Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, full of fun and all about love – tangible as the blue and purple glitter that my daughter trailed from her Valentine mailbox all day long. I will be dealing with that glitter for at least a year. But it’s okay, because it was all in the name of love.
But then, a friend texted me a picture of a Valentine and a bag of jelly beans with this message:
“Love your own RACE! Loyal White Knights KKK. Stop Homosexuality and Race mixing. God’s Laws Don’t Forget!”
A grandparent had found it on the ground, right here in suburban Birmingham. In 2017.
This is the KKK feeling safe and cozy and comfortable enough to raise its ugly face in the here and now. This is the KKK feeling emboldened and loud and proud. This is the KKK literally sending out Valentine cards to spread their venom. These words were literally printed within two lovely, small, red, interlocking hearts. Words of hatred, exclusion, and derision that somehow invoke God’s law on the national day of love.
And the only words running through my brain are a motley assortment of swear words in varying orders and inflections.
So I gave myself until today to write this post, so that the swear words might settle down and turn into something worthwhile. And here’s what I’ve come up with.
I could just look at this and roll my eyes and think it was some lone crazy lunatic and write it off. After all, I have no reason to be offended. I’m white. I’m straight. I’m Christian. Whatever, right?
So, so wrong. I have every reason in the world to be not only offended, but completely and totally horrified. Not only for myself, but for my LGBT friends, my husband of Indian heritage, and our daughters. Hate based on race, gender, sexual orientation or religion is not OK, and I won’t pretend it is.
It’s especially odious that a Valentine of hate was aimed at my girls, who at the ages of 3 and 5 already reflect the love of God that we’ve tried to pass on to them.
My parents grew up with bigotry, but they chose to leave it behind, choosing love and acceptance and inclusion. They chose to embrace a message of God’s love, and that is what they passed along to my brother and me.
So I’ve made the choice to speak, not only as a fellow human who would stand side to side with any target of such malice, but as my children’s mother. I want my girls to know, all of their lives, that their mommy never let them down. I want my gay friends, and my friends of color, to know, always, that I stand with them.
We all make our choices. And I urge you to make the choice to stand for the vulnerable, the minorities, the poor, the needy. The homosexuals. The mixed races. The targets.
Let’s join our voices in chorus, and stand up to this poison, and say it as loudly and as forcefully as we can: