many have voiced regarding the violence that has taken place amid some of the demonstrations. The video has over 4.9 million views.

"When people burn things ... they say it's not the right way,” Noah said. “It's never the right way to protest because that is what protest is. It cannot be right because you are protesting against the thing that is stopping you," Noah says. 

“Try to imagine how it must feel for black Americans when they watch themselves being looted every single day,” Noah said. “Because that’s fundamentally what’s happening in America. Police in America are looting black bodies. And I know someone might think that’s an extreme phrase, but it’s not.”

Nationwide protests over police violence against African Americans broke out after a video circulated showing Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin using his knee to hold Floyd down for nearly nine minutes. From Minneapolis, Atlanta and Houston to New York, Washington and Los Angeles, demonstrations have ranged from people peacefully blocking roads to violent clashes with officers.

“How many George Floyds are there that don’t die? How many men are having knees put on their necks? How many Sandra Blands are out there being tossed around?” Noah asked. “It doesn’t make the news because it’s not grim enough. It doesn’t even get us anymore. It’s only the deaths, the gruesome deaths, that stick out,” Noah added.

“But imagine to yourself if you grew up in a community where every day someone had their knee on your neck?” he said. “If every day someone was out there oppressing you, every single day, you tell me what that does to you as a society, as a community, as a group of people and when you know it’s happening because of the color of your skin.”