Can you love a racist?
My boyfriend and I were talking about racism one day when he says "My dad's racist, ya know.." "Really?" I said, "I haven't noticed." With a slight sigh, and an eye roll he says "you will." Several weeks go by, we visited his dad a few times, and his dad stopped by to say hello, and I still didn't see any racism coming out. So I started thinking to myself, maybe it's one of those scenarios where his dad doesn't realize he's racist...maybe it was a learned thing that no one has ever addressed with him. It can happen, doesn't make it any less racist, but sometimes people do not even know they are racist, and until someone addresses what that person, says, does, or believes, they are not willing or able to change it.
So anyway, one day I was playing Betty Crocker and made homemade peanut butter cookies. You know the kind where you roll the dough in sugar and then mash little lines in them with a fork...soooo good lol. "Let's bring your dad some cookies," I told Matthew. Well, I don't know if my cookies were so good that it made his dad extra comfortable around me, or if I accidentally rolled the cookies in sodium pentothal, instead of sugar, but my oh my, I watched it fly! Out of nowhere, his dad points at his wallet sitting on a tv tray, and says "I couldn't leave that sitting there with an n###er around." Umm....what (and I cannot stress this enough) in the actual fuck!? Matthew instantly tried to speak logic to his dad. Me? Well, I'm just sitting there dumbfounded. Normally I am very vocal, but this didn't feel like I should step in. My boyfriend was saying everything right, but to no avail...of course.
Matthew finally looked at me with a partially embarrassed, partially pissed, and partially saddened look on his face and says "you ready?" I just smiled and nodded yes. Matthew looked at his dad and said: "I'm upset with you and your way of thinking, but I love you, and I'll see you later." And we left. There wasn't much said on the ride home. Matthew knows I have two bi-racial sons (I hate that term...is there really another race here on earth beside human?) and I think that's where the extra hurt and embarrassment came in for him. Matthew still loves his dad, and oddly enough I still like him too. I just hate the way he is. I also realize as I sit here and type this, that his dad doesn't know my sons (who are 23 and 19) are biracial because they have never met, and like most parents when I talk about my kids, I don't have a reason to mention their skin color. I'm sure I will see Matthew's dad again soon, but I am not sure that I will stay quiet next time around.
Yes it is possible to have respect and love for a parent who you can recognise is still carrying the values they were raised with and not questioning them. My father that I loved and adored for all of his good traits was born and brought up in a vastly different world, he was sent to catholic schools and went to church, he did not agree with homosexuality, he was a racist. These are all products of the time he was raised in the fact that he did not question his upbringing and was supported in this by his wife (not my mother) who was also raised the same. She is much worse and her I ignore. I would point out that what he was saying was racist (mainly jokes) and not funny. But like Matthew I would tell him I loved him. It did not help that my father started to develop dementia and was then no longer able to think clearly about issues and with the nasty wife he had he spouted her hatred/ intolerance of people. I think you are in a tough place and will need to play it by ear as to how you respond to him and if or when he meets your children.
I definitely sensed his prejudice from the statement. My X wife’s Grandfather , I was told by her was racist, so I would never go in his house when we first dated . I would wait outside while she conducted her business. He finally asked me to come in , we had a 20 year friendship before he passed away. He grew up hearing things but had never really had any interaction with Black people before . Racist is a strong word that gets overused in my opinion, because a racist does not limit his beliefs to one race and a racist has no empathy or concern for others . Basically they could care less if those that were unlike them died off or not . If you and this dude are going to keep going out , introduce your kids to his Father and see how it goes down. You will learn a bunch about your boyfriend and his dad real quick . Nothing wrong with saying something about his comments but exposing him to your kids will let you see where things are for sure .
Don't have anything to do with him!! Stay away! It's important to take a stand on racism. When people cover up for a racist change cannot happen.
I couldn't love a racist. I have racist relatives as well as bigoted relatives. I cannot love them. I can be civil when required and avoid them as much as possible. One is an uncle I was very close to into my early twenties. Fortunately, we no longer live in the same state.
Nobody is responsible for anybody else's thinking. It is greatly to your boyfriend's credit that he has grown away from his upbringing, and you can argue with his dad (Bad idea!!!) Or together, privately, laugh/commiserate about him
"Can I love a racist?"
