Post # 1
Side note: I’m 4 months away from marrying an amazing Hispanic man. His parents were born and raised in Mexico then moved to Texas when his mother got pregnant to have him in the states. My family hadn’t made one issue about him being a different ethnicity until recently.
Ok, so the story: My grandma likes to forward me chain e-mails. Mainly the paranoid ones about how the government is in your backyard waiting to ruin your life kind. I usually just delete the 20 of them a day and move on. Well, one day I decided to read one. It was about the “decline of Detroit” and included some pictures of parts of the city in despair. Throughout the e-mail it blamed Mexicans and Muslims for ruining the country and at the bottom added “IF YOU THINK MEXICANS AND MUSLIMS WILL EVER BELONG HERE, THEN YOU ARE AS MUCH OF A PROBLEM AS THEY ARE!!!”
I just thought, holy crap! Does she believe this garbage? I showed my Fiance and he was livid. He’s faced prejudices many times in his life and now my grandma is a part of it? I instantly sent her an e-mail saying that Fiance and I found that message horribly offensive and would she please take me off of her forward list.
Well, I didn’t hear anything from her for about a week (she had apparently been stewing). Fast forward to yesterday and I finally got an e-mail back from her. Subject: Done!. She outlined how since I want her to stop sending me e-mails I obviously want her to stop communicating with me altogether and that she’d gladly do so. And how the views reflected in that message were lined up with her personal beliefs and she has no qualms about it.
Really?? So, not only is she admitting that she’s racist, but she’s also trying to cut herself out of my life? I sent her back a very calm response stating that’s not at all what I meant but that it did make me sad she feels that way. I’m marrying a minority and I’d appreciate more compassion in regards to ethnic discrimination. I loved her and would respect whatever she wanted to do.
So ball’s in her court at this point. I really wouldn’t be torn up if she wanted to keep herself away. She’s really difficult to put up with at times. She even asked Fiance the first time she met him if he has a green card. A GREEN CARD. He’s from Texas…And whenever I bring up the wedding she constantly makes disparaging remarks like, “I don’t know why you have to have such an elaborate event. It’s a waste of money. I went to the courthouse when I got married.” (we’re having a destination wedding of maybe 20 people..) And: “It’s so rude and inconsiderate to ask your guests to spend money to travel for your wedding. You just need to get married in the backyard.”
Ughhhh. Why are old people so darn fickle??
Post # 3
I don’t know if I would have shown my SO that email. Unfortunately at her age, things are unlikely to change. She’s either just from “a different time” when such things were more accepted and held onto it, or she could be in the early stages of dementia. I know that my Uncle started doing crap like this when dementia started, it was really out of the blue and random and it was explained to us that it was just part of the illness.
I would say just don’t email anymore, since she clearly has no filter.
Post # 4
Oh Lord, sounds just like my granny (who ironically is coming to visit today.)
Post # 5
Agreed. I’ll definitely be stopping the e-mails. I think I showed him the e-mail because it shocked me so much. It was a knee-jerk reaction like, “Really?”. Never thought about dementia. She’s about 65 and one of my great aunts is 67 and already has signs, so maybe. It’s just really sad that she actually thinks FI’s “people” are the decline of America.
Post # 6
An article I thought off when I read this :
Everyone! Stop Giving Old People a Pass Just for Being Old!
“Enough with that excuse. You didn’t say that racist thing because you’re old—you said it because you’re racist. And when you point out, as Guerlain did, “I am from another generation…[working like a nigger was] a common expression at the time,” you are giving all the lovely old people who bothered to fucking think and evolve with the rest of society a bad name. I mean, did you JUST time travel here? Or are you Encino Man? Because then, sure, you can have a grace period to catch up. Otherwise, you’re just an unrepentant old racist.”
I agree. It’s not an excuse and I don’t agree with just ignoring it and letting it happen because people are old. There are plenty of old people who are not racist and plenty of young people who are.
If she has dementia that is different… but she seems to be with her reason, just a hateful person. She is going out of her way to propagate hate, no matter how old you are, its not okay. It would not have been okay when she was young either.
