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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-04-06 05:15 AM
Original message
Need some support., please.....
Edited on Tue Jul-04-06 05:34 AM by bliss_eternal
My husband and I severed ties with most of his family a few years ago. The primary reason for his decision was based on the fact that they were abusive toward him. They are also rather bigoted, but liked to think they aren't. :eyes: So I was MORE than OK with his decision to walk away from them.

He has maintained a relationship with other relatives that were more supportive of him--and have been good to us. Of late, I'm not feeling as comfortable with a some of these relatives. Sometimes maybe they forget I'm a person of color, and in the process they seem to think it's ok to make comments about other ethnicities in my presence. It bothers me...a lot. :mad:

My feeling is that if someone has issues with ANY race or ethnicity, they probably have similar issues with others--including mine.

When I met some of his relatives, it was obvious to me that one of their adult children didn't like me based on my ethnicity/race. After being married to my husband a few years, I let it slip to this person I was aware of their child's feelings about me. This person was embarassed, very apologetic and insisted that they weren't raised this way, blah, blah. (My personal thought was," Well excuse me--but what did you do to discourage it, if you didn't teach it yourself?...Have you ever told this person that they are wrong to have these beliefs about people...?") :banghead: Since that time, their adult child's feelings toward me have changed,as they got to know me ( :eyes: Imagine that) but I still keep my distance. Am I wrong in doing so?

I just don't feel like I can ever completely let down my guard where these people are concerned... :shrug:

A part of me feels like maybe I'm in a position to teach them...another part of me feels like you can't teach an old dog new tricks and they have these ideas about people, races, ethnicities, etc. and have probably for a long time--and there's nothing I can do about that.

I just don't know... Self preservation is big with me, but so is compromise and being there for my dh. He of course doesn't want to put my in any positions I'm uncomfortable in... I believe in the words of Maya Angelou. "When people show you who you are the first time, you have to believe them." Yet, I also believe that anyone can change if they are open...I just don't see anyone here that is open to change or even aware that their views are intolerant in any way or could make me uncomfortable in any way.

I hope and pray what I've said here makes some sense...

Anyone been through this with in-laws, extended family, etc. as an interracial/multicultural couple? I'd love to hear your feedback...

Thanks so much for reading! :hi:
bliss_e.
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alarcojon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-04-06 07:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. Luckily, I have not shared your problems
but it strikes me that if the adult child has gotten to know you better and their feelings towards you have improved, you should give them a chance. I understand the impulse to keep your distance - that's just self-preservation mode. But it has so often been shown that when people actually get to know a person of color (or gay person, or disabled person, etc.) many, if not all, of their predjudices are lifted. Prejudice is born, after all, of ignorance.

A little about my situation: I am a Latino married to an Asian Indian woman. We actually look like we belong to the same race, so we don't get funny looks in the streets as an inter-racial couple (does that make sense?). Both our sets of in-laws have been completely tolerant of our ethnic/cultural differences. Most of my U.S. born relatives in the states are in inter-racial (Latino/white) relationships, so I don't think anyone in my family gives the subject a second thought. As for her family, they are anything but the strict traditional (and stereotypical B-) ) Indian family where the marriage is arranged and the husband must be Indian, from the same village and caste, etc.

I hope things get better with your situation.
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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-05-06 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Your families sound lovely
and very loving! I'm very happy for both of you!! :hi: As always, it's so good to see you!

I think you're right about the adult child. So much of her predjudice was born of ignorance. She assumes if she deals with a few people of a race, social set, etc. then they are all the same. Unfortunately, though she's well educated in some regards, she's lived a rather sheltered life. When one hasn't been exposed to a variety of people, I guess it's easy to buy into stereotypes.

I'm in a position to show the adult child some compassion and forgiveness, and I should do that. Thanks alacojon!

