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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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Unhappy Multiracial boyfriend, racist family. Help? - June 11th 2009, 03:16 AM

Self-explanatory, but let me back up a bit first.

Both of my parents are Cuban, all of my relatives really. They all live in Florida, where I am currently visiting and will be visiting for the next month. This is also where my boyfriend of seven months, Danny, lives. He basically sums himself up as being Cuban, which he is, but he is also one-eighth black and one-eighth Chinese.

My mom's mom is a self-proclaimed racist. If you're not white or completley Cuban (not hispanic, you have to be Cuban. She hates any kind of hispanic aside from what she is herself) than she makes judgements, stereotypes... It's pretty obvious. She says awful things right in front of the kids.

And my mom just laughs. Unlike my grandmother, she doesn't flaunt it, and even denies it, but the things she says when she's around my relatives prove she's the same way as her mother. I don't want to repeat anything, partly for fear of offending someone, and partly because it makes me too angry to even think about.

So my boyfriend is part black, so it would be obvious that I'm offended by this. But don't think that it's just because of him. It's always bothered me. I remember one time when I was about six, whenever my mom would describe someone who was black, that would always be the first thing she said. And one day when I was little, I got angry at her for it and made a big deal about it in front of her friends, demanding to know why she always pointed that out first, why did it matter, etc. She was pretty embarassed, but she still does that.

My dad isn't as bad, I don't think. He still says some things that make me angry, but not as often.

My parents are going back home (we live in Kentucky, out of state) in about two days, I believe. They don't know for sure that I'm dating him, and they've only seen him a few times, but they've pretty much suspected that for a while. So, before they leave, they've been trying to meet up with him. Maybe invite him over for dinner, or go somewhere with him. Something like that.

But I haven't told Danny how my parents are yet. Or rather, how all of my family is. And whether before or after he meets my family, I need him to know. I haven't exactly been hiding it from him. It's just that he's very sensitive... I don't want him to feel that he doesn't belong with me or something like that, all because my family is full of racists.

So how should I bring it up to him? And how should I talk to my mom about her way of thinking?

Thank you..




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Re: Multiracial boyfriend, racist family. Help? - June 11th 2009, 05:57 AM

My family can be like that... Its SO annoying! Instead of just telling him about your parents directly, you might try complaining about them to him. that way he is prepared.
Also, you said he's "sensitive" like he'll get mad and start yelling, or cry or get pouty or what?



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Re: Multiracial boyfriend, racist family. Help? - June 11th 2009, 02:54 PM

Thank you for the advice!!! I'll keep it in mind, but it's probably the sort of thing I may have to sit down and tell him. Still unsure though, not even sure when in the next few days I'll have a chance to tell him.

Well, probably cry. He has very low self-esteem... I really don't even want to tell him because I hate seeing him upset, but I would rather him know that way than finding out by some relative saying something horrible with him around.




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Re: Multiracial boyfriend, racist family. Help? - June 11th 2009, 11:58 PM

Hi Ali,

You are completely right about this. Open communication with your boyfriend would be the best way to deal with this. I think it's really good of your family to want to get to know your boyfriend, but you need to tell your family, and your boyfriend, what to expect.

Your family may not be too happy, but dating this guy is your decision. They should not judge people before they get to know them. Ask them to respect your decision and to try to keep an open mind about him because he's a really great guy.

As for your boyfriend, let him know as gently as you can. Tell him that your family really wants to meet him, but you know they have some issues. Let him know that you care about him a lot and that you want him to know what he is up for when meeting your family. Just tell him that meeting your parents is also his decision, and if he doesn't want to go, then he doesn't have to. Keep supporting him and tell him how much you care about him. He knows that you aren't the same as your parents.

Take care.

Nat.


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Re: Multiracial boyfriend, racist family. Help? - June 12th 2009, 03:57 AM

This is the first time I find myself going somewhat against the grain with my response.

I don't see why your boyfriend needs to know about your racist family members. If you tell him before inviting him over to dinner, it's just going to make him nervous, and prime him to dislike your parents.

Who knows... perhaps your mother isn't quite as racist as you think she is. Your grandmother, sure, but your mother? I know a lot of people who will use race/ethnicity as the first or second descriptor of another person. It gives you a visual image of the person, then they move on to personality/character traits.

I would say:

1) Invite him over. That way, you're showing your family an important aspect of your life, aren't giving them the idea that you're ashamed of him, and are standing up for what you believe is acceptable.

2) Give your family the benefit of the doubt, and don't be so quick to jump all over them in your boyfriend's presence. If he begins to feel uncomfortable with the situation, and he lets you in on this, THEN lay in on them. Otherwise, assume all is well.
   
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Re: Multiracial boyfriend, racist family. Help? - June 12th 2009, 07:44 PM

@Strider:: My parents have already seen him. My dad hasn't said anything yet (as I said, he's not the same, it's mostly my mother's side of he family) but it's my mom. She saw him in October, and since then she's asked me repeatedly 'what he is'. Before she met him, I had just described him as 'Cuban', even though that isn't the whole truth. Still, it shouldn't matter, and I knew she would make a big deal about it, so I didn't describe his race any further than that. My grandmother hasn't seen him yet, and I'm trying to keep it that way. Of course, my mother may have already told her, so I dunno...


Oh, just a little update, my parents aren't here anymore, so I don't have to worry about them meeting up for now.


Thanks!


@PSY:: First of all, thank you for telling me your honest opinion. Even though I've already made up my mind to tell him - eventually - I like to hear different views on my posts. It helps give me a better idea for what to expect. ^^


Yeah, I agree with you on the descriptor thing. It's really not that bad, it's just something I remember about when I was a kid. I'd really not like to repeat other stuff she's said though...

So basically, you're saying I shouldn't confront my family about this issue unless they bring it up? I suppose this makes sense - and definetely not in front of Danny. I don't want him to feel overwhelmed or caught up in my family's issues. I still feel as if something needs to be said, but it can wait.


Thanks!




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Re: Multiracial boyfriend, racist family. Help? - June 12th 2009, 08:22 PM

Haha. I often find myself playing the devil's advocate in debates... partly because I don't readily agree with the majority opinion, and partly because I feel it's important to consider all sides of an argument/all possible solutions to a problem before coming to a decision.

I can understand your frustration. My grandparents were born and raised in Kentucky. I suppose a lot of people would call them racist, because they believe interracial dating/marriage is wrong. I keep telling myself that they are part of an older generation, though, and were raised to believe that segregation/discrimination against African-Americans is and was acceptable.

That's what went through my head in regards to your older relatives. It could simply be that they are stuck in the 1950's/60's/70's and can't really change the way they think so late in life. Your mother would have grown up with these ideas as well, so it's somewhat predictable that your mother might express some form of racism/discrimination as well.

I definitely wouldn't bring up the issue when your boyfriend is present. Not unless they were to openly/verbally attack him (which in that case, I would think that you would want to openly defend him in return). As to whether or not you want to talk to your family members about it in private, that's up to you. =)





   
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