What It Means To Be Black In America

Everyone knows you can hang out at Barnes & Noble for hours, not buy anything, and not be harassed or have the cops called. That’s pretty much what a lot of high school kids do with their Saturdays. But hey, not for Black people, right? The injustice never ends.


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111 Responses to “What It Means To Be Black In America”

  1. 1 dee
    August 15, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I am so tired of this stuff!

      August 15, 2015 at 4:12 pm


  2. 3 JER
    August 15, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    LIVE NOW: Chattanooga Service For Slain Sailor And Marines – http://www.cbsnews.com/liveFeed/widget.shtml

  3. 4 sjterrid
    August 15, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    This is sick.

    Do they really expect us to believe that if this was a white kid the manager would have even said anything, not to mention calling the police.

  4. 5 Don
    August 15, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    A young black man hanging out in book store, a fucking book store, I said a fucking book store.

  5. 7 Don
    August 15, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    I have absolutely no problem with that store manager being put on blast; I wouldn’t give a fuck if she lost her job. Now this young man probably has his name put on some goddamn police database somewhere all because he dared to go to Barnes and Noble to read a fucking book.

  6. August 15, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Too many instances of cops killing unarmed black men/boys starts when a white person calling to cops for no good reason. This must stop.

    • 11 Nerdy Wonka
      August 15, 2015 at 4:14 pm


      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. That white person who picks up the phone to call the cops because you feel that a black body – not causing any trouble – is a threat, is complicit in whatever horror that results from that police encounter.

      It is sickening and disgusting.

      Our bodies are not threats. Our bodies are not weapons.

  7. 13 Bad Wolf
    August 15, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Why doesn’t Barnes and Noble just stick a Whites Only sign in their window. I won’t be buying anything from them anymore.

    • 14 Don
      August 15, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      Can you imagine being the VP of Communications for B&N and its a Saturday and you’re chilling at the crib and out of nowhere your phone starts blowing up because of some straight up bullshit. You’re probably scrambling to find out what happened and the CEO and COF are up in arms because they know a shit storm is headed their way.

      • August 15, 2015 at 3:40 pm

        You betcha, Don!!!

        Perhaps if I can get Sec Jewell or/and Duncan interested in the Monticello-based #TruthAndReconciliation Nat’l Education program they can then approach the B&N CEO and suggest she/he consider sponsoring outreach at their franchise locations – seriously.

        Congrats on 1st dee 🙂

        TY NW for once again alerting us to yet another real time example of the pervasiveness of #WhiteSupremacy!!

        • August 15, 2015 at 4:11 pm

          The person the staff at the store are being instructed to have everyone call is:

          Staff are forbidden to comment.

          I called Mr McNamara. He offers his mobile number in his vmail message, but I am not posting it to Twitter.

          I left him a detailed, polite message. Gave him my name, my direct mobile #, made it clear that I’m white, provided details of my professional status as context for recommending that he have a C-level conversation about B&N pioneering a #TruthAndReconciliation outreach education program in all their franchise stores.

          Stressed that B&N was now receiving international recognition on Twitter and likely on other social media platforms.

          So rather than some ‘apology’ they should seize this as a teachable moment and leverage it creatively and constructively.



      • 22 Don
        August 15, 2015 at 3:44 pm

        I meant CFO, not COF, I was thinking of POF which doesn’t have a thing to do with CFO because POF means Plenty of…..never mind.

      • August 15, 2015 at 3:44 pm

        They deserve every minute of that storm. This is outrageous and despicable. I hope their business folds like a wet lawn chair.

  8. 26 Nena20409
    August 15, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Excellent post, NW.
    When people see Color of Skin as a weapon, threat, hate, etc……..Evil breathes.
    Congrats Dee on your Gold ⭐
    In 1963……then Emperor Haile Selassie had this to say at the UN.

    “That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained; And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed; Until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and good-will; Until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of all men, as they are in the eyes of Heaven; Until that day, the African continent will not know peace. We Africans will fight, if necessary, and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil.”

    In 2015…….this Evil of hate is still alive, thriving and practiced by those who benefit from it.
    In US, the unwillingness for a sizable some to Let go and grow, perpetuates the ugliness of racism.