Best,
bliss :)
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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-05-06 08:24 AM
Response to Original message
3. I can appreciate your pain
and one doesn't have to be in a relationship to worry about this. One of the ladies at my mother's church is having a birthday party coming this weekend. The problem: her husband is a nice guy--and a flaming freeper. He got busted at a church breakfast some years ago agreeing with some racist old lady echoing the standard RW hate-radio talking points. He was very embarrassed later, once he realized what he had done. As for me, I'm tired of excusing ignorant white people and this was doubly painful 'cause this happened at church. Obviously, they have no respect for hallowed ground. Of course, my mother said that he's an ignorant old man and doesn't understand that one should forgive. I don't know.
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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-06-06 04:10 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. Thanks Argyle..
Edited on Thu Jul-06-06 04:27 AM by bliss_eternal
That guy sounds horrible, and I don't blame you at all. I get tired to excusing ignorant white people, too. I've duked it out on these very boards with people that wouldn't know bigotry if it bit them in the ass, but they are confident in telling ME what it looks like. :eyes:

While I don't condone being openly hostile with such people, I try to teach, etc. but some people just aren't open to getting it. They don't want to see, then there's not much that can be done to show them, know what I mean?

:hi: good to see you!
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AspenRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-05-06 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
4. Wow. I am really sorry
I am very blessed in that my parents think my husband walks on water and his father actually performed our wedding ceremony.

So we have peace on both sides and both sides adore their grandchild.

I do understand about self preservation, though....and about wanting to 'educate' people. AND about how if someone has issues with one race, it usually carries over to biracial/mixed raced people....especially monolithic thinking.

I sort of have that problem with well-meaning but totally clueless friends. So I limit my time around them for my own self-preservation.

:hug: I will pray for wisdom for you. Some people are worth the time investment and others, well....they may be important, but not necessarily worth the time investment and 'education.' That's when YOUR peace of mind and quality of life are worth more.
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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-06-06 04:20 AM
Response to Reply #4
9.  DesertedRose--
--prayers are always appreciated. I am VERY happy to know that there is peace on both sides of your family!! Your little one will be loved and adored by all of her family...that is wonderful!!!

I feel your pain on the well-meaning but clueless friends. I had to distance myself from, and eventually dismiss some friends like that, as did dh. I agree with you on some people being worthy of the time investment.

I really appreciate your advice, DesertedRose! :hi:
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Mutley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-05-06 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
5. I didn't get anything like that from his family
because I never really met his family. He doesn't speak to them for other reasons. But, unfortunately, my family was a bit like that with him. I'm not sure anyone ever said or did anything in his presense, but I was "reminded" on a regular basis that society in general doesn't take well to interracial relationships. That was apparently a reason why we should break up. :eyes:

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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-06-06 04:26 AM
Response to Reply #5
10. Oh, don't you just love that speech...?
:eyes:

When dh and I were dating, the racial thing was pretty much a non-issue for us and within our immediate circle of friends. My family (the ones I still had contact with), were cool and didn't see it as an issue at all.

His mother on the other hand, made that speech. :puke: "I worry about how you'll be treated by society.." :eyes: Society's been fine. She was annoying as hell. Her first gifts to me all had an ethnic theme. It was apparently too difficult to ask dh what I liked as a person, so just get the token ethnic gift. All people of my ethnicity have to like this item, right? :banghead:

We used to keep them around as a joke, but eventually donated the items to charity. It was kind of hurtful.
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jmm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-05-06 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
6. A bit off topic but
at my last job there was woman named Jean who I actively tried to get them to fire. To make a long story short it had to do with a number of reasons but mainly because of comments she made about Arabs and Muslims. We worked at a school for people with mental and behavioral problems. As far as I know she never made comments directly to him, mainly because I refused to allow her near him, but there was a boy from Lebanon who she constantly made derogatory comments about behind his back.

While talking to Jesse (the head of one of the departments) about Jean I was told that I shouldnt be so insistent about this matter because if I cared too much I wouldnt be able to sleep at night. I told him I sleep like a baby because I dont go to bed regretting that I didnt do what I know in my heart is right. I also said that the beautiful thing about me is that people always know where they stand with me but the thing many people including him hate the most about me is that they always know where they stand with me. I dont think that you or your husband feel this way but I do believe that many people such as Jesse and some in your husbands family really want people to sit and grin when they want you to give others a chance and be an example for them.

