Wednesday, March 25, 2009

When someone tries to project their issues onto you

Our floor is unique, there are two African American librarians in my department. I work on the 3rd floor. On the 4th and 5th floors, there is only one African American librarian. I get stares, double takes, and questions like,"Are you really a librarian?" This occurs while I'm sitting at the reference desk, under a sign that says it's the reference desk for my department.

My co-worker(the one who most looks like me,) had been complaining about this young guy bothering him. He told me that the guy had been telling him that he wasn't a real "brother man." He had also been yelling that since he couldn't give him any dap, he wasn't a real "black man."

I hadn't had any interaction with the patron until yesterday. The first time I acknowledged his presence, was to shake my head no at him. He was playing a guitar on the floor. When I shook my head, he motioned that he knew he should be quiet. The second incident came later in the afternoon.

A man was walking onto the floor singing loudly. I was shaking my head no at the man. Since "brother man" was walking behind the patron, he took that motion as me singling him out once more. What did he do? He walked up to me at the reference desk and asked me, "Did you vote for O.bama?" I refused to answer his question. I told him that my voting preferences were my personal business. He began to say that I wasn't a real black person and I probably voted for the other party. He then went over to his girlfriend(who is a becky and they have a baby,) and tell her that I was targeting him. I went over to him and corrected him. I told him that the last time, I had been referring to the gentleman walking in front of him. This guy went back to asking me who I voted for. He said that since I wouldn't tell him how I voted, I was denying my race. I shook my head at him because I couldn't tell him what I was thinking. He had also asked me where I was from. When I told him that I was a native of this city, he said, "That's what your problem is."

My co-worker was frightened by the whole incident and she called security. Security came, asked me who the patron was and spoke to him. They then told me that there wasn't anything they could do, except inform that patron that he couldn't harass the staff. I explained to the security officers that I knew there was nothing they could do, that's why I didn't call them. Old boy, knew there was nothing they could do either, that's why he was acting out.

When I told the other librarian(who looks like me)about this incident, he said the guy had done something similar to him earlier. What I believe has happened to this young man who has been talking all of what he considers pro-black rhetoric, is that he has been harassed for it. I think that he fears those who tease him and takes it out on people who aren't in a position to speak negative to him. I saw the couple outside of the library yesterday and dude didn't say anything to me then.

5 comments:

Byron said...

nicca got a pblm...and
s-f-what-
n-e wayz, hi, i could relate, he needs to come to cape and really feel the brotherly love, would end up with knots on his head and arrested if lucky otherwise he might find out what lynchin really is...nfg

Byron said...

"free schools and pretty women" remeber that phrase from the ol man?

Patrice said...

If he bothers you again while Becky is with him, you can say so much without saying anything at all. Simply look at him, look at her, blink a couple of times, repeat 3 to 4 times and say "oooookaaaay" while continuing to blink. He'll either leave you alone or get a little louder then you can have him removed. Either way, he'll know exactly what you feel about his "blackness."

Doret said...

Why do people think they have a right to be all in your bussiness. And I just gave you an award.

Nexgrl said...

@Brother
Thank you.

@Patrice
I did look at her and then him, but I will add the extra blinking as well as the back and forth.

@Doret
They will ask some of the most personal questions, and get highly upset when you refuse to answer.

@Everyone,
I didn't see them at all on Thursday.