    • August 15, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      “At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.” – Frederick Douglas, 163 years ago.


  9. August 15, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Not a surprise:

    • 29 Don
      August 15, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      This guy, he was doing such a good job yesterday because he went down to Cuba yesterday with SOS Kerry to reopen the Embassy in Cuba, oh well. One step forward two steps backwards.

    • 31 Nena20409
      August 15, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      Yesterday, he had his self respect. Two in a roll would be a Dead Give Away?
      Nobility in the GOP is a once in 8yrs of a Dem POTUS Bridge too far?
      History……will judge these fools harshly.

    • August 15, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      Flake is a Republican and his decision does not surprise me.

    • 33 vcprezofan2
      August 15, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      You know, if this was a deal to go to war I doubt if there would be as much time spent assessing its worth and deciding how to vote. 😦

      • 34 99ts
        August 15, 2015 at 7:46 pm

        If the current administration proposed it – the GOP would not vote for it. PBO should have come out against the deal and EVERY republican would have voted Yes. THAT is the current US congress.

        • 35 vcprezofan2
          August 15, 2015 at 7:49 pm

          Except that they are so wacko, and given their dependence on war income I wouldn’t put it past them to jump on it in a flash, then campaign on their ‘bipartisanship’.

          Also, too we know it would be totally against PBO’s character to play this as a game. 😉

          • 36 99ts
            August 15, 2015 at 8:08 pm

            I think they said no to war with Syria when the President passed that option to them – but I agree – PBO does not play games – that is entirely the GOP mode of operation

    • 37 Vicki
      August 15, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      Oh. Disappointing. i was so hoping Flake would do the right thing.

  10. 38 africa
    August 15, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Wow. This is menacing.

    Totally. Hearts my heart.

  11. 39 donna dem 4 obama
    August 15, 2015 at 3:43 pm

  12. August 15, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    He is fighting for us, for himself. He is AMAZING.

  13. August 15, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    I’m glad that people there spoke up for him. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to have made a difference.But publicizing it will perhaps help more people aware of what is going on, and more willing to stand up and maybe that will make a difference.

    • 47 hopefruit2
      August 15, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      Yes – I suspect as more of it heard and publicized on Twitter and elsewhere, it WILL make a difference. But that should never have happened in the first place – this is 2015, not 1960. Barns n Noble should be held accountable. And I don’t mean a simple apology.

      • August 15, 2015 at 5:46 pm

        Oh, I completely agree, hf. It’s horrible that the constant barrage of incidents like this will make people think about times when they have sat in B&N reading and NOT been harassed. Maybe it will open some eyes. I know that earlier this year, I was stopped by a policeman. When I showed him my drivers license he pointed out that it had expired months ago. (At the time I was supposed to renew it, my son had gone through a health crisis that had driven it out of my mind and I hadn’t thought about it since.) After warning me to get it taken care of, he let me go. After he’d driven off, I pondered how the episode might have gone had I been black. I don’t think I had been unaware of issues faced by black people in everyday life, but white privilege means you don’t know what you don’t know.

  14. 49 Nena20409
    August 15, 2015 at 3:49 pm

  15. 50 donna dem 4 obama
    August 15, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    I am just so disgusted by all this injustice directed toward our black men/boys. That could have been one of my sons. All of this makes me sick!!

  16. August 15, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    These idiots need to pay for this violation of rights.

  17. August 15, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    When stuff like this happens, we have to collectively as a group take a stand that will hit a company as such in a big way. That’s the only thing they understand. Don’t patronize them until they address the issue publicly.

    I am so done with people treating us like trash.

    I went into a newly opened Asian store in my town. I was excited to see the new store, went to check out if they had stuff there that I could use to make an African dish. When I walked in I saw that they had mangoes being sold by the box or you could buy individually. I decided to buy a box so I could share with my co-workers. When I handed the cashier my credit card, she tapped a few numbers and came back and said the machine was not accepting my card. I figured something was fishy. So, I said to her, let me call my bank because I know the card was good. I stood right there called the bank. Banker says, hmmmm, your card is good. I gave it back to her, she does not even swipe it, instead she tells me the card is not working here. So, I told her I knew what she was doing, that I would never set foot in the store, and would tell anyone I know never to come into the store.

