No One Should Be Telling Black People How We Should React to Racial Trauma

Dominique Simpson
4 min readMay 31, 2020
“Maggie Brown, (2020)”

Atatiana Jefferson. Samuel Dubose. Philando Castile. India Kager. Sandra Bland. Natasha McKenna. Eric Harris. Brendon Glen. Christopher Davis. Dominique Clayton. Willie Tilman. Freddie Blue. Eric Garner. Alteria Woods. Michael Brown. Pamela Turner. Botham Jean. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd.

This has been an emotionally exhausting week as an African American — to put things lightly. Most of us began our week continuing to find our footing in adjusting to the societal new normal of sheltering in place at home, though some states have lifted safer at home orders. I, just like everyone else, am helping pass the time by frequenting my favorite social media apps. I routinely scrolled down my Instagram timeline, unaware of the peril that awaited me.

Anytime I encounter a video of several police officers and a single black man or woman, that’s usually gone viral, truthfully speaking I do what I can to avoid the video. I close whatever app I am on and go to the next. Typically, I run into the video on the next social media platform and out of fear of what I may witness I put my phone down and try to focus my attention elsewhere altogether. The viral footage of George Floyd’s fatal arrest followed me across social media apps as some users were already engaged in uproarious discussions emotionally charged and reeling from what they had just viewed. I decided to get it over with and watch the footage.

I tried watching the video at length. I didn’t want have to watch it again for any reason, but about a minute and a half into the video as I listened to him pleading with former officer Chauvin that he couldn’t breathe because of the knee on his neck, I decided that I could not and would not finish watching. I hysterically cried for the lost life of a man that I’ve never met, just as I have for some of the other black men and women mentioned above that were murdered at the hands of those that took an oath to protect and serve. Not to protect and serve some, or whom they prefer, though the actions of police officers nationwide speak otherwise.

It was not necessary to finish watching to know what consequently resulted in the death of George Floyd. I am all too familiar with how this story ends, just as we all are as difficult as it is for…

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Dominique Simpson

The hermit scribe, a witty womanist. Essayist, poet, and black literature enthusiast. Unequivocally and unapologetically black.