Sasha Answers: my boyfriend’s ignorant dad
Since this website has been handling the issue of racism so well, I'd like your take on a sh-tstorm I've stirred up. At a dinner at my partner's family house, his dad drops the n-word. Twice. My boyfriend was not in the room at the time, but the other adults were. No one said a thing. His mom, brother, and sister in law - silence. I'm really ashamed to say that I didn't know what to say or do. I left the room and spent the rest of the time we were there curled up watching cartoons with the 5 year old niece. On the way home I addressed it to my partner, who was of the opinion that I should be happy his dad wasn't making a personal attack on me. The more I thought about it, the more upset I got, mostly with myself for being so horrible to let him get away with it. After a sleepless night, I called him on the phone to tell him what I should have right away, that the word he used was offensive and disgusting to me, and that I wanted an apology for myself and everyone else at the table, and his response was basically "I was talking to my 2 year old
grandson, I wasn't talking to you, so get over it".
I don't feel guilty that I finally called his dad on his sh-t, but my heart is hurting for how sad I've made my man in the process. We're planning on getting married at some point in the near future, but I'm worried that if this doesn't get handled well we might not make it that far, or that it won't be as happy an occasion as I would like it to be. S.
The ugly truth is that there are just a lot of stupid, uneducated, insensitive, ignorant twats in this world. Sadly there’s no escaping them, and unfortunately you have the displeasure of knowing one.
I’ll be honest, when I hear about people and situations I tend to jump into a state of pure blind rage. But B, don’t take my cue because this isn’t how you should deal with the situation. You can’t go at hate with hate – there’s nothing noble in that. When you work from a place of anger you lose your reasoning abilities, and in order for you to make it through this you’re going to need some understanding and sympathy. Sympathy for his limited vision on life and understanding of his generation and upbringing.
I guess what I’m saying here is that once you fully understand his limitations then hopefully you can open a doorway to dialogue again so that maybe, just maybe, you can alter his point of view. That’s your best case scenario.
If that doesn’t pan out, you’ll have to go with Plan B which means all social beliefs are off limits at future family gatherings. And S, this is where your boyfriend comes in. I know it sucks that he’s stuck in the middle, but what’s done is done and he now needs to have your back. He has to man up and tell his dad that he is not to say anything about race in your presence again. Full Stop. Listen, if he’s the one you’re hoping to be with for the rest of your life, then you better make sure that he not only has the same belief system as you but he’s willing to stand up for them.
S, I can’t lie, this situation sucks, but I do give you major props for standing your ground; now we just need to see if your man will stand with you. Keep me posted! Xx