“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I recently heard the news that the KKK is coming to Charlottesville, VA this summer. My first response was anger.
I don’t want them here. I don’t want them to have the right to come make my minority students, whom I love, feel like anything but what they are- awesome and amazing people.
I don’t want them to come and potentially influence my white students, whom I love, to believe it is right to hold negative views of people based solely on their skin color.
I don’t want them to come and stir up the community that I love with hatred. I don’t want the KKK here.
My next response was slower and harder- acceptance.
The anger I feel is justified, but if I believe in the freedoms we have as American citizens, and I want to be granted those freedoms, I have to be okay with others exercising those rights. As much as I disagree with their beliefs, they must be allowed to assemble and share those beliefs.
So, how should I respond? Do I have the right to hate those who spew hatred towards the people I love? Maybe…. but just because we have a right to do something doesn’t mean it is right.
I have to see those in the KKK as what they are- people. They are people like you and me. I may not agree with their beliefs, but that doesn’t make them any less human and deserving of love.
Sometimes it is really hard to love people, especially those who hurt others. Hate can be the easier option.
Martin Luther King, Jr., had the right response. My hatred would only further spread hatred. I must meet this visit with love. I must find ways to show my children, my students, my church, and my community that the KKK can say what they like, but it isn’t truth.
The truth is love because we all have one thing in common. We are flawed people in need of grace.
I will show love in the face of hatred.