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.
Changing hate and opinion are long view things. They never happen in one generation's life time. The 'n' word used (prior to 1970's) to be the common word in describing Blacks -- sometimes the 'n' word, sometimes Negro. It was a slow changeover to Black and is still changing as Blacks use the 'n' word to describe themselves. Your boyfriend's dad may never be able to change -- but his son did -- and your 2 children will. Will your children see an end to this? I don't really know -- I hope so.
I’ve found it eventually sours the relationship. I had a great neighbour who I used to have beers with and he used to lend me his truck to get my shopping with.
It wasn’t until I moved away and became friends on Facebook that I realised how different we were in regard to politics and racism. He was sharing stuff that I would never have seen if it wasn’t for him.
At first it was an education and I tried to provide information with facts in for him, and then I tried the see less like this button. Eventually I Unfriended him, which in someways is a shame. He’s a retired man, but my Grandma had a crush on Mr T from the A Team when we were kids, so I can’t say it’s an age thing!
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.
Years ago I had an encounter with in-laws whom I loved as they were very good people in a lot of ways; but they were racist.
This was back when Clyde Drexler played for the Portland Trailblazers (I live in Oregon). A bunch of family were together for some reason and the subject of the Trailblazers came up. I mentioned that I thought Clyde Drexler was very good looking. Well, all hell broke loose.
My brother-in-law spoke first, saying in a loud voice; "he's a goddamned N#####." I could barely believe my ears. And then it got worse-- everyone else attacked me when I said something like "so what?" And then proceeded to say that I couldn't care less about the color of one's skin. And, I then had the nerve to say that I would not have any problem at all with either of my daughters marrying a black man. I just want them to be with a good person and to be happy.
Well, these good Christians started telling me how the races should not mix and that only white women with low self-esteem get involved with black men...blah, blah, blah...
This was very difficult for me because, as I said, they were very generous and kind people in so many other ways; and, yes, I did love them. I simply hated that aspect of them.
This said: I could never be in a relationship with a racist.
I'd be polite, and as loving as possible - but I would have had to say something. Not sure quite what - but something. My Grandmother is Black - so I have a few wise-guy lines just for such occasions - and there certainly have been some !
Next, I would launch an education/exposure campaign , and see if he's at all flexible in his thinking. After a reasonable time, if he is not, I'd avoid him - and let him know why. I understand your Boyfriend loving a parent in spite of this - but he's not your Dad. Good luck with this !
People like this, have a very parochial view of the world around them . . . he seems to feel that he is not part of a larger world . . . that embraces diversity . . . . . In my mind, I could picture a scenario where you build up a sort of mutual respectful friendship with him, without him knowing your endgame, and then, once he is in to the point of it becoming difficult for him to count himself out, bring your sons over with you for a visit . . . . the real and true telling moment would arrive then and show what he is really made of, because it would become much more difficult for him to manifest another outburst understanding that there are actual implications and possible consequences as a result of his behavior. But that said,
dealing with racists is fraught with hazards, and for the most part, I shun them, including the racists I have in my own family . . . . . let's just say, I am prejudiced against them . . . . let them experience some of that as applied to themselves for once.
It is not always easy to tell where racism is coming from. Sometimes it is fear of the unknown, sometimes it could be even jealousy, even self-loathing. Sometimes they do not understand the significance of their actions, sometimes they do, and do so deliberately.
Just a few days ago, I was thinking about how much the world has changed since I was growing up in the 1970's, and one of the real bright spots is the change in favor of diversity, although one has to admit that it is not as widespread as it should be . . . . there are not only pockets of resistance to that change, but outright rabid racism flourishing within our government, they have no problem with invading, droning, or bombing nations of people who just so happen to not have white colored skin . . . . In fact, there are a lot of politicians who will condemn racism here in the USA, but are all-to-eager to commit genocide on people from other countries who do not fit into their idea of what it means to be human. Unfortunately too, to many citizens in America fail to take note of it, or, worse yet, openly support it.
