Accused of racism because I’m white

Alice Peach,
Yuma, AZ

I was working in a public library trying to help my last customer of the day. I’m whiter than mayonnaise because of my English and Slovak heritage (though my dad could look like any ethnicity he wanted). Did I mention that it was my birthday?! And my husband was out of town? I typically try to have the customer accompany me to the reference resources because a lone librarian in the stacks is a target for people too scared or lazy to go to the reference desk, and I can only work on one reference question at a time. In this case, the resource needed was not far from the reference desk and I thought I’d return shortly with the needed information. In this section (business) there were a couple of other people looking through the resources as a I began my research. Then, a gentleman started talking to me as I tried to look up my customer’s information. I explained that I’m helping another customer and that if he went to the reference desk another librarian would be glad to help him. The gentleman decided to pull the race card and respond, “I can see won’t help me because I’m black and you’re a racist.” No, the reason I wasn’t helping him (at that moment) was because I was trying to help my first customer. I decided I needed a supervisor’s intervention, which, of course, were no where to be found. I’m not sure if my original customer or the gentleman ever got the information they were seeking. That was the second time I cried at work–the first time was for a black lady who had a miscarriage and was seeking books about grief. No one can assume–because, well, you know.


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