I think its great that you stood up to her. If continuing to be ignorant in this way is more important to her than your relationship, as sad as it is, I would not want her in my life.
Post # 7
This reminds me of the old person I knew who called all Hispanic people Mexicans and assumed that they were undocumented. Even people from Ecuador who WERE here illegally, she always called them “those people from Mexico” no matter how many times it was explained they were from a different country. Apparently tan skin = Mexican, and Spanish-speaking = Mexican. Oh Lord.
Does she know the story of your FI’s birth, I know some people who are just very offended by the “anchor baby” concept so if she knows that, it could be fueling her rage.
Then again she also has problems with Muslims so I would guess it’s just Irrational Old Lady syndrome, not for any particular reason.
Post # 8
lol I’m not saying “It’s ok, she’s old” I’m just saying, are old people going to suddenly change and realize that 60+ years of behavior was wrong? Probably not. No point in wasting effort trying to talk it out or get her to see why it was offensive, unless of course she were to say “I thought about my views and I realized I was out of line and I am sincerely sorry. I hope we can repair our relationship.”
My husband’s grandmother used to use the ‘N’ word constantly. He’d be like “Grandma, you can’t say that word, stop saying that.” She wasn’t even doing it to be racist I don’t think, she was old and seriously deteriorating mentally, it was what she heard growing up, and at 91 years old she wasn’t going to stop saying it. It frustrated the hell out of him, but all he could do was express disapproval and try to veer the conversation elsewhere.
Post # 9
I would call her after both of you cool off— so many things can get “lost” in text that a phone conversation could overcome.
On the subject matter of the email: I doubt you are going to change her mind or her you at this point. I would just click delete, and not show any more of them to my SO.
Post # 10
@KatyElle: I wasn’t disagreeing with you at all. I don’t think talking to her would necessarily change anything, I agree that she probably will not change. I just don’t think the behaviour should be ignored because that is in a way condoning it. Thats why I said I thought it was great that the OP confronted her and told her that it was not okay, because many people just pretend it’s not happening and just act like old people racism is cute or quaint or something. So I also agree with your advice to just stop emailing her, and if that means shes out of the OPs life, thats ultimately her choice.
Edit to add: I think its a bit different when somebody just uses a word as a habit that used to mean a different thing and does not use it in a hateful way. For example, my S/Os grandma had a black dog who she affectionately called “nigger”… but she was not actualy racist. It was a bit awkward but they just let it go
But if she is directly being disrespectful to OP’s Fi , or spreading hate , thats different.
Post # 11
@KatyElle: I agree with you, wholeheartedly. This woman is from a different day and age where the stuff she spouts was actually acceptable, once upon a time. She is not going to have a revealing moment if the OP sits her down and tries to have a heart to heart. OP’s grandma was raised to believe these things and has spent her entire life doing such. That’s not going to change. Is it okay? No. But, it’s not going to change.
Post # 12
Honestly, it’s ok to respond with “Grandma I do not share your sentiments so I would appreciate if you would stop forwarding me e-mails like this.”
If she doesn’t stop let her know you will be blocking her e-mail. You do not have to put up with other people being racist-family or not.
Post # 13
She is from a completly different generation… not that it makes it ok you just have to understand her views are different because she is from a very differnt time, a lot of the older generation tends to apper this way, I think we all know somebody like this. I dont think you should have shown your Fiance, I would not show him any in the future.
Try to keep the peace and realize that it was much different when she was your age and she will never understand.
@KatyElle: I agree
Post # 15
@teabiscuit: I just didn’t want to give the impression that I think old people get a pass to be racist because of their age. I don’t think that.
Post # 16
“She outlined how since I want her to stop sending me e-mails I obviously want her to stop communicating with me altogether and that she’d gladly do so.”
And she’s a drama queen too.
Problem with family sometimes is that you can’t cut them out of your life every time because that leads to bad blood, regrets, things like that. On the other hand, you can’t have people around you that are poison. But you can choose to minimize contact with her. You can choose to ignore her lunacy. You can choose not to get sucked in or engage in those battles.