I had a shitty day yesterday. A really shitty day. I was the chosen candidate for a job in a department that I’ve wanted to work in for years, and after being 95% positive that it was mine, everything I’d hoped for was slammed to shit when the Human Resources representative decided, after accepting my application and making me go through two interviews, and despite the fact that I am 110% qualified for the position and that the department heads really want me for the job, that my lack of a degree meant that I could not have the job. WHY they actually made me go through the entire process (and eliminate every other candidate), waste my time, and get my hopes up when they knew from the start that they would never hire me is a question that I’ve been asking myself again and again. Two months ago the position didn’t require a degree (because in reality, the job REALLY isn’t rocket surgery), and then one of the higher-ups arbitrarily decided that it does, and HR won’t budge on it.

So. Job that I’ve always wanted is apparently out of my reach forever. I cried on the way to pick up Eve from daycare, and then I cried on the way to the polls once I had her. I had already been feeling rather apathetic about voting, but at that point, all I wanted to do was go home and crawl into bed with my baby, defeated.

I made myself go, and in retrospect, I’m damned glad that I did. There was a line due to the after-work rush, and after waiting twenty minutes I informed the judges that I had just moved to the neighborhood and would need a provisional ballot. They pointed me to another table that didn’t have a line (dammit, if only I’d said something earlier!) where a young woman stood talking to one of the election judges.

They looked at me as I walked up and I said, “I just moved here.” The other woman responded, “Me too, we’re new to the neighborhood.” The judge continued talking to the woman, going into a lengthy explanation about filling out the form for the provisional ballot, then how to fill out the ballot itself, then what to do afterwards and how to get information after the election about her ballot and whether it had been counted. The woman took her ballot and went to some nearby tables to vote, and then it was my turn to talk to the judge.

I repeated what I’d said before: “I just moved here.”

She looked at me for a moment, frowned, and then said, “Your ballot probably won’t be counted.”

“I’d like to cast a provisional ballot,” I told her.

“I don’t think it will count,” she repeated.

“I came here knowing that I would need to fill out a provisional ballot. I understand that it might not count.”

“Well,” she said slowly, “if you feel like filling out all that paperwork…”

“Yes,” I told her. “I do.”

I don’t know what her definition of “all that paperwork” was, but it surely didn’t match mine. I filled out a short form asking such complicated information as my name, address, and party affiliation (Independents represent!). The ballot itself took five minutes to fill out with a pencil, and the judge did not give me any information about who to contact if I wanted to find out if my vote counted. In fact, she didn’t say much of anything to me at all after I made it clear to her that I was indeed going to exercise my right to vote, regardless of whether or not she thought it would count.

I can’t say for sure that I know what that encounter was about, but I have a hunch. The election judge was white, and the young woman that she helped so graciously – who was also new to the neighborhood, same as me – was white. I don’t know what went through her head when she saw me, a young black woman with a baby squirming on her hip, that made her decide to bend over backwards to explain the uselessness of my presence at the poll and discourage me, albeit passively, from voting.

I’m glad to say that I voted yesterday, even if only because it put a frown on that woman’s face.

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22 Responses to “Oh HELL No!”

  1. theroamingnaturalist Says:

    BOOO!! That day SUCKED! Sorry honey. 😡 Soon you’re going to have a better job than any job they have to offer where you are now. Just remember that.

    And honestly, wtf with the judge? Is that like a real judge? A judge whose main responsibility it is to maintain justice and fairness in the court system? What a dick.

  2. Jessica Says:

    All I can say is… if racism is as rampant where you live as you make it seem in your blog… maybe you should move. lol.

    Because, either you purposely inject racism into every aspect of your life and therefore this blog, or you’re living in some racist hick town that someone as sensitive to racism as you should never even visit. lol.

    • Autumn Says:

      Or you’re white and have no idea what it’s like for people of color, Jessica. This stuff happens everywhere. Moving won’t fix the problem.

    • theroamingnaturalist Says:

      You’re joking, right, Jessica?

      • Jessica Says:

        I’d say I’m about half-joking


        I live in Canada so I’m constantly surprised at the stories about racism in the states that I hear, and I think everyone that doesn’t want to deal with inequality should just move here! lol

        that being said, i have read posts on this blog that make me think she spots evidence of racism where it doesn’t necessarily always exist. BUT, again, I live in Canada, so maybe it does. Maybe the states is just a crazy hateful place like that. I really wouldn’t know.

    • August Says:

      This is not a Racism 101 level blog. I’m not here to teach white people the basics about racism. If you are uncomfortable with people of color candidly discussing their lived experiences in regards to race, you are on the wrong blog. If you want to derail the discussion by accusing people of color of being “too sensitive” or playing some sort of card, you are on the wrong blog. If you believe that racism is some kind of rare creature that only rears its ugly head in low-income neighborhoods, the United States, or KKK rallies, then you are on the wrong blog.

      You have two options: Either use that wonderful internet connection you’ve got and educate yourself on why everything you just said to me is completely inappropriate, or get to steppin. That ugliness is not wanted here.

