An interracial couple was victim of a hate-filled racial slur — but instead of lashing out in anger, they are forgiving the person in question for their actions.
Gina and Jeremy Miller — who have been married for 13 years and have five children, and are expecting a sixth — own Local Realty, a real estate company based in Hoover, Ala. On Wednesday, Gina, who is black, posted about the incident on Facebook, sharing a photo of a “for sale” sign defaced with the words “No N*****” across the front.
“I know my skin color doesn’t look like my husband’s, but that didn’t and doesn’t matter to me nor him,” she wrote. “I am so sorry for whoever wrote this, you have so much hate in your heart that you let it bleed into the lives of others.”
Jeremy shares with Yahoo Lifestyle that he feels sorry for the person who did this, too. “I know that when people are hurting, they do stupid stuff and they lash out.”
While the couple can’t be certain what the person’s intent was and can’t confirm whether the slur was targeted towards them, they have reason to believe that it was for them.
“My initial reaction was that it’s targeted because my face is on the sign and they know my wife is black,” Jeremy tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Part of me said, ‘Maybe this is just a neighbor lashing out — and they don’t want black people in the neighborhood.”
However, Jeremy adds that there are “multiple signs” posted at surrounding houses, and “no one else’s sign was painted on,” making the Miller family feel like they were targeted.
The couple also had to process how to talk to their children about the slur, and be straightforward in a way they can understand. They decided to show their oldest children the picture, but they didn’t understand what the word was.
“They asked me what the word meant,” Gina tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I told them it’s very derogatory — and it means hate. Someone was trying to spread hate. Of course their question was, ‘Why?’ and we said that we don’t know.”
While this isn’t the first time they’ve experienced racism, the couple says that they haven’t seen a situation in which a person has been “so blatant with their hate” before.
Jeremy says that sometimes, when he’s showing white people homes, they’ll ask a question like, “What’s the neighborhood like?” When he asks for clarification, people have said things like “Is it dark out here? Are there many black people?”
Gina adds that she once received a call from a man who was open about his racism — and she says, “He couldn’t tell my race over the phone,” the man stated that “the home he was looking at went on the market after the blacks moved in next door.”
On the positive side, they say they’ve received an “overwhelming” amount of support from the community after the photo of the racial slur made its rounds on Facebook.
“I went to high school there. I graduated from that area,” Gina says. “I know this isn’t a common occurrence, and people have called, texted, Facebook messaged and even reached out to the company page and emailed me. I never would have expected anything like this from people — it’s extremely uplifting and extremely encouraging.”
A person who commented on Gina’s Facebook post wrote: “You have a beautiful family and a lot of support. Whoever did this should be ashamed of themselves. Pray that the person will realize they were wrong and their heart will change. God bless you and your family.”
Another added: “I’m appalled and absolutely disgusted that someone so very ignorant and hateful would do such a thing. Sending hugs from the neighborhood your way!”
The couple says that “the love has drowned out the hate.”
They also want people to take note that the racism isn’t typical of their area — the outpour of support is.
“Alabama is stigmatized, but we love our state — we love this area, and it isn’t the stigmatized South. That’s just not who we are anymore,” Jeremy says. “I couldn’t have been married to Gina 50 or 60 years ago. Our state is representative of love of all people. We refuse the stigma.”
Jeremy confirmed that they would not be filing a police report or pursuing this as a case because he doesn’t feel like that’s a “productive way” to handle this.
“I want that person watching the news and reading these stories to consistently see that essentially, we forgive you,” Jeremy says of the person who wrote the racial slur. Instead of seeing the couple "lash out equally in hate and pain," the couple wants the person to see them "preaching love and forgiveness and grace and mercy. That’s what we’re about.”
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