*SPINOFF* How do you maintain relationships with racist friends/family members?

posted 12 months ago in The Lounge
  • poll: Have you ever ended a relationship because the other person held racist sentiments?
    Yes : (47 votes)
    72 %
    No : (18 votes)
    28 %
  • Post # 2
    Member
    1677 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: April 2018

    happiekrappie :  There are so many shades of grey, it really is a case by case basis I think.

    My Nana is 92 years old.  She was a housewife her whole life, the family was working class, she has never been outside the country.  The suburb she lived in and spent most of her time in was very white though has now become more multi-cultural.  She is frail and legally blind.  She isn’t diagnosed with dimentia but she gets confused easily and often repeats herself over and over.

    A couple of her 6 children married and had children outside our race (white Australians).  She never treated them differently or rudely and treated all her grandchildren more or less the same. 

    But she has a lot of racist ideas.  She’s frightened by a lot of media propoganda about African gangs and Muslim terrorists.  She will occasionally complain about people speaking different languages, she doesn’t like taking taxis anymore because she doesn’t trust strangers with accents etc. 

    I think she’s very wrong.  But I also think she’s a product of a different generation, a different thought process, a different time.  Her brain isnt sharp enough anymore to comprehend an intellectual debate enough to potentially change her mind.  

    She also isn’t racist to individuals.  She has a lovely woman who lives next to her who is an African refugee, and she often speaks of the lovely African woman and her lovely African children who give her company sometimes and food.  She does use the word negro sometimes (I’m not even sure if that’s a bad word or just outdated?) 

    I’d call her an ignorant racist.  She is scared of the unknown rather than agressive about it. 

    So I don’t cut her out, I don’t argue with her and if she says something racist, I will just change the subject.  

    My mum on the otherhand is a bitchy racist.  She uses racial slurs and makes horrible statements.  I would never allow her to say something like that in my presence, unchallenged.  She is now cut out for other reasons, but I would have also cut her out for this.  

    Post # 3
    Member
    74 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: July 2020

    It’s also a case by case basis for me as well. My 91 year old great grandma makes racist comments towards groups, mainly Asians, but doesn’t seem to understand that it isn’t acceptable language nowadays. I don’t see her often so it’s never really affected me and I wouldn’t cut her off for it, but wouldn’t hesitate to tell her off for using slurs. However, I have stopped being friends with people for being anti-semetic towards my partner and I. Usually by just letting the friendship drift away and not making an effort to keep contact. I don’t have time for ignorant people and it isn’t my job to educate them that a certain group of people deserve the basics of human decency. 

    Post # 4
    Member
    1128 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2019

    happiekrappie :  In instances where I can’t really cut people off entirely, I keep them very much at arms length. Delete them from facebook but remain civil at family functions. 

    Post # 5
    Member
    3533 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: January 2021

    happiekrappie :  I don’t. But I’ve been fortunate enough not to have family or friends who have turned out to be racists dinguses. My family can be a bit insensitive or unintentionally offensive sometimes but they don’t mean any harm and they feel embarassed if it’s pointed out rather than being defensive about it. 

    Post # 6
    Member
    57 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: February 2011

    I’ve cutoff relationships due to racism before. I no longer will associate with my sister-in-law’s family due to nasty comments they have made since the last presidential election. They kept their views hidden for years until 2016. I also had children this year and this really made me reflect on the type of people I want them to be and everyone I allow contact with my children will influence them to some degree.

    I lost two “friends” at the time my relationship with my husband became serious. Both of them had a problem with me dating outside my race. I was completely shocked since one friend was a product of an interracial marriage while the other one had stepped outside her marriage.  I never judged the latter until I was pressed on my views. I was just flabbergasted by their actions and words. I knew my relationship was one that would last and even if it didn’t, I could never see either of them as the same again.

    Post # 7
    Member
    340 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    Ugh. I try to limit my exposure to racist family members. I don’t tolerate it at all in in my friendships. I’ve also made it clear to my husband that my limited patience ends when we have kids. I wouldn’t be able to sit quietly while my children were exposed to harmful ideologies, and I never want to give the impression that staying silent is okay when another individual is being is being treated badly. I have little capacity to effect change in the world, but I can make sure that I produce thoughtful caring human beings. 

