George Yancy: Interview with Noam Chomsky – Protests Unleashed by Murder of George Floyd Exceed All in US History

Turthout, May 7, 2021

There has been “nothing comparable in American history” to the huge outpouring of protest unleashed by the murder of George Floyd, says world-renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky. Even at the very peak of Martin Luther King Jr.’s popularity, the mass protests that King led and inspired “didn’t come anywhere close” to the massive racial justice protests that have erupted over this past year, Chomsky adds.

As the anniversary of Floyd’s murder approaches, I invited Chomsky — a brilliant thinker who combines deep and unbelievable historical breadth, critical conceptual sharpness, and profound passion in his analysis of political and existential issues — to talk with me about George Floyd’s death and the guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin, as well as anti-Black violence in North America and how the U.S. fomented a “gun culture.”

Chomsky is an intellectual whom I have come to greatly appreciate, to admire and to think of as a friend. Through his example, I have learned how to practice disobedience and dissent in a world that is filled with indoctrination. As a rule of thumb, he has taught me that when everybody agrees on something more complicated than “two plus two equals four,” we should question it.

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