After broadcasting from his New York apartment every weeknight for the past two months, Trevor Noah went on hiatus this week. But he couldn’t wait until Monday to share his take on the protests that have followed the police killing of George Floyd.
In a long, no-frills, joke-free video, shot vertically, The Daily Show host connected the dots between Amy Cooper, Ahmaud Arbery and now Floyd. His most impassioned commentary, however, came when he addressed the backlash to the looting and riots that have happened in response.
To those who are telling protesters, “You do not loot and you do not burn. This is not how our society is built,” Noah said that if “society is a contract” then that contract is “only as strong as the people who are abiding by it.” He asked “what vested interest” black people have in maintaining that social contract when police aren’t holding up their end of the deal.
To those who ask of looting, “What good does it do?” Noah asked in return, “What good doesn’t it do?” He said, “The only reason you didn’t loot Target before is because you were upholding society’s contract. There is no contract if law and people in power don’t uphold their end of it.”
“There is no right way to protest because that’s what protest is,” Noah said. “What a lot of people don’t realize is the same way that you might have experienced more anger and more visceral disdain watching those people loot that Target—think about that unease you felt watching that Target being looted. Try to imagine how it must feel for black Americans when they watch themselves being looted every single day.”
“Because that’s fundamentally what’s happening in America,” he continued. “Police in America are looting black bodies.” While some might think that’s an “extreme phrase,” Noah assured them that it’s not.