    Post # 8
    Member
    777 posts
    Busy bee

     

    In our case, the racism is subtle. Not an all out attack. So it’s hard to compartmentalize it as racism. It can also be considered ‘rude’, but racism has those particular undertones that go beyond rude. (It happens to be my brother’s in-laws.) 

    What he’s done is moved 1000 miles away. Lol! 

    And, that is what I would do/recommend if I was related to someone. I’d just not talk to them much and tolerate them during the holidays.

    Post # 9
    Member
    4206 posts
    Honey bee

    I have a very left leaning family, so no problems there. My ILs on the other hand are products of thei environment and as such they can occasionally say something that I don’t like. It’s only happened once, and my reaction was to tell them they were being offensive. My kids went shopping with them when they were teenagers and my Father-In-Law kept saying a pair of pants made him “look like a fairy” in a loud voice. The kids then gave him a lecture about why that’s offensive.

    I couldn’t be around someone who consistently used foul words to describe people of differing color or orientation. But most racism is not overt, which makes it more difficult to call someone out in it.

    Post # 10
    Member
    2005 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2017

    sunburn :  bee no probs cause they is left? 😦 rasists in all groups!

    Post # 11
    Member
    738 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: February 2018 - UK

    My stepbrother’s fiancé is racist and I hate it. He had a mixed race niece, and the fiancé told me that she wished the girl (maybe five years old at the time) wouldn’t run up to her and call her Auntie, because she didn’t want anyone to think she had a black niece. My mum and I immediately called her out on it and I told her it was the most awful things I’d ever heard, and she just laughed! She’s also made comments about not being able to find someone attractive if they’re black, and complained about too many foreign people visiting the shop she worked in. She lives in a tourist town, without the foreign visitors, she wouldn’t have a job…

    The whole thing sickens me and I’ve told her as much. In a perfect world, I’d completely cut her out, I’ve stopped speaking to a couple of “friends” for the same reasons. Unfortunately, she comes as a package deal with my stepbrother, cutting her out would mean cutting him out too, and that would really upset my stepdad, who is the only dad I’ve ever known, because he wouldn’t be able to have both his kids together on special occasions. As it stands, they live fairly far away so I only have to deal with her a couple of times a year.

    Post # 12
    Member
    9041 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    I don’t continue relationships with racists, same as I don’t with bigots/homophobes/etc. Luckily my husband feels the same way which is why he cut out all but one of his aunts on his mother’s side. They are racist and use the ridiculous excuse of “but in my time/generation”. Sorry but that excuse is just that an excuse. There are plenty of people who grew up in the same era that somehow do not hold racist views despite being exposed to the same society. It is a choice to hold onto racist views.

     

    Post # 13
    Member
    205 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: March 2019

    Luckily I don’t have any racist family members, so I haven’t had to deal with cutting ties. But you can be certain if racism ever comes to light I will 100% cut that person out of my life, no qualms. My FH and my future in-laws are black, so I would take any racist comments as an attack on my loved ones. In that same line of thinking, my future children will be mixed and I will not let them be surrounded by racist attitudes, even if it was from a family member. 

    I also can’t stand the arguments for why it’s okay to be racist. Age is not an excuse to be a bigot, and it makes me so mad when people imply they aren’t racist becasue they have friends/acquantances of color. You can absolutely still be racist and have friends of color. I find peoples’ attitudes towards GROUPS the most telling and where the racist views come out. 

    I will always call out racism when I hear it. Sadly, I’ve had to before, and I’m sure I’ll have to again. 

    “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” -Desmond Tutu

     

    Post # 14
    Member
    4206 posts
    Honey bee

    There’s “rasists in all groups”? I had no idea. Thank you for that illuminating insight.

    As I said, my family is not racist. Or to put in terms you might understand, they is not rasists.

    Post # 15
    Member
    1373 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2014

    The only racist person that I know of in my family is my dad’s dad. You can definitely tell by what he posts on fb. I don’t really have much contact with him anyway so I’ve never had to cut him off. He basically cut all of his grandkids off when we were children. He has tried to reconnect with us over fb but the damage has been done. I’m civil to him for my dad’s sake.

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