Trevor Noah Sums Up This “Domino Wave” Perfectly In An Epic IGTV Clip


Instagram isn’t copy and past friendly, so I’ve scribed his entire video below, highlighting the quotes that hit my heart, or things that may be helpful in enlightening a new perspective for the “have not’s”.

Words with a footnote marking like this1 have a dictionary definition at the bottom of the page.

Here’s what he said:

“Hey what’s goin’ on everybody. Ummm…”

“You know what’s really interesting about what’s happening in America right now is that a lot of people don’t seem to realise…how…dominos connect.”

“How one piece – knocks another piece, that knocks another piece – and in the end…creates a giant wave.”

“Each story seems completely unrelated and yet, at the same time, I feel like everything that happens in the world connects to something else in some way, shape or form.”

“And I think this news…this news cycle that we witnessed in the last week was perfect example of that.”

“Amy Copper, George Floyd, and…you know, the people of Minneapolis.”

Amy Cooper

“Amy Cooper was..for many people, I think, the catalyst. And by the way, I should mention that all of this is like, against the backdrop of Corona virus…you know?”

“People stuck in their houses for one of the longest periods we can remember, people loosing more jobs than every…anyone can ever remember. Uhhm…people struggling to make do morethan they can ever remember.” 
“And I think all of that – compounded by the fact there seems to be…no genuine plan from leadership.”

“Like, no one knows what’s gonna happen.”

“You know, no one knows how long they’re supposed to “be good”, how long they’re posed to “stay inside”, how long they’re supposed to “flatten the curve”. No one knows any of these things.” 

“And so what happens is you have a group of people who are stuck inside, all of us as society – we’re stuck inside…and…we then start to consume.”

“We see what’s happening…in, in the world and…I think Amy Cooper was one of the first…moments, you know…one of the first dominos…that, that we saw getting knocked down post-Corona, for many people.”

“And that was a world where…you quickly realise that…while everyone is facing the battle against Corona virus…Black People in America are still facing the bette against racism AND corona virus.”

“And the reason I saw it’s a domino is because…think about how many Black American’s, just…have read and seen the news of how Black People are disproportionately affected by Corona Virus. And not because…of something inherently inside Black People, but rather because…of…the lives Black People have lived in America for so long.”

“You know, Corona virus exposed all of it.”

“And now here you have this woman…who…we’ve all seen the video now…blatantly…blatantly knew how to use the power of, of..of…her whiteness to threaten another man and his blackness.”

“What we saw with her was a really, really powerful explicit example of, of an understanding of racism…in a structural way.”

“When she looked…when she looked at…that man. When she looked at [Michael] Cooper, and she said to him, “I’m gonna call 911 and I’m gonna tell them, “there’s an African American Man threatening my life”, she knew how powerful that was.”

“And that in itself is telling.”
“You know, it tells you how she perceives the police, it tells you how she perceives her perception, or her relationship with the police…as a white woman, it shows you how she perceives a Black Man’s relationship with the police and the police’s relationship with him.” 

“It’s, it was…It was really…I…it, it was….it was powerful.”

“Cause so many people act like they don’t know what, what, what Black American’s are talking about when they say it, and yet Amy Cooper had a distinct understanding.”

“She was like, ‘oh I know. I know that you’re afraid of interacting with the police because there is a presumption of your guilt, because of your blackness. I know that as a white woman I can weaponise this tool against you, and I know that by the time we’ve sifted through, ‘who was right or wrong’, there’s a good chance that you will have lost in some way, shape or form.’”

“And so for me, that was the first domino.”

“And so now you, you’re living in a world where so many people are watching this video, so many people are being triggered because in many ways, it was…it was like a, “gotcha!”.”

“You know, it was like a…it was like, it was like the curtain had been pulled back – Ah-hah! So you DO this.”

“Cause it’s always been spoken about but this was like, it was powerful to see it being used.”

“And I think a lot of people were triggered by that.”

“A lot of people were like, ‘Damn. We knew it was real but this is like…REAL real.’ You know?”

“I think a lot of the people were also angry that…some of the outrage that came to her was because of..her dog. Uh…and I mean, I get it.”

“You know, but, but it was, it was…a lot of people felt like….a lot of people felt like it would have been great if the dog shelters….had the same, I guess, ‘power’ or, or or…if police departments were run by the same people who run dog shelters. Because they seem to act like this, [*clicks finger*], they didn’t waste time…they were like, ‘Nope. We’d like our dog back Lady.’”

“Which I’m going to be honest, I was….that was a, that was a, I mean a hell of a punishment. Her job is one thing, taking a white lady’s dog…that was a nice dog.”

“So that was the first domino.”

“You know? That was the first domino where…I felt like you, you…you could feel something stirring.”

“And all of this again…is in the backdrop…it’s – Corona virus has happened, the numbers have come out, you know. The story of Ahmaud Arbery, in Georgia – that story has come out. All of these things are happening.”

