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April 4, 2021

The Traumatizing Impact of Racism on our Mental Health.

*Editor’s Note: Elephant Journal articles represent the personal views of the authors, and can not possibly reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here.

Trauma and Blackness vs. Derek Chauvin

The way I see it, Derek Chauvin’s defense is that someone else did this.

It’s that George Floyd killed himself and had the “bystanders” (aka witnesses) minded their own business, Floyd could have been murdered in peace, covered up by the police with none of the outrage of last summer occurring.

As I write this, it’s the fourth day of the trial—not as bad as days one, two, and three but still horrible, nevertheless.

The sheer caucasity of Eric Nelson’s “defense” is stunning and implores us to, once again, not believe our lying eyes. According to him, the crowd was loud (or begging to save a man’s life), unruly, and rude (because cussing out police officers is not an everyday occurrence), and as a police officer, whatever Chauvin chose to do was and is correct. Witnesses be damned. All of us be damned.

Each day of this trial has been all-day trauma, especially when hearing the pain, grief, and undeniable f*cking guilt of the bystanders over what they witnessed. They did not murder Floyd, willfully and with depraved, casual indifference. Yet, they are the only people, the only humans who have expressed guilt, shame, and grief. Chauvin never has.

I truly feel he still doesn’t believe he murdered anyone, because, to murder someone, that person must be human. And from what we’ve seen of Chauvin’s humanity, it’s clear that he never looked upon Floyd as a man, as human. The look of nonchalance on Chauvin’s face will forever be etched in my memory. I am sure that same look was on the faces of those who “picnicked” as slaves swung from trees, as they watched houses burned and slaves whipped. It is the look of absolute disdain and disregard for the “person” they don’t believe is a person.

When I decided to watch the trial, it was with the full knowledge of retraumatizing myself again—and again and again. So today, like the other days this week, I witness. I watch. I listen. I cry.

It is in that sense of hopelessness that I share this video from my sister, Dr. Meredith Davis. Her simple explanation of what racism does to every single person who has ever experienced it should open the door to your mind and heart, if you allow it to do so. If you don’t, please keep it moving away from me and mine. I will no longer try to convince anyone of my inherent worth on this planet—never again.

Please take the time to check it out. Her words are highly relevant to where we are in this country today, and they offer a way to move forward into a new world, a different world. This truly is the Age of Aquarius, but I fear it may not see the light of day in “Amerikkka” for a very long time.


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