    • GallingGalla Says:

      Well, Autumn and others have already mentioned the inappropriateness of your comments, but really? White election official treats the white voter with kid gloves, then proceeds to try to intimidate a woman of color into not voting?

      Tell me, Jessica, how is this *not* racism?

      And while you’re at it, your smug sense of superiority wrt living in Canada is pretty hollow, when Canada was every bit as much stolen by white Europeans from the people who had lived there for millenia as the US was, so maybe you should get off your high-horse, yeah?

  3. Ruth Says:

    That whole provisional ballot thing just seemed like a reason to try to intimidate people from voting in the first place when it first passed with HAVA in 2002. Unfortunately I don’t think this is unusual at all. I think this kind of low-level, aversive racist attitude from individual poll workers is something you could find anywhere in the US. It’s not like they get training around it, and it’s got to hurt overall voter participation rates. The whole reason provisional balloting was in HAVA was that voters (primarily black and Latino voters!) were left off the voting rolls in Florida in 2000, making the election results suspect.

    I wonder about the job. Are you working on the degree now? This is going to sound like it requires way more chutzpah than a normal person might have, but perhaps you could write a letter thanking the department heads for meeting with you and expressing your disappointment that the organization couldn’t hire you while you were getting the degree. Maybe they can exert some pressure, because it just doesn’t sound right to me. Or maybe it’s really going to go this way–I keep having to readjust my expectations about rationality in the workplace.

    • August Says:

      I am working on the degree, which they (HR) was made aware of from the very start. The department heads have already gone toe to toe with Human Resources over this (because it doesn’t just affect me – the requirements have changed such that much half the people in that department are forever locked out the possibility of ever being promoted) and they won’t budge.

      The really wacky thing is that although this is a science position, if I had a BA in fine arts or history or whatever, it would be acceptable and I could have the job. The degree requirement is purely for show and has no impact or relevance to the job itself.

      I was too young to vote in the 2000 elections, so I had no idea that provisional ballots had only been around for a decade. Thanks for teaching me something new. 😉

  4. Jessica Says:

    From what I’ve seen, there doesn’t seem to be much that’s fair in this “greatest country in the world” of yours. I honestly don’t understand why anyone even lives there, lol. Basically seems like a big nation of racism, debt, police brutality, shady politics and not much else…

    • theroamingnaturalist Says:

      With all due respect, Jessica, unless you’ve lived in the States for an extended period of time, you’ve really no basis for judgement. No one here ever called this country “the greatest” in the world – don’t use general stereotypes about Americans to have conversations with Americans. We have plenty of Canadian stereotypes here, but I certainly won’t base my opinions of you on those.

      Yes, we are a nation plagued by racism, debt, police brutality, and shady politics. If that’s your purpose for writing on this blog – to make a point about America – perhaps it would be better heard on a blog with less-educated readers and writers.

      You seem young, and terribly privileged, so let’s leave it at that. Black people don’t inject racism into their every day thoughts – it is shoved in their faces by every day society, the same as it is to Latinos, Native Americans, and even Asians. Beings that Canada is full of white people who also overthrew a land from the indigenous, I bet there’s an awful lot of racism floating around you right now that you’re not even aware of. Do some research before accusing people of being too sensitive.

  5. IrishUp Says:

    @Jessica – may I ask if you’ve noticed anything lumpy under your tush? Your comments reek of asshattery, so you might want to check your seat again. While you’re at it, check if it says “Throne of Privilege” across the back. And if you know of a place on the planet without racism, or any other -ism, please forward directions. But if you’re going to point out the mote in the USian eye, you might first want to attend to the beam in Canada’s. Regardless, I’m not sure what you were hoping to contribute here to the conversation – the laugh, point and belittle approach sadly has nothing to offer.

    Election judges are there to ensure that election laws are being upheld – that no one is wearing political material, that campaign workers are maintaining the legal space away from the voting site, that Candidate Jane Bagopeanutz is not handing out chickens and pots at the exit. They are there to FACILITATE unfettered, uncorerced, unbiased participation. This election judge was doing the OPPOSITE of hir appointed job. August, if you have time and energy, hir behavior can be reported. It really sounds like voter intimidation. Given all the stories around the country of overt voter intimidation, including Tea Party officials actively encouraging violation of voter laws, not to mention my firm belief that people experience what they experience, I find it impossible to read this as anything OTHER than racially based voter intimidation.* I’m just sorry that too many of our fellow USians will be inclined to dismiss it as Jessica has, or worse, are putting on their brown-shirts* and thinking this was a GOOD thing. I’m glad you stood up for your right, and really fucking sorry you HAD to.

    And just piss on that job situation, boo-fucking-hiss. Hugs if you want them.

    *Alas a Blog and Talking Points Memo both have recent posts on racially based voter intimidation, and the facist aspects, of the Tea Party, if you’re interested, or up for it. It’s mos def NOT fun or cheerful reading.

  6. IrishUp Says:

    Oop, just realized my post crossed with some of yours, August. I hadn’t meant to be redundant.

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