    I then went next door to the convenience store, bought something, gave the girl my card, she swiped it, no problem. I plan to go back to that store with a white friend, get her to go in first and use her credit card and later I will go in and see if this woman was doing what I thought she was doing by rejecting my card.

  18. 57 Nena20409
    August 15, 2015 at 4:01 pm

  19. August 15, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    How can we get in touch with this Barnes and Nobles and voice our opinion about what happen?

  20. 64 Nerdy Wonka
    August 15, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Everyone needs to call and keep calling. My heart breaks for that young black man who walked into a fucking book store and got racially profiled and discriminated against. He is traumatized for life. This is how it starts. This is how it begins. White supremacy in a nutshell.

    Every weekend you walk into a fucking Barnes & Noble, you see white kids of all ages and white adults hanging out for hours, not buying anything and they don’t get harassed. You see white kids making use of the free WiFi for hours and they don’t get harassed. You see white kids and adults having book club meetings, guitar sessions, bags and other accoutrements left unattended, blah, blah, blah and they don’t get harassed.

    But a black kid can’t walk in there peacefully and spend his Saturday like his cohorts without being singled out for harassment and treated like an interloper.

    What BS!

  21. 65 globalcitizenlinda
    August 15, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Once again, someone initiated a police call on an innocent black person just because this store manager CHOSE to label the young man as “suspicious”;

    police respond, ready to shoot/arrest a minority just because the initial caller is hysterical or following their ingrained biases;

    I have mentioned here before that the role that these “incident initiators” play needs to be part of the conversation when addressing police brutality;

    as far back as Emitt Till, someone made the call or initiated the complaint – which often turns out false but by that time some minority may be already dead

    • 66 vcprezofan2
      August 15, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      the role that these “incident initiators” play needs to be part of the conversation when addressing police brutality

      I’ve thought similarly ever since the young man in Toys R Us was killed and the person who called the police, admitted he lied yet walked ‘free’, to my knowledge. There ought to be some consequence to their action when it’s clear they lied. That could easily be called ‘public mischief’, at least.

      • 67 globalcitizenlinda
        August 15, 2015 at 4:39 pm

        remember same stuff contributed to the death of Tamir Rice, John Crawford, Trayvon Martin, the kids at the McKinney Pool etc…..

        if people intentionally lie or just rely on their biases, these “incident initiators” need to be charged – it is like fake-shouting fire in a movie theater

      • 70 hopefruit2
        August 15, 2015 at 6:51 pm

        I agree vc 100%! Also, I think that the Toys R Us incident would be far more than “public mischief.” Calling the police on false grounds which results in the death of an innocent citizen should be categorized as involuntary manslaughter.

        I’m thinking “public mischief” would be along the lines of blasting one’s boombox at high volume near a church or making your pet dog pee/poo on someone’s property just for “laughs.”

        • 71 vcprezofan2
          August 15, 2015 at 7:27 pm

          I chose the ‘at least’ only because it was the only minimum I could think of. I have no legal experience/knowledge (and stay as far away from the legal/police system as is possible). Yes, calling and lying that lead to someone’s death should be taken seriously. That would hopefully act as a deterrent to some.

  22. 72 Vicki
    August 15, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    A few years ago in my local Barnes and Noble I was startled and upset to hear the song playing was “Dixie.” (lower Manhattan location)
    I remember that I wrote about this experience on TOD the same day it happened.

    Nothing has improved in B&N land, it seems.

  23. 73 0388jojothecat
    August 15, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    America needs to clean up it’s act on human rights before pointing its fingers at Iran, China, or any other country. This is apartheid.

  24. August 15, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    All this racism is Obama’s fault, he is the reason this country is so divided. That’s the B.S. that the racists are saying.

    • 75 Sandy1110
      August 16, 2015 at 12:35 am

      Anyone who says that needs to be informed that the country is divided because the racists who can’t stand a black man in the White House have been driven so crazy they can’t hide their racism any longer.

