Penguins on a grassy plain.
Blacks in the library.
Recent news of the man pictured to the right trying to rape a librarian at the Osterhout Library leads us to explore the experience of black people in the library and ponder more general changes being seen in libraries today.
Before we continue, we'd like to state that there are many intelligent black people who benefit from reading in the library. We do not mean to cast aspersions on such people. We merely mean to explicate relatively new phenomena being seen in metropolitan libraries across the nation, that is, unruly black people tending to populate the library scene.
The first thing one notices about black children as they enter a library is a total lack of volume modulation to fit the quiet surroundings. While white, Asian, and Hispanic children seem to sense the quietness around them as they whisper or talk quietly, the majority of black children talk loudly and often yell and even scream. Moreover, their parents tend to talk loudly.
Is it their Nature?
The inability of many black people to conform to silent surroundings may have something to do with a different evolutionary history. The majority of the ancestors of white and Asians spent their days living in cold conditions, where they'd have to spend many days cooped up in a small area. This would involve communicating quietly in order not to irritate others. The people who were better able to conform to said environment were probably able to reproduce at higher rates. They thus bred into their population an ability to function in quiet conditions. When it comes to Hispanics, much of their ancestry is European, which we just explained. Often some of it is also Amerindian. Yet Amerindians' ancestors also had to weather cold conditions as they made their way across the land bridge to enter the New World. In contrast, it seems blacks would have developed singularly in an open air savannah where a loud voice would have been a benefit. Moreover, there would be less need to modulate behavior since more time spent in a shelter would be during the night when people were sleeping. Indeed, loudness can been seen in black churches dating back to slave days, where vocal participation by the entire church was the norm-- not only during singing but also in the sermon, as many would exclaim "glory!" and "amen!" during parts of the message they agreed with.
Is it Nurture?
But maybe the cause of many blacks' lack of tact in the library does not stem from an innate racial disposition. Maybe it's just part of African American culture. Many Africans who have immigrated to America from Africa have commented on the loudness of their African American co-racials. To be fair, we don't have much experience with Africans from the Dark Continent, so we wouldn't have a black population with which to compare African Americans. Maybe the reason African Americans are louder is that they served as field hands during slave days, where they had to communicate over long tracts of land to other people working an area somewhat far away.
Whether it's nature, nurture, or some combination of both, one must admit that many of Wilkes-Barre's blacks have difficulty being quiet in the library. Below are some anecdotes:
I was just trying to use the Internet. A black lady was sitting next to me, and her kid kept repeating the same two-word phrase over and over in an effort to provoke her into leaving. It didn't seem to bother her, but I had to leave. It amazed me how stubborn he was in continuing to do this for almost a half hour. The stubborn use of force rather than an attempt to reason with her or find some other distraction was unsettling.
I did not have any contempt for the old black guy whose deep voice intimated insignificant details to his acquaintance. I just wanted some peace and quiet.Nerds out, Dregs in
On a more general level, the clientele is becoming worse and worse in the Osterhout library. Homeless people are found there resting on comfy chairs, using bathrooms, and checking Facebook. Ex-cons sit about the tables reminiscing about the doldrums of prison. Aside from these (who make up the very worst types), there are more benign ones. There is the worn out mother with her child at her side who is writhing with boredom as she checks Facebook. There are teenagers sitting next to her, adorned with buzzing earbuds. Let's not forget the occasional 20-something millennial sitting at a side table, his laptop receiving the library's free WiFi. Few people read books.
Speaking of milennials, the nerds of their generation have taken to the Internet. If they do read, it's on Kindle. While there are a few bookworms of the baby boomer generation to be seen at the Osterhout, there is seldom anyone younger than 50 who actually reads books.
It's sad, but the days of most libraries are numbered. In the future they will be mere Internet Access hubs for the poor, with a bunch of old, dusty books as background scenery.