A Minneapolis, Minnesota, household received an anonymous “Bah Humbug” letter recently, chastising its residents for their Christmas light display. What was wrong with the display?
“The idea of twinkling, colorful lights are a reminder of divisions that continue to run through our society, a reminder of systemic biases against our neighbors who don’t celebrate Christmas or who can’t afford to put up lights of their own. We must do work of educating ourselves about the harmful impact an outward facing display like yours can have,” said the letter, shared by Crime Watch Minneapolis. No, the “twinkling, colorful lights” are a reminder of love and sacrifice, and a glimmer of hope penetrating the darkness of 2020. They are a festive ode to joy in a deeply dark world. They have nothing whatsoever to do with systemic biases. If any neighbors couldn’t afford to put up their own lights, they almost surely would appreciate these.
It is the anonymous letter that is emblematic of systemic biases against “our neighbors.” It is the author of the letter that “must” do the work of educating his or herself about the harmful impact his or her reactions to a string of colored Christmas lights can have. The author should do the work of looking inward and attempting to find the source of the intellectual and spiritual cancer eating away at his or her humanity.
Does this person also recoil in horror at the sight of an inflatable Santa? Halloween decorations? A “Biden for President” sign? Black Lives Matter slogans? An outward facing Kwanzaa display?
This neighborhood Christmas Karen—and those like him or her-- needs to get a job. And some tolerance. Perhaps then all would be calm…and all would be bright.