My father is racist as well, although not overtly so and not blatant about it. Years ago we used to argue about it and he would say that it was just "cultural" and that "black culture" was just not intelligent and was why (brace yourself) they were "so lazy".
Although we often lived in neighborhoods where being caucasian was the minority, he never really associated with anyone else except his caucasian work friends. I really think he would have grown out of it had he gotten to know any of our neighbors back then. I think that's part of what insulated me against such beliefs - my friends were just as likely to be non caucasian as otherwise. And when I was in starting highschool we moved to a "better neighborhood" in a small adjacent town. It was almost entirely caucasian. And he really got into Rush Limbaugh about that time. Now he volunteers for the local Republican party and thinks any news other than Fox is "fake news". And he's more racist than ever. Of course he's my Dad and I still love him. He was actually a very good father otherwise.
I don't talk politics with him anymore. But he sees how I live and the friends I have. At my son's bday our neighbors who are Muslim came. My son and theirs are best friends. His mother was wearing a hijab. My Dad also came. He talked a lot to my son's best friend's father, who is Muslim. I wonder if my Dad made any connections or thought about it. I have heard him villify Muslims before. I can only hope he did and that simply being around me might mean that he expierences things he would not otherwise and that maybe it might open his eyes. Maybe.
Good luck. Just keep in mind that, while he probably won't change, being antagonist will only guarantee that he won't. And if he is a good father to your boyfriend otherwise then he does have some good in him and that bringing that out would be much more of a victory than putting him down. I hate to be cliched and I fully realize that the idea is a gross oversimplification and maybe even dangerous at times, but I do believe in conquering Hate with Love. I always remember that scene in Schindler's List where he tells Amon about "true power". Forgiveness. "This worthless man . . ."
You might be better off making this a binary "yes i will talk to him and just ignore his issues"/ or "no i can't be around thst man, ever" decision. Its hard on your relationships with your bf, but this will drag on forever, and resuratace again and again, if you try to be nuanced, or try to see things from a progressive light, or whatever. Youre doi ng both of you a favor if you make a firm decision here. If it kills your relationship, then its best to get it over with, since this won't get better.
Tell him the human race began in Africa and we are all made up of different races. Give him a free DNA check for his birthday and let him discover his own varied background.
As for the 'bi-racial' term......I recall my son at age 10 or 12 saying to me "so if I married a black woman and we had a child, why would the child who is half and half be called 'black?" I had no answer for this ludicrous situation.
Much is said about Meghan Markel who married into the Brit royals being 'bi-racial'. Frankly I am much more put out that she is not even in the Commonwealth!
To me it is kind of strange how the RACISM/Racist Card is 'played' by those who are supposed to be the subjects of Racism BUT stoop to us it for their own benefit at every possible opportunity.
For example, Out here in Western New South Wales, Australia, we have quite an Aboriginal population, some are truly decent, caring and kind people, whilst others are even MORE racist than they claim we, Non-indigenous people are.
Almost a fortnight ago now, I was sitting on a PUBLIC seat in a PUBLIC place waiting for a bus to take me home when a lady, aged about her mid-seventies, sat on the seat next to the one I was seated on.
Along came an Aboriginal, stood in front of her and shouted very loudly at her, " Get the FUCK out of my seat you white racist Whore or I'll fucking drag you off it and punch your white racist face in."
He then proceeded to reach out and grab her by the arm intent upon dragging off the PUBLIC seat.
I was about halfway up from my seat, ready to step in when 2 Police Officers beat me to it and brought his grabbing to a halt swiftly, he, the Aboriginal, turned on them and began screaming, " You fucking white racist Pigs, get your fucking hands of me, I'm a Black Fella, you can't fucking touch me or I'll have up on charges of being racists."
All the Police could do at that point was to 'suggest' that the lady and myself get up and walk another City Block to the next Bus Stop, which we did and as we were walking the Police merely HAD to let the Offender go BECAUSE he WAS Black.
Now, is RACISM NOT a TWO edge sword or what?