'Still separate and unequal': US cartoonists on the death of George Floyd


IN THE PAPERS - Friday, May 29: We look at how US cartoonists are reacting to the death of unarmed black man George Floyd, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck. We also look at frustration from French sports paper l'Équipe as France remains the only major European country where football games haven't been able to start up again. And a 7-year-old boy creates a mini "socially distant" prom for his babysitter in his own backyard!


Many cartoonists in the US are evoking what they see as a double standard applied to those protesting the death of George Floyd while he was in police custody, compared with the largely white protesters who have been resisting lockdown measures. In this cartoon from Pat Bagley we see a teargas canister sailing straight over the heads of the armed anti-lockdown protesters only to land on a Black Lives Matter demonstrator who is just asking not to be killed.

Another cartoonist, Christopher Weyant, draws a similar parallel. Here we see the anti-lockdown protesters compared to George Floyd himself, both saying "You’re violating my freedom, I can’t breathe." The title here is "still separate and unequal" – a reminder that the US continues to value the breath of its white citizens over that of its black ones.

That phrase and that image are of course very reminiscent of the death of Eric Garner, who said those same dying words as he was kept in a chokehold by police. This cartoon from Darrin Bell evokes the country's legacy of racist violence. It lists the names of Floyd and Garner, but also Ahmaud Arbery who was killed while jogging just several months ago. For the cartoonist, the unjustified killing of black people is just as much a part of the US as the stripes on its flag.  

Moving to France, the country got good news yesterday – restaurants and bars will begin opening nationwide next week in another big step towards a return to normalcy. But there is one sector that still has not been authorised to start up again– football! France's sports paper l’Équipe notes that all other major European leagues – Germany, Spain, England and Italy have been given the green light to resume games. French football alone remains shut down. The paper asks what's wrong: "Are we idiots?", using a not very polite word to express the frustration felt.

Finally, it's prom season in the US – the big formal dance that usually marks the end of high school. This year, of course, those dances had to be cancelled. But one very sweet and romantically-minded 7-year-old boy decided to make it up to his babysitter. He threw her her very own socially distant prom in his backyard, complete with dancing and her favourite snacks. He has been dubbed the "pint-sized prom king".

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