Was this couple racist? Was this mail lady overreacting? (WATCH)
GREEN BROOK — Is it racist to describe a person as black?
Post Service officials say they're investigating a confrontation between a postal carrier and two Green Brook residents that the residents captured on video — a shouting match after one of the residents described the carrier as "the black mail lady."
U.S. Postal Service officials didn't provide any details of the incident, other than to say it occurred May 14 in Green Brook, and that the investigation is ongoing.
In the video — recorded by resident Kimberly Pineiro, who provided a copy to New Jersey 101.5 — the mail carrier appears to be standing in the street, just off the residents' property, and the residents appear to be on their driveway. The video, shot on a mobile phone, is shaky and does not always show the people involved — so it's not clear where the parties were at all times.
According to Pineiro, the residents' usual mail carrier has been off the job because of a recent surgery, and a few others have taken his place at different times. Pinero's boyfriend, Jayson Bays, came into the house to tell Pineiro that the "black mail lady" was afraid of their dogs, Pineiro said in an email exchange with New Jersey 101.5.
Bays says in the video that the mail carrier asked what he'd said, and he repeated it outside. That's when the shouting began — as the mail carrier accused the couple of being racist and disrespectful.
"Black is not racist. Black is not racist, first of all," Pineiro says in the video.
"How is that not racist?" the mail carrier replies.
"If he called you the N word, that would be racist," Pineiro says.
"No, that is racist," the mail carrier says. "First of all, all you had to say is he scared the mail lady."
She again tells Pineiro, all Bays had to say was "You scared the mail lady, period."
The exchange gets more heated at times — "What he says in my house is none of your f---ing business," Pineiro tells the mail carrier at one point.
At another, after the mail carrier says she's calling her supervisor, Pineiro tells her, "You're really unprofessional. You'll be lucky if you have a job after this. Trust me, you're messing with the wrong f---ing people."
Most of the yelling is between Pineiro and the mail carrier, but at one point, Bays jumps in. "You're what's wrong with society. You're the problem. You're the problem. Because I said something that you thought was racist?"
"You called me the black mail lady," the mail carrier says.
"What the f--- am I supposed to call you?"
"The mail lady!"
Pineiro identified the mail carrier only as Kadeisha; she said she did not know the carrier's last name.
Pineiro also she's been in touch with postal inspectors, but isn't satisfied with their handling of the situation. The inspector on the case "is trying to justify Kadeisha's actions. We are trying to get in touch with her superior."
"If my boyfriend called her a racist slur u better believe this girl would've had news outlets, and Al Sharpton on our door step demanding he be charged with a hate crime," Pineiro wrote to New Jersey 101.5. "But this isn't the case. Calling someone racist for something that is in FACT not racist (and I quote Green Brook PD on that) is defamation of character."
In the video, Pineiro said several times Kadeisha will likely find herself unemployed.
"I have a pretty big influence in this town," she said.