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Not for the easily offended: what to do about my racist mother? - May 28th 2011, 06:11 AM

I hate admitting this. My mother is a complete and total racist, and I don't know how to deal with it.

She wasn't always like this...or maybe she was, and she just didn't talk about it with me. But recently she's started cursing me out for what she calls "color-blindness" - she doesn't appreciate it when I bring a friend home or even just mention someone and don't tell her that they aren't white. Am I missing something here? What does it matter what color their skin is or what their culture is? As long as they're not intending to steal from us, which she doesn't seem to understand white people are just as capable of, it shouldn't matter. She always feels the need to tag people by their race. She always goes "today, this black person said to this indian woman" or something along those lines. I just say "person," and she thinks that's abnormal and always inquires about their race. And I have a friend that moved away and is visiting here in a few weeks and wants to see me. I'm thrilled...my mother, on the other hand, is not and thinks I need to stay far away from her because she's black and "without the influence of white people" she'll have "become a hoodlum." Lately she's been making horrible statements like "the worst crime you can commit is driving while asian" and "those dirty mexicans think they're better than me."

This is killing my social life. I've got two white friends, and she likes them just fine. All my other friends are black, mexican, and asian. She's very vocal about her hatred of them, and she only hates them once she finds out their race. It also kills any hope of dating. I wanted to ask an extremely cute and smart mexican guy out on a date and my mother went completely ballistic when she found out about it. So long story short, I didn't ask him out because he wouldn't be comfortable sneaking around her nor associating with someone like her. When I do date someone, I can't tell her. And if she finds out, she goes on and on about how "parents of that race won't accept a white girl for their son." Just because you're racist doesn't mean everyone else is, mom! Here's the worst part: if I date someone that's white, she nitpicks! If they're canadian, that's a fault. If they're from the UK, that's a fault. Etc, etc, etc. She inquires extensively about their heritage, and only cannot find a problem with it if they're german or irish (she's german, and my dad is irish). I mean, really. Can't you just like them because they're white and leave it at that? I swear, that's why I don't date white people anymore. If I'm going to piss her off with someone, let's make it obvious right at first without playing 20 questions. It all ends up with the same result anyway.

I really, really needed to rant about that, so thanks for listening. Does anyone have advice for how to deal with this? I hate myself for telling her I agree, when I don't agree at all, but she's a little...um....crazy. I'm scared to disagree. I've been noticing this sort of behavior more and more with people, though. I caught my boyfriend referring to someone as a "chocolate person" the other day, and everyone was laughing and all I could do was stare at him and tell him he was being rude before walking away. Am I just overly sensitive or something? Grrr. If anyone knows what to do about these rude people, I would love to hear it. Thanks.


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Re: Not for the easily offended: what to do about my racist mother? - May 28th 2011, 01:06 PM

My father is racist to several races, whereas I'm less racist and to fewer races (only one actually). He usually doesn't vocalize it unless he's criticizing something, angry or laughing at them. He has criticized the fact one of my girlfriends was black and I've found two responses that generally work.

First, ignore it. This is easier for my father because he doesn't play 20 questions and says only a few quick comments then stops.

Second, say racist comments about the races he does like. This gets him pissed off in which case I remind him it's exactly what he's saying about the other races.

This may get you in plenty of deep shit with your parents but have you tried the second method I mentioned? Hopefully, she will get very angry, possibly ask you why you're saying such things then reply in a calm manner it's the very same thing she does and ask her why she does it. Tell her you understand she wants only the best for you and the best is having friends of other races. You could go as far as making an ultimatum, whereby the moment any Irish or German guests (not your friends though) of your parents come over, you do exactly what she does. Always remind her why you're doing it and you'll stop if she stops.

I know it sounds like an immature way but I assume peaceful civil discussion with your mother have failed and you don't want to have a shouting match where you begin cursing at her. She has her beliefs set in stone for whatever reasons so this probably is the best way short of having her talk to a therapist or counselor. As I said, it may get you in plenty of trouble but even if it doesn't get her to see what she's doing, it gives her a reason not to say them.

What does your father have to say about your mother's actions? Does he approve of them?


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Re: Not for the easily offended: what to do about my racist mother? - May 28th 2011, 05:32 PM

My father isn't really aware of all that goes on. He's out of the house a lot, since his job involves travelling for weeks to foreign countries. And she's surprisingly quiet on the subject when he is home. Not sure if that's intentional or if it's because he dominates the conversations. Unfortunately, him being home still results in him being out of the house enough for her to annoy me. When I tell him what's going on, he waves his hand and says "she's crazy!" This is sort of a fact we've just accepted, and we often ponder about what mental condition she has, but we're both too scared of her to take any action against her.

Thanks for your advice, but I tried that method and it didn't work...my mother believes everyone is entitled to their own opinion, or at least that's what she says but it's not entirely true. She doesn't like me standing up for races she dislikes. But it's okay to say horrible things about races she does like, because "that's your opinion and it's good to form those so early in life." Far cry from "how dare you, those people are trash!" which I hear her say if I defend other races. Maybe she just has something against other people in general...


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Re: Not for the easily offended: what to do about my racist mother? - May 28th 2011, 09:54 PM

It doesn't sound like there's an easy solution to your problem. Your mother is set in her ways, and I honestly doubt she's ever going to change. So you can either actively defend your friends, or ignore your mother as best you can. When your friends come over to visit, I would take the first approach. You may incur some wrath from your mother, but your friends will feel better knowing that you're willing to stand up for them. If anything, it'll strengthen your friendship. When it's just you and your mother, though, I would ignore her comments as best you can (and don't let her see you getting flustered). My father often makes racist remarks, and I've found it's best to just pretend he didn't say anything at all. Changing the subject (without saying why you're doing so) can also be a great tactic when you're alone with your mother.






   
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