Generally people dont like dealing with difficult issues so instead of trying to do the right thing theyll put pressure on those they know are trying to do the right thing and avoid confronting whomever they think is most difficult. If I were you I wouldnt completely cut them off unless theyve become toxic to you but I wouldnt tolerate their prejudices either. In some circumstances (such as with family members) one should be more diplomatic than others but you are not wrong for keeping a distance if that is what you feel is best. Im all for teaching others but you do not deserve to be emotionally abused and disrespected.
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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-06-06 04:40 AM
Response to Reply #6
12. I appreciate what you've shared...
not off topic at all. It was the perfect way to lead in to the point you wanted to make. :hi:

Dh and I have talked about the situation at length. At this point, we're both convinced that she's one of those people that just has to have something to be pissed off about. :eyes: She seems to like to complain and bring up old injustices to stew over. When I feel it's toxic, I do avoid her--as I have a hard time tuning it out. My husband is great at it, though. We keep our distance, but on the rare occasions we can't we try to keep things brief.

Thanks for the advice--I really appreciate it! Always good to see you!
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judaspriestess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-06-06 03:43 AM
Response to Original message
7. I have a few questions
What are your suspicions as to why they making these comments about ethnicities of late? Is it immigration? Its a hot button. Is this something that has happened all of a sudden? If it is, its a prime example of how this admin just stirs hate in people at a deeper level. Its obvious its always been there but its just boiling right under the surface now. Does your husband feel the same way and does he sense it also. I'm sure he does. You can't miss something like that.


Start a prayer session with them, that will teach them :crazy:

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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-06-06 04:36 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. You nailed it, my friend...
immigration. Dh's relative and I frequently talk politics, as she knows I'm Dem as she is. For whatever reason, the last couple of times, she went off on immigration. I would have been cool with it if she had come from the position of not wanting to see people be exploited, or some of the progressive talking points of the issue.

But no. She went off saying things I know I could find easily if I turned on fox news. :puke:

I told her flat out that I was not comfortable with such views and didn't feel the way she does at all. I also shared with her that based on my being a woman of color, I just can't endorse such views on any level. Unfortunately my interjection didn't help much. She then felt she had to teach me about how awful it all (illegal immigration) is. :eyes: I listened quietly for a bit, then changed the subject... :mad: :grr: :cry: :shrug:

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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-06-06 09:43 AM
Response to Original message
13. This thread in the Lounge
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

I thought about starting a new thread, but I think that this folds nicely into this one. The board, and country at large has a long way to go. I see the standard "I'm not a racist, but..." and "I just haven't met a different person I like" and "everyone has their preferences that are beyond their control" which means "I don't want to catch shit/be disowned/get dirty looks/etc. for going out with someone different from me." :crazy:
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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-07-06 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. The lounge is frequently a cesspool of bigotry
of one form or another. This is one of the reasons I stopped hanging out there. I got sick of sticking my neck out on issues like this, only to get my feelings hurt or be shouted down by those that are completely unaware.

One lounge lizard posted in a GD thread I was duking it out in, to tell me I was out of line for saying it's racist that someone thinks certain races have a certain voice quality or "sound" a certain way. :mad: That one made me livid.

Of course it was an Anglo lounge member that doesn't take offense that people wonder what ethnicity he is, based on his voice. Why the hell would he be offended--he's not in the position of being an ethnicity or race that has been discriminated against?! :banghead: :crazy: :rofl:

Sometimes the things people on this board say are sad, cruel and hurtful. Sometimes I sit at my computer and laugh my ass off at the inherent cluelessness that many go to such great lengths to defend. :eyes:
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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-19-06 08:02 AM
Response to Reply #15
23. Another example for you
I was in line for the concession counter at the movies, and I was looking to my side when I heard the counter clerk call out an order to her fellow clerk at the drink machine. She sounded as if she could have gone to my high school, which was majority black. I turned my head to look, and the voice in question belonged to a blonde white girl. So, can one really say, with certainty, that a voice belongs to a certain demographic group? :shrug:
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yorkiemommie1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-06-06 02:06 PM
Response to Original message
14. maya angelou is wise
and i agree with her.

