The Social Effect of George Floyd’s Murder

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An unarmed, Black American male, George Floyd, was brutally murdered on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis by White police officers. According to video footage shared widely on social and mainstream media, he was pinned under the knee of Derek Chauvin for 9 minutes and 29 seconds (Eichstaedt et al., 2021). The murder of Floyd refreshed the realities of police brutality in the United States. Culture, sports, politics, education, and business became spaces for conversations about the realities of Black Americans’ systematic issues. Even though this was not new on American soil, it created a national discourse. This essay investigates the impact of Mr. Floyd’s murder on social systems and how it changed the perceptions of systemic racism in the United States. The social effect of George Floyd’s murder contributed to the recognition and acceptance of systematic issues that Black Americans are facing.

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Brief History of Racism

When it comes to analyzing the issue of systemic racism in the country, an important question is what determines the boundaries of systemic racism. The history of systemic racism in the United States began with slavery and institutionalized racism. The Jim Crow era strongly indicated that systematic issues were still occurring in America. During this era, Black people were segregated, treated inferior, and deprived of political autonomy and economic opportunities. Despite these realities, citizens continued to believe that equality could be achieved through equal rights legislation enacted by Congress in 1964 (Lee, 2018). In the early 1960s, many activist efforts addressed racial disparities in the country. These movements were organized due to the growing awareness of Black groups nationwide. These groups often joined forces to protest and fight against discrimination and segregation in America. The civil rights movement played a crucial role in shaping progressive social change in America. Organizers such as Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for equality by advocating for economic, educational, and political opportunities (Blain, 2020). Despite all these efforts, America has yet to develop significant strategies to solve systemic issues affecting Black Americans.

Systemic Racism Activism

The murder of Mr. Floyd led to the development and support for the Black Lives Matter Movement contributed to this argument. This movement enabled people to tap into their personal experiences and address them in various social systems. The environment also played a part in this argument since Blacks could gather peacefully in public spaces, recognize each other, and voice their frustrations on structural oppression. As such, the social effect resulted in the advocacy of an increased public realization of systematic racism.

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Social activism took center stage on the issue of systematic racism because of the visibility and power of people. It spread across the world, more pronounced across America and Europe. It also spread among the working class, the middle class, and the upper class. People from different ages, races, genders, and social classes participated in this movement.  It is important to note that this movement is not only limited to groups such as Black Lives Matter; other racial minority groups are advocating for their rights. The same can be said about other ethnic minorities in America.

In addition, young and older people started making significant efforts to address systematic racism in America through social media campaigns such as #BlackLivesMatter (Johnson, 2021). These movements addressed particular issues, such as the disproportionate deaths of young Black men. Additionally, they are working to end the criminalization of Black people. This is evident through students’ work on their campuses, towns, neighborhoods, and communities to gather support for political demands made by social movements against systemic racism.

Psychological Effects on the Black Americans

Following the widespread activism that is a result of the murder of George Floyd, there has been an increase in changes in policing standards. The majority of the states amended their use of force guidelines. Neck restraints and chokeholds were banned. Also, accountability in the justice system was reinforced. Despite these changes, the psychological impacts on the Black communities. Gallup’s research showed an increased feeling of anger, with 38% reporting feelings of grief, despair, and loss. These feelings were acute among the Black American community at 48% as they felt threatened and vulnerable (Matthews, 2018). This led to feeling isolated and alienated from the police and society. It was evident that there was a deep sense of paranoia within the Black community. Additionally, feelings of anxiety and depression were higher in Minneapolis. These effects could be attributed to support research studies that show that location matters regarding racial violence and traumatic effects, as they are larger in the communities where the violence happened.


The social effect of George Floyd’s murder contributed to the recognition and acceptance of systematic issues that Black Americans are facing. This is important because public scrutiny of the issue has effectively improved policing standards. In addition, it resulted in increased activism among the Black community. Such activism helped to facilitate an increase in awareness and well-being among members of the community. Furthermore, there were direct implications for society, especially ensuring that people are safer and not subjected to violence. In this case, the attention given to systemic racism has led to greater engagement from law enforcement in their roles to ensure that Black communities feel psychologically safer from discrimination and do not feel marginalized by societal structures.

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  1. Blain, K. N. (2020). Civil rights international: the fight against racism has always been global. Foreign Aff.99, 176.
  2. Eichstaedt, J. C., Sherman, G. T., Giorgi, S., Roberts, S. O., Reynolds, M. E., Ungar, L. H., & Guntuku, S. C. (2021). The emotional and mental health impact of the murder of George Floyd on the US population. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences118(39), e2109139118.
  3. Johnson, B. (2021). How the black lives matter movement enhanced corporate governance in 2020. Emory Corporate Governance and Accountability Review8(1), 99.
  4. Lee, N. T. (2018). Detecting racial bias in algorithms and machine learning. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, 16(3), 252-260.
  5. Matthews, J. T. (2018). Heirs-at-Large: Precarity and Salvage in the Post-Plantation Souths of Faulkner and Jesmyn Ward. The Faulkner Journal32(1), 33-50.
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