George Floyd

“And then the video of George Floyd comes out, and…I don’t what made that video more painful for people to watch.”

“The fact that…that man…was having his life taken in front of our eyes; the fact we were watching someone being murdered by someone’s who’s job it was to protect and serve; or the fact that he, [Derek Chauvin] seemed so calm doing it, you know?”

“Often times we’re always told that police, “feared for their life”, it was like a “threat”.

“And you know what…you, always feel like an asshole when, when you’re like, “You didn’t fear for your life. How? Why did you fear for your life? How did you fear…”. 

“But now more and more, we’re starting to see that like, ‘nah, it doesn’t seem like there’s a fear…it just seems like it’s…you can do it, so you did it.’.”

“There was a Black Man, [George Floyd] on the ground, in hand cuffs, and you…you [Derek Chauvin] could take his life, so you did.”

“Almost knowing that there would be no ramifications.”

“And then again, everyone on the internet has to watch this. Everyone sees it’s, it floods our timelines as people.”

“And…and I think…one ray of sunshine for me in that moment was seeing how many people…INSTANTLY…condemned what they saw.”

“You know, and maybe it’s because I’m an optimistic person but I, I…I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that.”

“Especially not in America, I haven’t seen…a police video come out…and, and just see across the board – I mean even, Fox News commentators and, and Police Chief’s from around the country immediately condemning what they saw. No questions…not, “What was he doing?”…just going “No. What happened here, was wrong. It was wrong. This person got murdered on camera.”.”

“And then, the police were fired – Great.”

“But I…I think what people take for granted is…is how much for so many people that feels like nothing. You know?”

“How, how, how many of us, as, as human beings, can take the life of another human being – and then have “firing” be..the worst thing that happens to us?”

“And yes, we don’t know where the case will go, don’t get me wrong, but it just…it…it feels like…there is no moment of justice. There is no…you know, if you’re watching a movie, you’d at least want the cops…you’d wanna see the perpetrators – in handcuffs. You’d wanna see the perpetrators facing some sort of justice. Yes, they might come out on bail et cetera, but…I think there’s a lot of catharsis1 that comes with seeing that justice being dolled out.”    

The riots

“When the riots happened – that for me, was an interesting culmination2 of everything.”

“I saw so many people online saying, “These riots are disgusting. This is not how a society should be run. You do not loot and you do not burn and you do not…this is not how our society is built”. And that, that actually triggered something in me, where I was like, ‘Man, ok. Society. What..but what is society?’.”

“And fundamentally, when you boil it down – society is contract. It’s a contract that we sign as human beings amongst each other.”

“We sign a contract with each other as people whether it’s spoken or unspoken and we say, ‘Amongst this group of us, we agree in common rules, common ideals and common practices that are going to define us as a group.’.”

“That’s what I think a society is – it’s a contract.”

“And…as with most contracts…the contract is only as strong as the people who are…who are abiding by it.”

“But if you think of being…a Black Person, in America, who is living in Minneapolis or Minnesota, or any other place where you’re not having a good time…ask yourself this question when you watch those people, “What vested interest do they have…in maintaining the contract?”.

“Why, like, why don’t we all loot? Why, why doesn’t everybody take…because we’d agreed on things.”

“There are so many people who re starving out there. There’s so many people who ‘don’t have’. There’s so many people…there are people who are destitute3. There are people who – when the virus hit – and they don’t have a second paycheque, or are already broke – which is insane but that, that’s the reality.”

“But still, think about how many people who ‘don’t have’ – the ‘have not’s’ say, ‘You know what? I’m still gonna play by the rules, even though I have nothing. Because I still wish for the society to work and exist.’.”

“And then…some members of that society – namely Black American People – watch time and time again…how…the contract that they have signed with society…is not being honoured by the society that has forced them to sign it with them.”

“When you watch, Ahmaud Arbery being shot, and you hear that those men, [Gregory and Travis McMichael – Father and Son] have been released and – were it not for the video and the outrage those people would be living their lives – what part of the contract is that in society?”

“When, when you see George Floyd on the ground, and you see a man loosing his life…in a way that no person should ever have to loose their life – at the hands of someone who’s supposed to enforce the law…what part of the contract is that?”

“And a lot of people say, “well, what good does this do?” YEAH but what, what good DOSEN”T it do? “
“That’s the question people don’t ask the other way around.”

[*American accent*] “What good does it do to loot Target? What does it…how does it help you to loot Target?

“Yeah, but how does it help you to not loot Target? Answer that question.”

Because the only reason you didn’t loot Target before was because you were upholding society’s contract. The is no contract if law and people in power don’t uphold their end of it.”

“And that’s the thing I think people don’t understand sometimes – is that…is that we need people at the top…to be the most accountable because they are the ones who are basically setting the tone and the tenor4 for everything that we do in society.”

“It’s the same way we tell parents to set an example for their kids, the same way we tell captains or coaches to set an example for their players, the same way…you tell teachers to set an example for their students. The reason we do that is because we understand in society…that if you lead by example – there is a good chance that people will follow that example that you have set.”

