Meet John Barr; Ypsilanti Township, Mich racist.
I met John this past Tuesday (Nov 2) when I went to my polling location to vote.
Over the last few months, I had been debating how I would vote for Mich governor. I was or torn between voting for a republican whom I felt was competent and a needed change for the state or voting for the democratic option who reminded me of Rod Blagojevich that makes my skin crawl.
Tuesday: Day One
The day of the vote I kinda just said fuck it all. I can’t vote for any of these fools. Why does it always seem like we have to choose between two evils? With that said, I decided not to vote.
Yeah, I said I decided not to vote.
OK, so now, I’m leaving work headed home and I get near my polling place and did an about face and decided to vote.
I guess karma was on my side because the location was not super busy and I got a parking space right at the door.
As I’m getting out my car, I was approached by a man passing out literature for candidates that he was supporting. Then he took it a step further and said let’s get Virg Bernero (the democrat) in the governor’s office. I explained that there was no way that I was going to vote for him.
After I made my statement, his tone changed and he started acting like he was my real daddy or something breaking down how republicans are not for us, the greater good of Negro people, how he would be better for business blah blah blah!
Then he went on to tell me that he owns a liquor store and funeral home. I was like really? Then I asked if he laid to rest any of his alcoholic customers from his store. I was just being an asshole…
Minutes later, I’m in line to vote.
I hand over my ID and the person looks me up then she hands me my voter application to get my ballot.
I then move to the ballot line, which is where John Barr and I 1st made contact.
I approach John with my ID and voter application in hand and greeted him with a hello. He extends his hands to take my information and reciprocates my greeting.
As he was looking me up, he asked “how is your gangsta’ rap group going?” Taken aback, I said excuse me. He then repeated the question looking me dead in my eyes. I then asked John what made him think that I was in a gangsta’ rap group. He exclaimed “everyone with hair like that is a gangsta rapper!”
At this point, I shouted back “are you racially profiling me as I attempt to vote? Are you serious? Do you really mean to intimidate me at the voting poll in the year 2010?”
All I got back from my line of questioning was a dumb ass blank stare that only an imbecile could give.
I then demanded to see someone in charge!!!
Moments later, a very sweet woman approached me and I explained what happened. All the while she was in utter shock. At the end of my rant, she asked me to not leave so that she could process me personally as she dismissed John.
As she handed me a ballot, she requested that I not leave so that she could get me in touch with the township clerk.
So I now have my ballot and I’m in the booth PISSED off.
As I stated before, I was going to vote for the republican gubernatorial candidate but then I started having civil rights flashbacks and said fuck that, I can’t go that way.
After the ballot was completed, I handed it back to the sweet lady (she had be to in her 70s). She thanked me for my patience and told me that the township clerk; Karen Lovejoy Roe was waiting to see me at her nearby office.
As I was leaving, I spotted John pacing back and forth. I wanted to cuss him out but I kept it moving.
Now I’m at the clerk’s office and Karen walks right up to me, introduces herself and apologizes profusely as we walked to her office.
As we talked her office, I gave my accounting of events and she listened in disbelief. After I was done, she informed me that she spoke with John and he was like yeah, I said it. Then it went a step further by him telling her that I obviously wasn’t in management because people in management don’t look like me.
Really bitch? Are you serious?
I’m just done at this point….. I stayed composed although pissed off and was like so now what.
Karen informed me that she needed to call the state elections board to see what her next move should be and that she would be in touch to keep me posted.
She then explained that this has never happened before and assured me that John would never work for her again.
So as we wrap, she makes a pitch to recruit me as a poll worker and gives me two applications. She then stated that she always needs qualified poll workers who are computer savvy.
I took the applications but in the front, back and middle of my mind, I’m like are you serious. I was just assaulted/insulted and you’re trying to recruit me. Ummmm, no boo.
Wednesday – Next Day:
I get to my day job and tell a co-worker what jumped off and she was like you need to contact the NAACP with the quickness. Before she mentioned the antiquated group I was wondered what else I needed to do.
So now it’s 930am and I call my local office and I got no answer. I then call another nearby office and got no answer. I then call then the Detroit office and got no answer.
I kept called all three offices for the next 4 hours and got NO ANSWER, just a raggedy voicemail.
On my last try at the Detroit office, I finally got someone and explained my issue. The young man requested that I hold the line………. After holding briefly, I was transferred to a voicemail box. Great another roadblock. This time I decide to leave a message.
Thursday – Two Days Later:
I get a status update from Karen telling me that she is still waiting to hear back from the state about the issue and that she would get back with me ASAP. I appreciated her call.
And still no response from the NAACP
Friday – Three Days Later:
No follow up from Karen Lovejoy Roe at all. I’m disappointed. It has been 3 days…
Still no response from the NAACP and I again made repeated calls that all went unanswered.
At this point, I’m disappointed that I have not heard back from Karen but I’m pissed the fuck off over not hearing from the NAACP.
To deal with my pissed offness, I call the state bureau of elections my damn self. Wound up talking to some guy who told me that I could send in a complaint letter or send an email detailing my experience. He then stated that if I wanted a response back that I needed to indicate that in my correspondence.
Really? I have to tell you that I want a response back? No, really? Should you just fucking respond?
I hung up the phone frustrated and turned off.
Lastly, I posted this on the NAACP’s Facebook Page:
“I’ve been upset over the fact that I was racially profiled and intimidated at my polling location this past Tuesday by a poll worker. My frustration has been compounded after I called three local Detroit area NAACP offices whom all failed to return my call after leaving a message. Additionally, I have not been able to reach anyone in an office as the phones ring continually. This cannot be how you conduct business in 2010…”
I feel like I have no advocate, no attention etc. Just not cool!
Next election, I’m voting absentee.
For the record:
- Yeah, John did smile from me when I took the photo.
- I called the ACLU & Urban League & they were not into my issue.