Bruce wrote yesterday about the awful chapter of the Constance McMillen story that just concluded. After being assured that the prom thrown by parents would be welcome to everyone, the students and parents decided to let pig ignorance and cruelty win the day, their little kudzu-like black souls determined to stamp out any good that could have come from the situation: No one attended the prom at the country club, instead choosing to leave Constance and the disabled kids at that prom while they went to another, unofficial prom. Great job, bigots!
I’m talking to the children, but only halfway. But I’m really talking to the parents. Every single one of you has proven yourself to be unfit to be raising children in the year 2010 in a first world nation. The fact that you allowed your kids to participate in this act of unmitigated gall and cruelty is repugnant. That kind of shit might have passed for parenting during the Crusades, or back when you were a slave state, but not anymore. Anyway, way to teach your kids to hate people who are different from them! That’ll take them far in this world. (No. It won’t. It’ll keep them stuck in Fulton, where brain cells apparently go to die.)
So yeah, this Southern writer is disgusted, as is pretty much every other Southerner for whom a trip to Wal-Mart is an annoyance rather than a vacation.
Another Southern writer is approaching this differently, and I think we could all learn something from the truly admirable compassion she is trying to feel for these idiots. Perhaps it’s because she’s a Mom, and she’s able to speak to it from that perspective. You may be familiar with Jenny the Bloggess. If you’re not, take a moment to subscribe to her feed this instant, and thank me later. She’s usually the most reliably funny read on the entire internet; she’s bent, twisted, and wonderful. But tonight, she’s singing a different tune:
I know people who are intolerant or homophobic or full of fear or hate. And some of them I love in spite of it. I can’t help it. But I still have to say something even if it hurts them to read it.
You are wrong.
Our differences are what make us strong, what makes us unique and special. Fighting intolerance about mental illness, or race, or lifestyle or whatever labeled “flaw” we are saddled with makes us strong. And today instead of using my strength to say how much I hate every single person that thought that this horrible act of cruelty was in any way acceptable to do to a human being I’m using it to do something so much harder. I’m using it to say that I still love you. And that I hope for change. And that I know that I am imperfect and I am changing and that I hope you can too. Because I don’t want to live in a world where so many people send me emails of desperation and despair because they think that a girl on the internet they’ve never met is the only one who could ever understand them. These people? The ones emailing me who feel that their life is worthless? They are your children. They are the people we see every day. They are the men and women who will one day care for us when we’re old and feeble and can’t stand up for ourselves anymore.
They. are. us.
Yeah, Fulton. Everybody whose words you’re reading right now has a Southern accent and says “y’all” a lot. Deal with it.
Jenny finishes her post like this:
A special note to every single person reading this who thinks that they are alone or different or forever broken…you are not. You are part of a special tribe that you just haven’t found yet and we need you. All the best people are broken. Keep fighting until you find your place. It does exist. I promise.
And that was when Jenny made me cry. (Damn her for that, by the way.)
It’s amazing that there are everyday heroes out there fielding letters from depressed, broken kids. I’ve fielded a few in my time, but I can imagine that Jenny fields a lot, because of what she stands for and the way she spills her soul (hilariously) day in/day out; it’s likely made her a trusted confidant for many more hurting kids than she’d ever tell you. But it’s sick that people on the internet have to be stand-in parents and confidants for kids because their parents won’t support them. You know?
Anyway. Thanks, Jenny for taking a night off from the funny to give us all that message.