“And so, if the example law enforcement is setting that is that they do not adhere to the laws, then why should the citizens of that society adhere to the laws, when in fact the law enforcers themselves – don’t.”

[*Long pause*]

“There’s a…there’s a really…fantastic chapter in Malcom Gladwell’s book, “David and Goliath”…where he talks about…the principles…what is it?…it’s…he talks about the principles…’The Principles Of Legitimacy’.” 

“And he says…in order for us…to argue that any society, or any, any legal body, or any power is legitimate – we have to agree on core principles.”

“And those three principles, if I remember correctly, are: number one…we have to agree on what the principles are; number two…we have to believe that the people who’re enforcing the principles are gonna enforce them fairly; and number three, we have to agree…that everyone in that society is going to be treated fairly…according to those principles.”

“It is safe to say in this one week alone – and maybe even from the beginning of Corona virus really blowing out in America – Black American’s have seen their principles…completely…delegitimised.”

“Because if you’re a Black Person in America right now and you’re watching this, if you’re a Black American Person specifically, and you’re watching this…what principles are you seeing?”

“I think sometimes, the thing we need to remember – and it’s something I haven’t remembered my whole life. it’s…you, start to learn these things, you know, when, when you travel the world, when you read, when you learn about society – I think i that like…when you are a ‘have’ and when you are a ‘have not’ – you see the world in very different ways.”

“And a lot of the time, people say to the, ‘have not’s’, “This is not the right way to handle things.”.”

“When Colin Kaepernick kneels, they say, “This is not the right way to protest.”.”

“When Martin Luther King…had children…as part of his protest…in Birmingham Alabama, people said,“Having children as part of your protest is not the right way to do things.”.”

“When he marched in Selma…people said, “This is not the right way to do things.”.”

“When people marched through the streets in South Africa, during apartheid, they said, “This is not the right way to do things.”.”

“When people burn things, they say it’s not the…it’s never the right way, cause ether’s never a…there is never a right way to protest. And I’ve said this before, there is no right way to protest because that’s what protest is.”

“It cannot be right because you are protesting against a thing that is stopping you.”

“And so I think what a lot of people don’t realise…is the same way you might have experienced even more anger and, and more…just visceral5 disdain6 watching the people loot that Target…think to yourselves…or maybe it would help you if, if you think about that..that unease that you felt watching that Target being looted – try to imagine…how it must feel, for Black American’s when they watch themselves being looted every single day. 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, because here’s the thing I think a lot of people don’t realise – George Floyd died. That is part of the reason the story became so big – is because he died.”

“But how many George Floyd’s are there that don’t die? How many men, are having knees put on their necks? How many ‘Sandra Bland’s’ are out there – being tossed around?”

“We don’t we don’t…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, but imagine to yourself – if you grew up in a community where every day someone had their, their..their knee on your neck; where every day – somebody 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 that this is happening…because of the colour of your skin – not because the people are saying, ‘it’s happening because of the colour of your skin’, but rather because it’s only happening to you and you are the only people who have that skin colour.”

[*Long Pause*]

“And I know there’s people who’ll say, “Yeah, but like…well, how come Black…Black People don’t care when Black People kill them?”, man, that’s some one the dumbest arguments ever. Of course they care.”

“If you’ve ever been to a hood, anywhere, not just in America, but anywhere n the world, you’d know how much Black People care about that.”

“If you know anything about under-policing and over-policing though, you would understand how that comes to be.”

“The police show Black People how valuable their lives are considered by the society.”

“And so then, those people who live in those communities know how to or not deal with those lives.”

“Because best believe – you kill a white person, especially in America – there’s a whole lot more justice that is coming your way, than if you killed some Black Body in a Black Neighbourhood somewhere.”

“And so – to anyone who watched that video – don’t, don’t ask yourself if it’s ‘right or wrong to loot’, don’t ask yourself, ‘what does looting help?’, no, no, no.”

“Ask yourself that, ask yourself that question.”

“Ask yourself – why it got you that much more – watching those people loot.”

“Because they were destroying the contract that you thought they had signed with your society.

“And now, think to yourself – imagine if you were them – watching that contract being ripped up every single day – ask yourself how you’d feel.”

  1. Catharsis:
    noun: catharsis; plural noun: catharses
    The process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.
    music is a means of catharsis for them

2. Culmination:
noun: culmination; plural noun: culminations
1. The highest or climactic point of something, especially as attained after a long time.
the deal marked the culmination of years of negotiation

3. Destitute:
adjective: destitute
Extremely poor and lacking the means to provide for oneself.
the charity cares for destitute children

noun: tenor; plural noun: tenors
The general meaning, sense, or content of something.
the general tenor of the debate

adjective: visceral
Relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect.
“the voters’ visceral fear of change”

6. Disdain:
The feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect.
“her upper lip curled in disdain

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