  25. 76 EricFive
    August 15, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    This is white racial resentment in action. They resent the very EXISTENCE of Black people and use any and every opportunity to punish Black people. Be it the racist cop who uses the slightest provocation to take a Black person’s life. Be it the white person who calls cops on Black people for no good reason. Be it “All Lives Matter” or “I Can Breathe” or other negative reactions to Black folks being upset about being murdered by the police. It is all born of same polluted womb of white racial resentment against Black people. Add to that the innate FEAR a lot of white people have for Black people (stemming from unprocessed/unacknowledged guilt, imho) and you have a toxic mix. This is a problem that can only be solved (peacefully) by white people due to the fact that Black achievement creates MORE white racial resentment, not less.

  26. 79 Vicki
    August 15, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Just looked at the photos of POTUS with Bill.
    Bill looked angry and kept talking and as others noted, PBO’s jaw was clenched.
    What will you bet that PBO told Bill that his List and endorsement will be going to VPB? Soon.

    Also I caught a snippet of Bernie in Iowa thanking the people of Iowa for backing the best candidate for President in 2008 without regard to skin color. As BS said, in a state that is mostly white.
    Sen. Sanders then went on to a hard hit at Private Prisons ( you know who takes $$$$$$$$$ from them, right?) And an animated detailing of Sandra Bland being taken from her car, thrown in jail and dying in 3 days. Passionate and clear.

    My idea of Bernie yielding to Biden and standing with VP Joe may not be as crazy as it sounds.

  27. August 15, 2015 at 4:37 pm

  28. August 15, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Funny. I thought we wanted black kids to read. So hard to keep up with what we demand of black boys and girls.

    Been out all day running errands with the missus, and come back to this. It’s hard even to be outraged. This is the new normal after electing an AA POTUS.

    I just know that when I have a black youngster come into my library, I make sure to be extra welcoming. There’ll be at least one place in his/her life where he/she isn’t suspect.

    Will have a new post later which is relevant to this.

    • 86 Nerdy Wonka
      August 15, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      I disagree. It’s not the new normal. This is what has always happened to Black people in this country. It’s just that due to social media platforms, it’s more easily widespread, so the larger public aka white people can see what goes on and what is perpetuated by their brethren in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

  29. August 15, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    If you LOVE VP Joe Biden, this is a MUST SEE:

  30. 96 Nerdy Wonka
    August 15, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    • August 15, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      I put the whole story on my facebook page, and also commented on the B&N corporate facebook page. I rarely shop there because I don’t think it’s a very good bookstore, but I won’t be going again until this is addressed.

  31. 98 JER
    August 15, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    • August 15, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      Bubba: “So, Barack, about that mailing list…”

      PBO: “Just stick to putting the ball, Bill.”

      • August 15, 2015 at 6:02 pm

        You just know Pres Clinton’s got some real heartburn, LL, because he knows that POTUS will support VP Biden like no President in history has supported their VP as they campaign for the Presidency. I feel no doubt in speculating that much of what Pres Clinton tried to do today was to get President Obama to try to convince VP Biden not to run. Ain’t gonna happen.

  32. August 15, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Today, after reading about what happened at B&N, I took the missus’ hand and said: Thank God I have you. Going through the Vale of Bullshit alone would really be depressing.

    • 102 cd4biden
      August 15, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      And thank God we all have TOD to “hold our hand” as we go through this.

      My family is all Republican, except me and my kids. My community is all Democrat, but lately they have all gone ga ga over Bernie, so much so that when I tell them some of the things I’ve learned here about him I am just met with silence for a minute or so and then they go back to raving about him. Arghh! So lovely to be able to come here and listen to intelligent conversation, laugh at the cartoons, be joyful for new grandchildren and more.

  33. 103 JER
    August 15, 2015 at 5:58 pm

  34. August 15, 2015 at 6:10 pm

  35. 108 Jeff
    August 15, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    This incident of Barnes And Noble isn’t on all the media sites. Instead they rave about Sanders.

  36. 110 donna dem 4 obama
    August 15, 2015 at 6:25 pm

  37. August 15, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    a reckoning is coming!!!

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