Conditionally. Racism is a construct of ignorance. It can fortify malice but it can be cured by education. This depends on the nature of the supposed racist. If the person is receptive to education and doesn't want to be hateful then that person is redeemable. But to hold to tradition or corrupted fellowship reinforces this ignorance and interferes with compassion. Therefore I would be inhibited to enjoy this person's company.
Hatred because of skin color is no different than hating someone because of their eye color or blood type. I decide whether or not to dislike someone based on that someone.
The weirdest things about some racism is the "I didn't mean those XYZ" that is often used to save face. I suspect that could be where you are headed.
My Dad was a lovely man raised with a lot of racism around him.
With a lot "Gees Dad's!" from his kids and explanations of why he shouldn't say certain things - and some logic - he did get better over the years. (He was willing to listen though).
So much better that we were the home the interracial couple first came to - to try out having dinner as a couple with a family before they went home to their own parents.
Same with some gay friends whose parents had rejected them.
We were the house with the understanding parents.
Not saying his Dad would be the same - but it might be worth pursuing. Some of it can just be the company kept throughout a lifetime.
Of course my Mum was never a racist. So there was that factor as well..
Best of luck to you. It had to be awkward as hell. I really wish hate for no reason were entirely behind us.
I always thought my former husband's racism was just him being a little tone deaf... until he made the statement "All Lives Matter" and I had to try to explain to him what was entirely screwed up about that. He never did get it, and I got upset and angry and then he got mad at me. That's when I was forced to admit that the racism he had been trying to pretend wasn't racism, actually was.
Wow. But I am not sure whether we can choose whom we love. Neither for Matthew nor for you. Good luck. Sounds like a lot of work.
You probably won't. You can only stay quiet for so long while someone else is freely speaking their mind about views and ideas you personally disagree with and are offensive to you. At some point, you're gonna feel the need to confront the shit he's spewing. Just try and do it without losing your temper if possible.
The only thing I love about a racist is being able to show them how stupid they are in so many incredible ways. Not that I don't have racist thoughts myself, as it seems everyone does to a degree. But if we as a people did want to not be United and have divisions in the population it makes way more sense to draw class lines rather than racial ones. As I obviously have more in common with those who share similar social economic background to mine and are of a different race than those who share my race and nothing else.
Family or really close friend, yes I have done that. Over time both changed I am happy to say. Romantic relationship, that would be a big NO! That is a tough one. Just do what you feel is right and it won't be wrong.
@BohoHeathen If it is obvious your children are mixed race(I don't know what other word to use). Maybe you should not say anything and see what he says if anything again after he meets them if that is in fact in Matthew's and your plan. Have you talked it over with Matthew and if so, how does he think you should handle it?
@BohoHeathen Of course, as you should. I guess I would like to see the look on his face if he didn't know, like in Blazing Saddles when the new sheriff showed up.
@Sticks48 I love that movie and that scene is priceless! " I'd like to welcome our new__", as the welcome banner quickly rolls back up and the men all draw their guns.....
There's a funny thing about families today and old school racists (not that I'm excusing ANY racism. "Old school" meaning old people, like over 70 or so.) Before I chose to become an orphan and my Mom recently dying, there were racists running amuck in her gene pool. I choose not to know them and now I don't have to (since my Mom's gone.) What was totally bizarre? There was a bi-racial niece who in turn had multi-racial kids, hence all sorts of colors added to the pool. Then one set of the Mormons adopted the League of Nations in terms of colors/ethnicities.
This did not stop the racism. Except in those particular people. It was so bizarre it was difficult not to make everyone full.stop! and explain how that works.
They didn't see color in the family. I'm guessing because of love (or straight up batshit crazy, whichever.)
My point is: I'll bet his Dad would like, one day even love your boys. It's funny (odd) how it works.
(I'm sure it's possible to love racists. Hate the message not the messenger kind of thing.)
@ToolGuy I didn't say ALL people are "old school" racists.
I get SO bloody sick and tired of people on this site needing everything to be detailed, explained in advance, clarified to be PC. I mean...really. Did it say ALL boomers are racist in that old school racist way? Of course not.
