The names and locations have been changed to protect privacy…….
So, in a suburb of one of the 100 largest cities in the United States, a dad took his kids to the library.
No big deal right?
Dad is white.
Kids are black. Adopted. Teenagers.
“Dad, I can’t find my library card!”
“We don’t have a lot of time, we’ll just put them on my library card, okay?”
A bit later…..
“Dad, I’ve got my books…..”
“Okay, let’s go check out and go home and grill hamburgers for supper, sound good?”
“Can I help who’s next?”
“I’d like to check out these books but I can’t find my card so I’m going to put them on my dad’s card.”
Dad puts library card on the counter.
Looking at Dad, library clerk says, “Does he have his card number?” (He – teenage son – is 2 feet away)
Dad looks at son, “Do you know the number?” “No.”
“Does he know what happened to the card?” Once again he is 2 feet away.
Dad – “Not sure, can you look it up with my license, I’m on his card? Otherwise just put them on mine.”
Clerk – “I’ll look it up.”
Tick tock, a couple of minutes pass.
Clerk – “I can’t find his record, are you okay with putting his books on your account?”
Dad – “Yes I am.”
So, ask yourself, what happened here?
It seems to me that there’s one of two possible explanations for the clerk choosing to speak to the Dad and ignore the black teenage son even though they were the son’s books and he was standing right there:
The clerk is uncomfortable talking to teenagers. If that is true, then the clerk shouldn’t be employed in a position where she has to talk to kids and teenagers.
The clerk is uncomfortable talking to black teenage boys. She wouldn’t look at the son, she wouldn’t talk to the son and he was standing right there.
The black son wasn’t in danger, wasn’t acting out, he was just being a typical tired teenager. The Caucasian library clerk obviously felt very uncomfortable and didn’t want to talk to him.
Think it doesn’t happen here?