So we are now a week removed from the Derek Chauvin case and him being guilty, guilty, guilty. I can still remember how it felt like time stopped as the verdict was being reading. Afterwards? I’m not sure what I felt/feel exactly. A lot of emotions and what do we do with them arose. My Black family, my Black chat groups, my Black peers, and everybody Black was feeling it. I’m trying to make sense of it.
I’m trying or rather I’m always trying to understand what do I with these feelings. These feelings about myself as a Black person in a society that won’t hesitate to take my life. My feelings on the fact that it took a 10 minute video of a man’s murder for justice? My feelings on the fact it took the world to see our reality for this murderer to be convicted (not sentenced yet). My feelings on understanding how the world sees myself and my skinfolk since I’ve been 8.
I suppose I’ll always be trying to understand these feelings and defining what makes sense. As I tried, I saw that members of the Black community their answers. Maybe it’s better to say we all trying to find answers to our collective trauma? We are all human beings despite what anti Blackness tries to say daily.
Happiness, people went ahead and sought out earnest joy. After all, it’s said that Black joy is radical. It’s how our laughter has such energy, that it radiates from our voices, courses through our spirit, and moves us. The fact we can still make jokes about anything .The fact we can feel warmth from the smiles of those we hold dear. Seeing Black people being happy is very cathartic to me.
Even when I feel very not happy, like say now, seeing Black joy from anywhere in the world reminds me what nourishes our souls as the world moves to crush them.
People also chose to be sad and share it. This is understandable and completely justified (like everything). The existential sadness we all feel every time we lament the loss of a Black person. After the ruling, we were vocal in sharing this verdict isn’t the norm. We do not have justice, we have but a fleeting moment of what feels like justice? We are sad because George Floyd could’ve been anyone of our family members. We are sad because how long until we all can stop worrying about any of our family?
We are sad because we have to smile and put on a face when we are still seen as threats. We are sad because racism never relents. We are sad because we can’t count on the “good of others” to seek our justice. We are sad because we remember the great length we have to go through to protect our community members. We are sad because on the same day of the Chauvin verdict, Ma’Khia Bryant, a child, was also violently stolen by the police.
Unsurprisingly Black people are angry, very angry. Now anger, that’s a particular emotion I resonate with and don’t shy in sharing. When I stop to think about what’s going on. Rage is what I find when I get out of bed. It’s the emotion I feel comfortable with after therapy sessions, and going through my day. I’m not interested in performing for a society that tramples the lives of my community. Yet, here I am I’m submerged in water (rage) that reaches to the base of my chin. I have to move under this pressure, I have to appear not angry, I have to seemingly be “okay”. I find it laughable that society demands that we ignore this and put on fake smiles.
I’ve seen people reign in their rage for fear of punishment. Black people aren’t really allowed to be angry. Even in response to our death, we are problems and undesirables. Case in point, the anti protest legislation that’s arrived in response to our protesting in 2020. Even though righteous indignation is our very right. We all aren’t allowed to express it fully or openly. We feel rage because our humanity is regularly taken in a society where we have to fight for ourselves. We feel rage because a week ago Andrew Brown Jr. was another victim of police brutality and others you may not even know about.
Then there’s the emotion behind cursing everything for what it is. It’s fascinating because this emotion is all too logical. Were it not for the feelings of dismantling and breaking what’s wrong, would we have the freedoms that we do now? Would we have the choices we have now? We’ll never know but if Black people didn’t get up and rejected the world we wouldn’t be be here. It wouldn’t have been given to us. This remains true today.
We persist and will continue to do so because we reject what actively erases us. Fact of the matter is simple, we couldn’t be demanding, and challenging society were it not for generations prior. Were it not for the fervor to shattered what did us so wrong we wouldn’t have the fire going now. Woe onto them that tell us abolishment of this oppressive system isn’t the way.
I recall how one of my peers, a Black woman described how surreal it is to be Black. It’s waking up remembering or seeing yet another story that the world careless nothing for you. Then having the energy to put on an performance for work or others. Because many of us can’t merely stay in bed or seek silence even though we deserve it.
Emotions are a funny thing, you never know what to do with them.
Regardless, none of these emotions or any others are wrong. They never will be wrong. They serve as a part of the truth of what it means to be Black. We can certainly disagree with each other. Yet, we all feel the same emotions because it’s all too visceral.
I will say I found myself shifting through many emotions, but I did so amongst my community. I shared my thoughts with people in spaces where being Black isn’t a marginalized identity. I shared emotions and thoughts that could only be communicated with them.
Emotions that I can’t ignore because I’m Black and society sees our skin as a threat and unworthy of humanity. I’m emotional because I just want to live in peace and I want my people to live in peace as well. I’m tired, we tired.