Monday Notes: 3 Reasons I Didn’t Watch the Derek Chauvin Trial

As I write this, it is Day 10 of the Derek Chauvin trial, I haven’t watched any of it, and I don’t feel guilty, either. Here’s why.

#1 Racial trauma: “Racial trauma refers to the mental and emotional injury caused by encounters with racial bias and crimes.” It can occur directly, such as when people experience racism and microaggressions at the workplace, or it can occur indirectly, such as watching a white person repeatedly be acquitted for murdering a black person during public trials (e.g., George Zimmerman, Darren Wilson, Timothy Loehmann). Racial trauma is real, and I decided ahead of time I had no intention of putting myself through it again.

#2 Who’s being tried? Every time there’s one of these public court cases, it seems as if the unarmed, deceased person is on trial, not the person who committed the crime. With George Zimmerman, there was a discussion of how menacing Trayvon Martin looked with his hoodie, and even though Zimmerman stalked him, there was confusion about who was standing who’s ground. With Darren Wilson, there was talk of Michael Brown selling illegal drugs. Even though I haven’t watched the Chauvin case unfold, I’ve been in the room when newscasters have recapped the day’s events. Apparently, there was a conversation about the drugs found in George Floyd’s body as a rationale for why he died. I can’t. It seems ridiculous to go through these theatrics when the world literally watched how Floyd died.

#3 The outcome: Again, I’m writing this on April 9th, and I don’t know what the outcome is going to be. This makes me afraid and distraught. I fear what will happen should the American court system follow its own historical precedence, which is to acquit the perpetrator (i.e., Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam). Will there be riots if Chauvin is acquitted? Will it be American “business as usual?” Have vaccinated people gone on about their lives with no care for justice and its repercussions? I’m distraught that I even have these thoughts. The fact that I cannot trust the U.S. justice system to be just is disturbing. What does it mean for all of us, who collectively witnessed a murder, where the murderer may not be penalized? I promise you this is a thought that some Black people have had. We are all holding our collective breaths, because we understand what could happen. Conversely, if Chauvin is convicted, what does it mean that the world had to witness one man’s murder just for there to be justice?

All this upsets me, and I can’t expend my emotions in a daily frenzy, worrying about what it all means.


Tomorrow, May 25th is the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. I’m glad to see that Derek Chauvin was convicted on all three counts: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. I hope this means we’re turning over a new leaf in the United States, and even though this is an inspirational blog, I’m sad to say I’m not hopeful.


56 thoughts on “Monday Notes: 3 Reasons I Didn’t Watch the Derek Chauvin Trial

      1. You Stated — “I still don’t trust it”

        My Response — So it doesn’t matter that justice was delivered, it was never a factor to begin with.

        Which could mean that you will feel “afraid and distraught” no matter what.

        Very interesting

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This is true. No matter the outcome, I have more “proof” that the system doesn’t work than proof that it does, so your assessment is spot on…I’ll probably always feel afraid and distraught when these situations occur.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You Stated — “I have more “proof” that the system doesn’t work than proof that it does”

        My Response — But isn’t the opposite true?

        Given the hundreds of police encounters that happen every hour, the evidence shows that events like these are rare.

        Even given the millions of people within this demographic, we are looking at a victim rate that falls within a small percentile of that same population.

        Your fear may be valid but the reason you gave does not fit.

        Which begs the question… why are you really afraid?

        Like

      4. so when I say this I’m speaking about the disproportionate number of Black and brown people who are murdered by police. Of course, I’m not saying that police don’t pull people over, give a citation, and let people go. I’m speaking of specific incidents that oftentimes do not happen to others.

        That is what I fear will never be just.

        I’ve enjoyed this conversation, but this will more than likely be my last comment.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You Stated — “I’ve enjoyed this conversation, but this will more than likely be my last comment.”

        My Response — Understood, I know that for some people these topics can cause stress.

        I would say that “disproportionate” killings don’t address your fear in any way.

        If only 5 black people a year were killed violently by police without reason or justice, it wouldn’t make anyone feel better about it.
        Repeating over and over on TV at the hands of the police wouldn’t put anyone at ease just because the numbers were more statistically fair.

        I think I understand what is causing the fear but it isn’t “disproportionate numbers”.

