I have said it before and will continue to say it. America has a heart problem! I am so sick of having to justify being Black or feeling a certain way when ignorant comments are made and especially, when you have not (and are not interested) in walking in my shoes as a Black woman! OMG! You tell us we’re being too sensitive, or that we’re too angry, and that simply is not true. Perhaps you’re not being sensitive enough! You make stupid comments that I endure daily and you laugh at ridiculous comedic skits about Black people and those skits aren’t hardly funny! What’s worse is you have the audacity to show me this stuff and think I’m going to laugh and be okay with it. All you get from me is the look that says, “WTF, Dumb ass!” And I then walk away shaking my damn head! Really? Yes! It happens all the time. I’m just pretty fed up with ignoring it and sitting back silently and taking it (or so you think I should). Now, I just ask, “Really? Why would you show ME that? It’s offensive to Black people.”
This week I posted an article by another Black librarian and the jest of the article for me was that Black librarians (male & female) don’t get the same level of respect our white counterparts do. However, someone bothered to claim this article was about Trump, while minimizing the message of the article. Everything is NOT about Donald Trump! Needless to say, I have now deleted that person on Facebook. I must acknowledge that he is a white male and I’ve known of his overly conservative, right-wing views and comments for some time, but the fault was mine in that I ignored them. Now, I’m done! Kick rocks, Buster Brown! You can post that crap on your page…Not mine! Don’t go looking for him because he has been DELETED! The article in question was this, Librarians in the 21st Century: It is Becoming Impossible to Remain Neutral , by Stacie Williams, a Cleveland, Ohio Librarian.
Back to my main point. When a patron approaches the desk and looks around as if I’m invisible…I look around with them. Finally the exchange goes like this:
Me: May I help you with something?
Patron: Is there someone here who can help me?
Me: What is it you need help with?
Patron: I need helping finding information. (still not acknowledging that I’m at a desk that is clearly marked Reference Desk or that I have a name badge on with my tile, Librarian).
Me: Sir/Ma’am, this is a reference desk. Anyone at this desk is professional trained and has a master’s degree in library science and can assist you. Please don’t ask that question again. Now, how may I help you?
As a public servant, I try not to profile or judge a person based on looks. Do I fall short? I’m sure I do! When helping students select books for pleasure reading, I always tell them not to judge the book based on the cover. This hits home with me everyday because when I feel myself moving in the direction to “judge” without having all the information. We could all stand to be more sensitive and accepting of each others’ differences, but DO NOT claim that you understand being Black, when you’ve never been Black. By the way, having Black friends does not count!