Would you help a racist family member?

posted 2 months ago in Parenting
Post # 16
2651 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

If it’s your OWN child, I would worry that cutting him off financially might further cement these views.  College can be such an eye-opening environment, whereas working a dead-end job and continuing to associate with a bunch of neo-Nazis would probalby not be.  I could see paying tuition, requiring he works a part-time job to help with room and board, and not allowing ANY racist commentary around you. 

Also, WTF to the PP comment about this board “leaning a particular way”. The way that doesn’t like shitty racists?  Like all people should be?

Post # 17
5452 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2017

He needs professional counseling. Sounds like his behaviour can be coming from a place of frustration and anger. I don’t know what you expect taking partial or full support away from him will accomplish other than making things worse for him and being the easy way out for you.

Post # 19
1115 posts
Bumble bee

View original reply
mg8301 :  If he is your child, some of this is your fault. There is also a concern that not providing financial help would put him in a worse position than if you simply were not able to, and inhibit his ability to receive financial aid. You might want to consider making support contingent on volunteering for the underprivileged or incentivizing him to enroll in a more diverse college. 

If he is not your child you have no obligation.

Post # 22
636 posts
Busy bee

I’m afraid I don’t have advice, but this situation sounds a great deal like Stephen Miller’s history. 

it is a growing source of concern – young white men in this country being radicalized by racist, misogynistic, and otherwise hateful groups when rhey are in the highly imprintable early teens. 

I’m sorry you are dealing with this. 

Post # 23
6787 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

View original reply
mg8301 : have you read this article? https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/do-you-have-white-teenage-sons-listen-up-how-white-supremacists-are-recruiting-boys-online/2019/09/17/f081e806-d3d5-11e9-9343-40db57cf6abd_story.html

I’m not white, so I’m giving my response based on if I found out my son was behaving this way toward women or gay people.

I’ve already let my son know (he’s 10) that I love him no matter what, but there are definitely things he could do that would cause me to remove him from my home and, if necessary, my life. This is a challenging thing to discuss, but I think it’s something we need to be clear about. I have told my son that, in the case of a severe drug addiction, he could not continue to live in our home (we’ve had family whose lives have been destroyed by the addictions of loved ones). I believe that if I was seeing signs that my son was addicted to hate (which is what you are describing) – there would definitely come a time where I had to cut him loose- especially if his behavior was harmful to others in our family. There comes a time when I think those who refuse to sever ties with harmful people become complicit in the harm they do to others.

I would definitely not financially support my son (or his success) if I knew he was being a bigot and behaving harmfully out and about in the world toward targeted groups. In fact, I would be horrified to have people think he learned that ignorance in my home or that I, in any way, condoned or supported it.

When my parents caught my teenage brother being an asshole on the internet, he lost privilege of access. I’m curious how this young man is able to have continued access to see these things that support his thinking.

That said- I also don’t believe 17 is an age where it’s impossible to come back from emerging baby asshole bigot behaviors. I had some ridiculous notions at 17. Sometimes, having life hand you your ass helps clarify things.

Post # 24
91 posts
Worker bee

Agree with pp that people aren’t racist for no reason. It’s odd to think a personal could be surrounded by such open minded, loving, and accepting people and yet turn out to be closed minded and hateful about the color of others skin. I personally wouldn’t want to help someone like that. Even if they were my own child. But that’s because one of the biggest values I have and have tried to teach is that we shouldn’t judge others based on their race/ethnicity. 

Post # 25
116 posts
Blushing bee

First off I want to say I am sorry you are going through this, I can’t imagine how difficult it is as a parent to see your child grow up to a hateful person

There are many people who are ignorant racist whether its because they grew up around it or someone they look up to has a certain view and it taints their own, and some people grow up into bad adults due to life circumstances and childhood trauma and pick on a certain race or gender as a means of taking out their anger but some people are truly hateful and in their mind they are 100% sure that the world would be a better place without one race or another in it.. and I don’t know how you can possibly fix this

It seems like you have spent years and tons of money on counsellng and effort trying to change his views however its gotten worse with age to the point that hes gained so much confidence in his views that he is now putting people down and belitting them at his place of work.. which means he doesn’t even care about potentials of losing his job because that’s how sure he is of his opinions.. and that is what is scary, he literally thinks that a mans life or a white persons life is worth more than of a woman or coloured person

College sure is diverse and mind opening but it also doesnt have to be.. he can find and befriend like minded people just as easily as he can be open minded and realistically what he will do.

Perhaps by cutting him off he will be scared into at least containing his views to himself and learning to not treat people worse? But the fact that he already has enough balls to disrespect people at work (doesnt matter if their older or more experienced all employees need to be treated with respect in a place of business) when hes a teenager and hasnt even achieved anything on this planet yet is terrifying what he will be capable off when hes older and manages people and is in charge of peoples careers and bonus decisions and things that litterally impacts peoples day to day lives…


Post # 26
2612 posts
Sugar bee

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skunktastic :  “Racism is bad. There’s no denying it. But that doesn’t mean someone should just throw their son into the street for it. It doesn’t mean he can’t function in society.

I mean, this is arguably a big problem. Not only can racists function in society, they are thriving. But I do agree that the answer probably isn’t to throw him out. 

OP, this is a really tricky issue, and I don’t know what I’d do in your shoes. But I do wonder where his anger and hatefulness is coming from, and whether cutting him off would only further radicalize him? Where would he go if you weren’t supporting him? Would he turn toward more hate and violence? Would you become the enemy, or would your cutting him off lead him to feel victimized and lash out at others? 

I know you say he’s been in “counseling”, but does he have a diagnosed mental health issue? Has he seen a psychotherapist with a relevant specialty, a psychiatrist (MD), or tried meds? I raise this concern because counseling is a vague term and counselors are not typically the same as therapists or psychiatrists. This issue doesn’t seem like something that can be worked through without a therapist/psychiatrist, possibly a combo.

I’m struggling to understand if this person is truly unhinged mentally, if he had some childhood trauma you haven’t mentioned (and maybe aren’t aware of), or what other motives he may have. He may have been radicalized online, but in order to be susceptible to that he was already an angry, deeply hurt person. Hateful people often have a lot of self loathing, and they push others away, as he seems to be doing with you – creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and a further sense of anger and abandonment. Tread carefully and ideally consult with his therapist or before you make any decisions. I think you’ll need to understand the root of the problem before you know how to address it. But I would urge you to make sure that he does not have access to weapons, and to please alert the authorities if you believe he could be a danger to others. 

ETA: All that said, you are never obligated to pay for your kid’s college or support them once they are an adult if you don’t want to. I think there are two questions here — how you navigate a relationship with a child who is hateful, and whether or not you want to support him financially. And as PPs have raised, there is plenty of middle ground on that too, like allowing him to live at home to save costs on room & board but not paying his tuition, or paying on the condition that he stay in therapy and work part time to pay for books/fees, etc. You could also always choose to revoke support at a later date. 

Post # 28
670 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

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KittyYogi :  That Bee has been vocal about this board being left leaning and not be able to live in an area with many liberal-minded people, so she’s clearly talking about that. 

Post # 29
190 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2020

No. He is about to be an adult and there’s no good reason for you to bankroll a racist. If you didn’t raise him this way and you don’t support his actions, why fund his life? He can pay his way through community college and pay his rent with a dang job. Then he can have a true shot at learning the error of his ways.

Post # 30
794 posts
Busy bee

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mg8301 :  I apologize if you already answered this. Is he a misogynist as well? Deep seated hate of others – particularly those perceived to be “weaker”-  is often just a projection of self hate. Very sad. Sorry you are going through this. 

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