I go out of my way to avoid police, because I don’t know how to physically act around them. Do I hold my hands in the air and get shot, Do I kneel and get shot? Do I reach for my ID and get shot? Do I say I’m an English teacher and get shot? Do I tell them everything I am about to do, and get shot? Do I assume that seven of them will still feel threatened by one of me, and get shot? Do I simply stand and be big black guy and get shot? Do I fold my arms and squeeze myself into smaller and get shot? Do I be a smartass and get shot? Do I leave my iPhone on a clip of me on Seth Meyers, so I can play it and say, see, that’s me. I’m one of the approved black guys. And still get shot?
And when I do get shot and killed, do black and brown people take it as a given that the cop will get off, tune out of the story from this point, and leave the outrage at the inevitable verdict to white people? Because white people still look at fear of black skin as one of their rights, and god help you if that skin moves. Because cops, the lethal arm of this society, along with neighborhood watchdogs, and white neighbors with phones, get the privilege to always act on any fear, no matter how ridiculous, and society always gives them the benefit of the doubt and the not guilty verdict. Because brewing fresh outrage every morning is not a privilege people of colour get to have. The situations that cause outrage never go away for us. It never stuns us, never comes out of the blue. We don’t get to be appalled because only people expecting better get appalled.
Related Off-site Links:
Author Marlon James Offers Biting Critique of Minnesota Racism After Philando Castile Case – Susan Hoga (The Washington Post, June 20, 2017).
Marlon James Writes About Being "Big," Black and Minnesotan In the Age of Philando Castile – Mike Mullen (City Pages, June 19, 2017).
Dashcam Footage of Philando Castile Shooting Released – Breanna Edwards (The Root, June 20, 2017).
Philando Castile and the Terror of an Ordinary Day – Elise C. Boddie (The New York Times, June 20, 2017).
Interviews Contradict Jeronimo Yanez Trial Testimony He Saw Philando Castile’s Gun – Susan Du (City Pages, June 20, 2017).
The Acquittal Verdict In the Philando Castile Case Is an Abomination – Daniel Payne (The Federalist, June 19, 2017).
White People, the Philando Castile Acquittal Should Make You Mad as Hell – Zenobia Jeffries (Yes!, June 19, 2017).
The White Parallel Universe of a Traffic Stop – Samuel G. Freedman (The Chicago Tribune, June 19, 2017).
“Minnesota Nice” and Minnesota’s Racism – Andrea Plaid (Twin Cities Daily Planet, November 5, 2015).
The Stages of What Happens When There’s Injustice Against Black People – Awesomely Luvvie (December 4, 2014).
The Body Count Rises In the U.S. War Against Black People – Ajamu Baraka (Counter Punch, June 20, 2017).
UPDATES: 7 Seconds. That's How Long It Took to Kill a Compliant Black Man Carrying a Legal Gun – Will Bunch (Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, June 21, 2017).
On Philando Castile, Terror and the Trauma That Remains – Allyson Hobbs (The Root, June 21, 2017).
Police Shooting of Castile: In Falcon Heights, We Were Jolted Into Knowing We Needed Change – Christine Baeumler, et al (Star Tribune, June 21, 2017).
"It Broke Me": The Daily Show Host Trevor Noah’s Emotional Reaction to Philando Castile Dashcam Video – Marlow Stearn (The Daily Beast, June 22, 2017).
After Cop Shot Castile, 4-Year-Old Worried Her Mom Would Be Next – Madison Park (CNN, June 22, 2017).
After Philando Castile's Death, Investigators Tried to Secretly Get Access to Diamond Reynolds' Facebook and Phone Records – Kate Conger (Gizmodo, June 22, 2017).
Our Fear of Black Men Is Racist, and It Killed Philando Castile – John Halstead (The Huffington Post, June 22, 2017).
The Philando Castile Jury Was Stacked with Pro-gun, Pro-cop, Middle-aged White People – Kali Holloway (AlterNet via Salon, June 23, 2017).
Yanez Juror: "Nobody Was OK with It" – Tom Weber (MPR News, June 23, 2017).
Minneapolis Cops Retreat From Stricter Deadly-force Policy – Libor Jany (Star Tribune, June 26, 2017).
"All the Police Have to Do Is Utter Those Five Magic Words" – Janine Jackson (FAIR, June 26, 2017).
What Will It Take to Hold Police Officers Accountable? – Areva Martin (The Huffington Post, June 27, 2017).
"America is on Trial": Historian Ibram X. Kendi on the Failure to Convict Cops Who Kill Black People – Democracy Now! (June 28, 2017).
Philando Castile Settlement Shows White America Willingly Pays for White Supremacy – Jason Johnson (The Root, June 28, 2017).
Militarizing the Minds of Police Officers – Jelani Cobb (The New Yorker, June 29, 2017).
The NRA: No support for Philando Castile, But An Apocalyptic View of America – Tigger Lunney (City Pages, June 30, 2017).
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
• Quote of the Day – June 17, 2017
• "This Doesn't Happen to White People"
• Remembering Philando Castile and Demanding Abolition of the System That Targets and Kills People of Color
• Quote of the Day – March 31, 2016
• Something to Think About – December 29, 2015
• Quote of the Day – November 25, 2015
• "We Are All One" – #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation: Photos, Reflections and Links
• An Update on #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation
• Rallying in Solidarity with Eric Garner and Other Victims of Police Brutality
• "Say Her Name" Solidarity Action for Sandra Bland
• In Minneapolis, Rallying in Solidarity with Black Lives in Baltimore
• Thoughts on Prayer in a "Summer of Strife"
Image: Marlon James photographed by Jeffrey Skemp.