While I think it's fine that your boyfriend acknowledges and addresses his father's racism, don't fool yourself into thinking that if his father ever meets your sons that he is going to make any allowances for them because you're his son's partner. I think that if you're going to continue associating with him, you should be up front and tell him that you have bi-racial sons and that you don't appreciate his comments. Because I can assure you that if your sons were raised in a way that taught them to respect themselves, he will be a big problem then your partner or you will have to choose between a relationship with him or your sons' dignity. I would also caution you about you're partner. Racism is something that is taught in the home by people that supposedly love their children and ingrained into the foundation of personalities.
As far as can someone love a racist, I know I couldn't. I could "care" about what happens to them the same way I care about what happens to any other human being, but "love". I don't think so. I would have to justify having such a feeling towards someone who had such distasteful beliefs and I don't think I would be able to do so. But maybe that's because I'm black and his father's racism would be directed at me if I were around where without a target he apparently can
But just as I can see how someone believes in a god because before they developed critical thinking processes they were told by people they trusted that god's were real, I can see how caring about what happens to someone is the same as loving them, especially given familial ties and positive memories.
On a side note, I read some comments in which people claim that "an education" is some kind of cure to racism. That's a fallacy. Educated people can be just as racist as a person without a degree, it just manifests differently.
I suspect that "education" in the comments means regarding racism rather than an academic education.
I live in a small town in Texas and folks are mostly Baptist and mostly racist. Also, one can't get weed here. ... 3 strikes.
Both you and Matthew are strong enough to get through and past this. His father will never change. Accept that and just lead by example. My biracial daughter will be 31 this year. I raised her alone and was disowned by family because of it for about 4 years. I didn’t care and it paid off. Yes they came around but I never forced them and I also didn’t contact them. In the long run it all worked out and it will for the two of you also. Believe me when I say, “I’d rather know someone is a racist then a phony who lies about it.” To me that’s even worse. All the best to you Matthew and your 2 boys.
Wow happy you met someone but his dad is a bigot. Mathew apparently is fine with your sons. Hope you can educate the father. I hate bigots and would have said something right then and there.
This is going to be a continuous point of contention in your relationship. It is possible you can turn BF's dad around one day, but that's likely going to be a long road. So the question becomes - do you love his family enough to work on it? Can you handle racism head on like that, and not let it ruin you? Do you have the emotional durability to put up with a person like this?
It'll be a tough road. I was married to an Asian lady a few years ago and dealt with racism....only one tenth the racism you'll be dealing with, mind you, but even that small amount was difficult. For you it's two choices - persevere, or eject. Neither are easy. I wish you the best of luck on it.
@MissKathleen Maybe not today, but it's liable to end up that way - especially once his dad finds out the kids are mixed. She seems legit worried about that. She wouldn't have brought this to our attention unless it was bothering her.
@BohoHeathen So on the one hand "sharing simply because they have something to share," and on the other hand, "seeking validation."
Even though the two ideas are somewhat contradictory, I'll sidestep that for a moment and just ask the question:
So what will happen once he does meet your kids? You may not have "stressed it," but the undertones are there.
@MissKathleen I agree, your Boyfriend sounds intelligent and classy! Nobody is responsible for their relatives, ever!!!!!!
I was visiting a friend of mine at the home she shared with her boyfriend. The holidays were in full swing, so there were several of the boyfriend's relations visiting as well. One many felt a need to make several racists comments. I never said a word to him, but after each comment, he looked at me and apologized. My friend did not stay in that relationship much longer.
these things can be complex. i would never excuse bigotry, but we all have to draw our own lines on how much we’re willing to take. if you decide you’re too uncomfortable to be around him, your partner should respect that. it can be difficult loving someone like this, but the parent-child relationship is a very strong bond. my own father is very homophobic and transphobic, and i still love him even though i’m trans and gay myself. it’s rocky and hard, but my love for him doesn’t just go away.
This is a hard call. I was married to a black man from Kingston, Jamaica in 1972, you can imagine the back lash. What would I do in your shoes? I’d be asking myself some pointed questions. Do I want to live with this dad in my life for the foreseeable future? I doubt dad will change, but he might tone it down if you leave when he starts his rants. I found with this type of racist they will find your sons likeable and of course they are o.k., but it’s those other ones.
Ok, well if it were me, I wouldn't want to be around him. If he noticed that and had a problem with it, I'd tell him you just can't be in his company as racism is a deal breaker for you and won't be tolerated by you for any reason. If your boyfriend cares for you, he will back you up!! Good luck!