Monday, April 25, 2011

What Got To Me Today: Hate Speech in Easter Eggs

Hate speech of any kind is hard to take.  Thank God most of the time I am able to tune it out, keep it away from the ears of my children, and hopefully not give any kind of unwarranted attention to those evil people who spread hatred and prejudice.  I am, after all, a real fighter for free speech, even when I don't agree with it.

Sometimes though, I'm so struck by something so putrid, that it makes me want to rally the troops and spread awareness in hopes that maybe it'll do some good.  The difference with this story, is the method of which the free speech was delivered, how it landed on private property. 

I caught a snippet of news today as I was walking through my living room, something about hateful messages in Easter eggs.  What I thought was a Michigan story, turned out to be a national story.  The plastic eggs I'm about to tell you about were distributed in Oakland County, near Pontiac in Michigan, but originated out west in Idaho, and were copied in other locations across the country.

Leaders of a white-supremest, nationalist neo-Nazi group (I refuse to print their organization's name), spent their Easter holiday spreading colorful plastic Easter eggs all over the lawns of neighborhoods.  Unfortunately, the eggs were filled with recruitment fliers and racist and anti-gay slurs. 

I tried to imagine what it would feel like to find one of those eggs in my yard.  I tried to think of the fury I would feel if one of my children opened up one of those eggs, looking just the same as others filled with candy and loose change.  How would I be able to explain what they had found in a way that wouldn't devastate them on one of the most joyous and holiest of holidays?  How would I explain it on any day?

Then I thought, my kids would be as sad and angry about the messages as I was, because my husband and I have taught them to know what is unfair, unjust, and just plain mean.  Even at their young age, in a way that is age-appropriate for them, they know that people are just "people", not labeled by a color, a religious belief or by who they choose to be with. 

So I guess the best defense of this kind of behavior is offense.  The awareness I choose to spread today is that of a power that is real.  It is the power of knowing what is good, what is right and what is responsible. We are the ones who should spread the word of equality, fairness and a love of thy neighbor. The more we choose not to give these horrible people our energy, the less they will be fueled.  They can have no power if we choose not to give them any.  Knowledge is the real power and we know better.

To those people who received those eggs, I'm so sorry that happened to you.  Just please know there are so many more people that stand with you, then those who do not.  We, united, will someday drown out the voices of those who choose to live in hate.

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