In Atlanta, Ga., one person’s sign refl ects the actual verdicts that had just been delivered in the Derek Chauvin trial.

Matter: verb [no object] 1 (usually in the negative or in questions) be of importance; have significance…what did it matter to them?

The verdict is in — Guilty. G-U-I-L-T-Y. It is the outcome we prayed for, protested for, dreamed about in our vision of a new America emerging like a phoenix from the post- apocalyptic aftermath of the assault on the Capital by white people — with no police violence or interventions and no deaths. Violent and armed white people raided and ransacked the United States Capital and the police response was subdued, collegial, and complicit, except for a Black policeman who was almost assaulted and a white policeman who died.

Visions of white policeman fist-bumping and taking selfies with those intent on inflicting harm and damage to people and property showed America’s true colors: whites are always right, even when they are factually wrong. No harm will come to them because they resemble the police.

No National Guards were called. Those now labeled as “domestic terrorists” and “insurgents” were not met with police in riot gear; they suffered no tear gas or rubber bullet injuries. After all, they were white.

And in America, nothing else matters much. Indeed, after violent protests, serious damage to federal property, attempts to find and do bodily harm to elected officials — especially then VP Mike Pence — and all instantaneously. posted on social media with no thoughts to consequences, the police allowed them to disburse and go free, back to their white lives/lies.

Only public outrage pushed the police to begin to round up a few visible leaders, but the vast majority left unfettered, unscathed, and seemingly under police protection.

This was the backdrop for Minnesota v. Derek Chavin. A scenario of police brutality against unarmed Black people (children, youth, and adults) and police protection for whites who murder innocent Blacks praying, white school children, Asian masseuses, concert attendees, shoppers, and others in cold blood;

Police guard, protect, and offer comfort to armed white men and even those so emboldened to trespass and ransack federal property because of their political beliefs.

Escaping Trauma

Let me state unequivocally, I did NOT watch the entire Chavin trial. I tried. But after listening to the trauma of the young girl whose videotape was the evidence that probably sealed the case of 9 minutes and a few seconds of watching a man murdered under the guise of “upholding the law” for a suspected $20 counterfeit bill, and after watching at least three people break down — all feeling guilty because they believe they failed George Floyd — was sufficient cause for me to retreat from a trial of trauma.

I imagine this is what enslaved people experienced as they watched other slaves punished, brutalized, abused, lynched, and whipped during slavery. The feeling of utter helplessness and anxiety that if you push forward to intervene, it would be you on the ground begging to breath and dead. That is NOT a choice.

I especially felt sorry for the Black clerk who identified the counterfeit, and later offered to pay. Yet his white boss wanted the heavy hand of the law. He refused the offer.

This is how implicit bias operates. He wanted maximum harm for a petty crime because his own implicit bias — possibly all Blacks are criminals and regardless of the scope of the crime should be punished — kicked in. He knew. He knew white policemen would inflict maximum harm on that Black body — and that’s what he wanted.

May the ancestors of every Black person wrongfully persecuted, killed, and harmed by policemen haunt his dreams forever. And in the short term may customers boycott his store.

It Doesn’t Matter

Even during the Chavin trial, police in Minneapolis (and across the country) went on a revenge rampage to prove that whiteness is still in control. There were reports of 15 deaths nationwide by police of Black people. (

So, even before Chavin’s conviction, there were signs of the time. What time? Our time. Now.

This is a time period that will go down in history as what I call the “reclamation of whiteness” and white people are determined to do anything and everything to regain their foothold at the top of America’s racial hierarchy.

They also count on the majority white police force to support them.

Chavin has been declared guilty, but other policemen have already taken his place.

As I write this on my phone, headlines keep popping up: Young Black girl who called 911 to stop a fight killed by police ( ); two young Black boys arrested by police for riding their bikes without headlights only four minutes from their home — surrounded by six police cars and handcuffed — ; and just now, a Black boy arrested for picking a tulip? And yesterday, the little Black girl whose white teacher cut her hair because it was too wild.

WTF is wrong with this country, with white people, with a white majority police force, and with those “good white people” who say “blacklivesmatter,” but continue to vote in Republicans determined to try and re-enslave Black people, determined to reinstate white history as rule of law, determined to exterminate Black people as we live and breathe?

A Living Hell

This country is not going to hell in a handbasket — it is hell. Our days have limits as states like Iowa pass legislation to ban teaching about the 1619 project and slavery.

Enslavement of Black people is a historical fact. You can remove it from school books and let white kids grow up more stupid and racially tone deaf than their parents, but BIPOC kids will know the Truth.

White political representatives can pass all the bills they want to preserve whiteness as the rule of law. It won’t stop us.

The days of Bull Connors, the KKK, the Proud Boys, the Capital Insurgents, the idiot president Donald Trump are over.

We will not go back! We will not be re-enslaved. We will not allow a white racial hierarchy to rule over us ever again.

We will fight. Some of us will die.

We will protest. Some of us will die.

We will write Truth. Some of us will die.

But we will persist.

We are a resilient people whose ancestors survived 300 years of slavery and 150 years of structural racism.

We will seek allies, but our hope, our determination, our activism, our resilience is not dependent upon any other group.

We cannot depend upon liberal or conservative whites to do the right thing. We do not have luxury of engaging in “magical white thinking.” For you it is the security blanket like the Peanut’s character Linus. It may work for you — definitely doesn’t work for us.

And those who claim to be our allies, ask yourselves what part of your white power and privilege are you prepared to relinquish and give up to help establish full freedom and a just system for ALL of is?

Are you prepared to JustAct? And if you have to think about it, just keep moving. We don’t need your support.

Canary in the Mine

To Indigenous, Asian, Brown peoples, know that our struggles are inextricably linked.

We, Black people, are the proverbial canary in the mine. Whatever happens to us will absolutely happen to you. Asians now are experiencing the full impact of white supremacy. Muslims are experiencing the full impact of white supremacy. Those Latinx who have not chosen to pass for white or can’t are experiencing the full impact of white supremacy.

It is possible, if we join forces, we can forge a powerful wall of resistance to white supremacy, but you all must check and discard your own implicit bias and anti-Blackness.

The Unbearable weight of being Black in the world is upon us. And we must still rise — like we always have. Chavin guilty? Yes.

It doesn’t matter.

‘Nuff Said.

© 2021 Irma McClaurin; All Rights Reserved

This column was originally appeared in Medium ( ), April 23, 2021

Irma McClaurin, PhD/MFA ( is the Culture and Education Editor for Insight News and was named “Best in the Nation Columnist” by the Black Press of America in 2015. She is also an award-winning poet, activist anthropologist, and has held the previous leadership positions as president of Shaw University, Program Officer at the Ford Foundation, and former University of Minnesota Associate VP and founding executive director of UROC. She is the founder of the “Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive” at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and will release in February a collection of her columns: JUSTSPEAK: Reflections on Race, Culture, and Politics in America.  Contact: /

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