Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Books That Destroy

Working in a bookstore is all fun and games, until you're reminded of the conservative, rich, white area in which the store is situated. 

Many people of color can scarcely go a day without being slapped in the face with reminders of how little they matter in this country, and yesterday I learned that such reminders can show up even in places as seemingly safe, open, and harmless as bookstores. I thoroughly enjoy working in customer service, but yesterday I almost wanted to cry. 

On my first day back at work after a week-long vacation I had to process an online order for a book titled If I Had A Son, in which some white middle-aged bozo with a PhD from Duke claims to explain how Trayvon Martin was no angel, how the public was duped by the media which unfairly demonized George Zimmerman, and why Zimmerman's "not guilty" verdict actually makes perfect sense. In short, this grown so-called educated man wrote an entire effing book arguing why a black kid deserved to die and why everyone should feel sorry for the scumbag who killed him. And someone who frequents the bookstore I work at wanted to read it so badly that she took the time to order it. And I had to have this sham of a "book" processed, labeled, and ready for whenever she would come to get it. 


Having to walk around the store daily and see the names and faces of Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin plastered on the covers of their ridiculously-titled publications was one thing. Having to repeatedly retrieve books by Bill O'Reilly for customers and hand them over with a smile on my face every week was one thing. Having to rush through the store while a customer was on hold that one time so I could grab a copy of the autobiography of Barbara Bush for them (when I didn't even know that this former first lady and progenitor of the disaster that was President "Dubya" was still alive!) was one thing.

But this. This really hurt my heart.

We are not even safe in centers of knowledge?
We are not even safe in centers of knowledge.

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