Since Trump entered the White House, there has been a rise in hate crimes, particularly from white supremacist groups. According to the non-profit Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of neo-Nazi groups has risen from 99 to 121, as just one example. The thing about the neo-Nazis and other racist organizations, is that they're comprised of ordinary people with regular jobs.
Buzzfeed News reports that people have been tweeting about finding laminated racist note cards inside their boxes of Pamper diapers around Virginia. The cars read "It's okay to be white," on one side in capital letters.
Just opened a box of @Pampers from @Target and found some knuckle-dragging racist slipped this card into the box. BOLO for regressive charlatans. (The reverse had links for fascist, neo-nazi, and alt-right sites. Though that must mean all 3 are the same thing) pic.twitter.com/uFuGVRRcjx— David Tad Russell (@DavidTadRussell) March 25, 2018
On the other side, the card features website information for white supremacist organizations like Blood and Soil. All the diaper boxes found with the message were reportedly purchased at Target:
@LonnyWilk Wife and I bought these Target diapers and found a really racist, hateful laminated card inside under the diapers. On the front it says “it’s ok to be white!” My wife just gets a run around from the Target call centers. It’s clearly happening to others. What can we do? pic.twitter.com/2dxjRrUjse— Mike (@mikelechter) March 2, 2018
The tweets have been coming since around mid-March, but it took awhile before Pampers and Target started responding.
So sorry you received this in your box. Please be assured this is not a message from Pampers and we're disappointed for anyone to see this kind of note. I'll be sure to report this to our team and appreciate you letting us know.— Pampers (@Pampers) March 26, 2018
Thank you for sharing this with us. I hope you’ll accept our sincerest apologies for this situation. We are aware of the inappropriate messages and are conducting a thorough investigation with our security team.— AskTarget (@AskTarget) March 25, 2018
Lots of people have chimed in to say they have found the cards; it's not an isolated incident.
I'm certain this was in a yellow Target brand diaper box. I was volunteering at a diaper bank, wrapping donations for those in need and opening lots of boxes at once. This is why I'm so glad I found that gross, racist trash and not some in need new parent opening donated diapers!— LollipopSailor (@LollipopSailor) March 28, 2018
And they're extremely disturbed.
Moms have been swapping stories about finding them offline as well.
And they're trying to figure out where they're coming from:
Popville spoke with an anonymous buyer who found one of the cards in an order. The person identified herself as a person of color, and says her child is biracial. She wrote in an message that she'd been frightened by the stories on the news about the rising violence in the U.S., but having it come into her home was another level of disturbing.
"The day I opened this and found it in the box, I started shaking. I was angry. I was disgusted. I was terrified. I have a small child in my house. She is half white. But to a Neo-Nazi that won’t count. they will hate her just the same. Friends asked me if I thought they targeted me because of my last name? They asked if my name or my husband’s name was on the label. Mine was. I don’t feel I was targeted."
"I think someone put these in boxes at the warehouse hoping it would make its way into the right people’s hands. Calling the police or the FBI is ridiculous. Even though it is shitty, it’s protected speech. So they are allowed to do this. So what is the point of me sharing this? Making sure we all know it is happening everywhere and it can touch each and every one of us. No matter how benign it may seem to some of you. To a person of color and the white people that love them, it matters.”
It's was also difficult to say if the person who did it worked at Target, though that's where the cards were originating. An employee named Jenna told Buzzfeed that the box design made it accessible to anyone around.
"Based on the design of the diaper box, we also think that the laminated card must have been slipped in through the handles of the box, but we don't have a way to identify where/when or who would have slipped it in there," she explained. "Unfortunately this card wouldn't be detected by our team member during the packing process, since we wouldn't have opened the sealed diaper box to inspect the contents."
However, an internal investigation did eventually identify the culprit, according to a new statement from Target spokesperson Joshua Thomas.
"After being made aware of the situation, we immediately launched a thorough investigation to address the concerns and put a stop to it," said Thomas. "We have identified the source, and given this is a violation of our policies and our commitment to inclusivity, terminated the team member."
They have not explained how they figured out who the employee was.
One of the people who found the cards, Tad Russell, says this is actually not the first time this almost exact scenario has played out in the area, in an interview with WRCB TV.
"It said 'It's okay to be white,' and I looked on the back and it was just five or six websites that I recognized the language that was used from the Charlottsville incident late last year," he said.
Russell seems baffled by whoever this person is, and seems willing to set them straight if they want to talk.
"It's really hard to understand why someone would hold these views that it's okay to be one thing but not something else," Russell said. "I really hope that they can know that there are good people out there that will care enough to talk with you."
For some reason, it seems unlikely that someone who has been going to the trouble of laminating hate-greeting cards is open to reasonable discussion. But the offer is out there, if they get the message.