Saturday, July 30, 2016

Dear African American Gentlemen #1 and #2

Dear African American Gentleman #1,

I am sorry that when by giving you the simple paper calendar and saying that the full library system brochure was too complicated that you thought I meant it personally at you, that you were too stupid to get it.

It is simply that the brochure is so badly designed that it takes endless flipping to look through it! That's why I spent time making the paper calendar.I have had other patrons complain about it, and I am planning on taking it up with our nice but dim public information officer, the Elf from our central branch and the other librarians.

That's all. Nothing in terms of your intelligence or ability, though you immediately assumed that I meant it that way.

Dear African American Gentleman #2

I am sorry that you got huffy about making enlarged prints. You needed my help with getting the right sized paper, and you discussed how you wanted to try to enlarge the print. Since I've been doing stuff like that with copy machines since we've had copy machines that could do that, I know you often have to try, try and try again to get it the right size, and that huge blowups don 't usually work.  I gave you your money back and you were hostile.

Both of you assumed that since I am a white lady who works in a government building that I am prejudiced against you automatically, that I think you are ignorant. But the sad truth, which I first experienced with a college roommate back in 1979 is that YOU are prejudiced against me.

Yes, the world is stacked against you as an African American man. My dear friend who works with me, who is the antithesis of the stereotypical African American male, deals with that on the other side of the desk here every day. I do get it.

But if you ASSUME that every word from my mouth has hidden meaning, if you ASSUME that anyone who has my skin color is against you, than you are part of the problem too.


How about assuming that I might be nice, and helpful and will treat you with the same dignity I would treat anyone who walks into my library?  You might find that people will surprise you when you do that.

Respectfully and sadly,

The Library Lady

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