        It was nice talking to you.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you for sharing!!… I do not “binge” watch the news, whatever the subject matter… I usually browse the news networks, media, etc for a short period in the morning and then move on to living life and helping (or at least trying to help) others… “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ( Mother Teresa)…. 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May your troubles be less
    Your blessings be more
    And nothing but happiness
    Come through your door
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. All of this pessimism is justified, yes, but then must be put aside to do the work of education and changing the culture: win, lose, or draw, we must at least bear witness, and we should be ashamed to ever stop fighting. Many of our ancestors endured much to get us here, and at least for their sakes, I refuse, while I draw breath, to give in to despair. We can make a change.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I most definitely agree that we should continue doing the work; I just also think that we have to be mindful of our self-care. We have higher mortality rates, higher levels of sickness, etc., sometimes due to facing racism throughout life. We can make change, but we have to use tools to also take care of ourselves ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent writing. I didn’t watch it either for many of the reasons you sited. I write about my anxiety a lot as a way of expression. My man has me to vent to and like your husband, everyday living is filled with anxiety, from cops, and simple daily tasks outside in brown skin requires a self meditation.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You are so right when you ask: Who’s being tried? That’s my default, too. I agree that I want the outcome of this trial to be a turning point toward better, but I am cynical enough to wonder if it’ll really happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks, as always for sharing your thoughts and feelings so honestly! I hope there is reason to hope, although I know there is still a very long way to go. Progress seems to be made “one step at a time” and I like to think this is step in the right direction. But I know that’s easier to say than to believe.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. To say we’re turning a new leaf might be putting it too strongly. Maybe, maybe not? I’m not sure. if no one has a video recording device that day, even if there are the same exact witnesses who testify to what they saw, IMVHO I bleieve it’s more than probable Mr. George Floyd’s murderer walks away a free man. I do think we’re moving forward in uncharted territory for slow , new kind of incremental change. There’s a new guard of young people emerging who have far less patience for the status quo and have bolder ideas. But I fear we’re in store for a terrible regression that could take us backwards, first. with all the white people across America struggling to cope with let alone just comprehend the changing racial and ethnic demographic milieu of the country……. where many of us see painfully overdue reckoning and flickering brightnes…..they’re seeing dystopia. And now the white supremacy movements and the new Republicans like the MTGs are seizing on the fears of sizable chunk of said white people and recruiting more to hate and spite until they don’t even recognize it in themselves. count me as part of the new guard. Preaching to the choir on these thoughts, I realize. thanks for sharing this, K.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so tired of t he wrangling done to cloud what really happened. A man was murdered. Period. Now, I don’t believe in the violence that followed, but I do believe in equal justice. Taking this bad cop off of the street was necessary. He’s a criminal.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow how sad and calculating that Mr. Floyd was murdered on Africa Day no less. I hear you loud and clear Kathy. I fear no matter the outcome, America will just go back to business as usual. I have only ever experienced a moment of your world during 9-11. I can’t imagine what that is like to live 24/7/365.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t realize this. I agree Matt. I wanna be hopeful, but I think it’s going to take a lot more to see “real” change. Yeah, 9-11 doesn’t really compare because you at least kinda know that seemed to be a one-off (note all my qualifiers lol). A lot of black people actually take measures and fear meeting up with cops every day.

      For example, my husband, who is not a criminal at all, never leaves the house without his ID because of the possible ramifications of not doing so…I don’t mean just because he may be driving…I mean if he takes a walk, then he makes sure his ID is on him.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. What powerful post, Katherin. It felt traumatic for me to even read about the trial. I can’t comprehend watching the video of George Floyd dying. It’s a horror and the people who witnessed it are forever scarred. Add to that your personal background of racial trauma – that is just another layer that I cannot imagine.
    I also want to be hopeful, but so much continues to go on in our country that deeply disturbs me.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I wish I could offer any reason for even a shred of optimism, Kathy. It feels like everything I thought the world was headed towards, even if slowly, is falling by the wayside. Things like kindness, honesty, integrity, respect for fellow human beings of all stripes, equality … what happened to our so-called “better angels”?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with that part, too…but I think it’s all of it. Some of us adults actually cannot tell the difference between an opinion and a fact. Add that to what you said, and yeah…the 21st century.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Exactly. It’s a bit condescending when a reporter tries to interpret it for us. We’re not idiots. Just report what you see and let the viewers/listeners decide.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you, Dr. G.

    I have had enough trauma in my life, and I feel full to overflowing with the work that I am trying to find support for before I give in and give up the ghost, to help us teach and learn, as you do, for the long term, with empathy, logic, and collaboration.

    That probably translates to the “love” that Dr. King talked about, driving out hate.

    Btw, did you see my repost of your post on The Educational Collaborative blog? It’s also about the third post down on my ShiraDest blog, if I forgot to send you the link?
    -Shira

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I see it was re-blogged, but I have to still visit the site.

      I’ve just finished the Cicely Tyson memoir, and she says something that reminds me of what you’ve said here. Basically, she’s encouraged everyone to do what they can in the struggle/fight, in whatever way they can. For example, I learned last year, that I can’t handle those protest marches…I cry way too much to be effective.

      Like you, though, I can write and encourage others to think differently and do more ❤

      Liked by 2 people

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