Writer Marlon James rips Minnesota racism after Yanez verdict

Marlon James. David Turner | Courtesy of Macalester College

The day after a mostly white jury acquitted St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez for killing Philando Castile during a traffic stop last July, award-winning writer Marlon James gave us some words.

James penned an essay titled “Smaller, and Smaller, and Smaller.” that’s been spread widely online since he published it on Facebook on Saturday. He opens by discussing a movement to rebrand Minnesota as part of “the North.”

For James, though, the idea of “the North” isn’t the whimsical marketing ploy it is for some. Far from it.

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.

Go read the whole piece here.