This is the tweet that I’ve been thinking about since Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd yesterday:
The immediate reaction from many people in the Black community was relief. But that relief was preceded by anxiety and a tempering of expectations, for some it was emotional preparation for disappointment. All of that is just more trauma, after weeks of renewed trauma during the trial as, over and over again, details about how George Floyd was murdered were repeated and shared, including the video.
What does it say about justice that it’s met with relief instead of recognition? This is what’s so complicated about justice. Because the prelude to justice is a wrong. And in this case, for the family of George Floyd, justice doesn’t change the fact that he’s never coming home. They would rather that his life had been respected in the first place over justice being required.
That’s still the reality for the Black community today even though Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder – police brutality against Black citizens continues to be a threat. For those of us who want to be productive allies then, as noted in that tweet, it’s about being a part of that transformation: calling racism for what it is, understanding how we may have been complicit and complacent in it, as uncomfortable as that may be, and acknowledging the pain and fatigue that the Black community has to endure, and for too long alone. This is what we can help change.
I come back again and again to what Ava DuVernay said last year in conversation with Gayle King about the “emotional labour” that Black people have to carry because of racism.
Many members of the Black community are doing this labour today, talking and writing about Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd, and all the Black lives that have been lost because of white supremacy, pushing relentlessly for equality when, really, what they really deserve is rest, security, freedom, FUN. Why should they be more tired than the rest of us? They don’t have to be if more of us do the work too.
There are many allyship resources that are worth studying and re-studying – here’s a collection of them. For me as an Asian Canadian, this is one in particular that I’ve bookmarked. Beyond courts and verdicts, as so many leaders have been trying to teach us over the last few years, being anti-racist is an active process.
Yours in gossip,