Not that you would care or anything. But the day you kicked me out of the library, I was being interviewed, ironically, on if I - as a woman - feel like my gender plays a role in my classroom experience. As I responded to the interview questions, a student yelled from upstairs that I needed to “be quiet.” But you didn’t hear that, did you? What about when that same girl continued to make disruptive noises even after WE lowered our voices. You were silent then. Why?
Although we knew the library was not a “quiet zone”, we still asked a student worker if talking was allowed. You know, just to be safe. Not surprisingly, the library was not a quiet zone. So we took our seats, lowered our voices even more than before, and continue the interview. Soon after, I turned to find you towering over me with the complainer by your side. Without any hesitation you told me that we needed to move away from people.
Stunned into silence, I did not initially respond. I was used to this feeling of being told what to do and having to do it without question. My interviewer - biracial and white passing - was not. As she challenged you, I began to pack my bag. I stood up and in that moment, I was finally able to speak. Was I frustrated? Did I think this was unfair? Yes! But thanks to years of practice and training, when the words came out of my mouth, my feelings of anger and frustration were transformed into polite, poetic, and gentle suggestions. I tried to reassure you that we were going to cooperate, but I also wanted to be heard.
You did not listen. Your mind was made up. You shut me down, before I could say another word. You heard her say, “Why don’t you just leave!” You heard her say, “You’re being aggressive!” You heard her say, “You’re being disrespectful!” And, you did nothing when I was approached by her, another student, screaming in a very confrontational tone. What had I done? Oh yeah! Calmly suggested that in the future you consider both sides before taking action. Though you told us to move, I didn’t expect for you to side with the student who had aggressively accosted us. You told us that we we were rude and to leave completely.
I couldn’t believe that. I wouldn’t stand for it! As I grew enraged, I thought about every video I’ve seen with cops who have been called on a person who looked like me and I remembered that ain't nobody got me like I got me. In the instance that the cops would have been called, I knew that no one would have my back, so for my own safety I knew that I had to leave. So I left. I left feeling deep enragement, sadness, and embarrassment. I felt all alone. I cried on the hallway floor that day. Not that you would care or anything. #PolicingBlackBodies #PBB
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Undergraduate student, University of Maryland, College Park