Fortunately for us, our racial differences were never brought up by either his or my family. It has been smooth sailing all the way.

I empathize with your feelings of self-preservation and while I might extend myself a little w/ these people, I wouldn't ever let my guard down.

Sometimes when people say things, I will bring them up short w/ an 'Excuse me?'.

Sure, this adult relative might be making an effort, and insofar as s/he seems sincere, then I would try to meet them halfway but I wouldn't take it upon myself to get hurt in trying to educate them. When people make ignorant statements I always find a way to counter them; I don't get into fights or arguments but I do find something to say sooner or later.

As you can see, my feelings of self-preservation are stronger than my feelings of extending the olive branch!

Your dh sounds like a wonderful person!
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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-08-06 01:04 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. Thank you, yorkiemommie--
I dig him! :P ...he's a good guy.

I love using, "..excuse me?" That's one of my favorites. When we still had contact with my mil, she got cheeky with me one day and I did that--shut her up really quick. :rofl:

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Ecumenist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-08-06 07:19 PM
Response to Original message
17. Sorry it's taken me so long to get to thread
I completely understand why you feel the way you do, Bliss. My marriage was made in a situation where there was no input from his family because A), there was a longterm estrangement caused by his father, (has MONDO issues with SEVERE bipolarity) and B) we just are a pair of folks that like our privacy and in fact, have to work at including others in our lives.
I don't pull my punches, like alluded to. I would keep my distance from the family maember who has seemed to have had an epiphany about you. Old habits die hard and although I don't believe that people can't change, I say err on the side of caution. Especially in the current atmosphere of cultured bigotry. I say that if things are good between the two of you and most of his family, as long as it works for the both of you, then by all means, continue to the contact, WITH CAUTION. Don't, by any means, allow anyone to make your or DH feel uncomfortable or threatened in any way, shape form or fashion. After all, despite what some say, you married one another, not each other's family.
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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. Hi Ecumenist--
you guys sound like us. lol. We aren't incredibly social, at least not as much as we were in the beginning of our marriage. As a couple, we're more reserved and pickier about who we spend time with these days. I know part of this comes from the fact that those we initially socialized with had issues and in time we distanced ourselves. I had a very negative experience with some of his extended family/friends. Thankfully they are no longer a part of our lives.

I appreciate your supportive advice, Ecumenist! I agree--we married one another, not one another's families. :hi:

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judaspriestess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-08-06 09:36 PM
Response to Original message
18. well there you have it good ol immigration
I knew something was up. Its a flippin Red Herring and people just get sucked into it and get lost.
It was never a major issue before. why now? I understand that we need to reform immigration but to treat immigrants like they are second class citizens is wrong. Next time maybe you should ask that person if they have always felt this way or is it just recently. Maybe they will see the error in their ways. To be pissed off at immigrants is just stupid. We need to be pissed off at the government for having such laxed laws for so damn long and not doing anything to stop the flood gates sooner. I'm more worried about jobs being outsourced.

It's gotten strange out there, I have actually put on my resume US CITIZEN BORN IN THE USA. My last name is Gomez. I honestly feel I get overlooked because of my last name. Example, I just went on a 2nd interview, the first one was great, the second one not so great. I just got these weird feelings the guy was a freeper and he had issues with my ethnicity. It was just a gut feeling but we sometimes have to trust our feelings. I could just picture him spewing hate about "Mexicans". I am extremely qualified for the position but ultimately they did not go with me. Oh well.
But this has always gone on for me. Odd as that may sound. Its the type of work I do. People look at me like, what are you doing here, shouldn't you be a maid somewhere. They don't expect to see a Hispanic vying for a top paying job and I'm a pretty darn good looking chick to boot. Meaning I'm not a flippin scrub, I take care of myself, have really nice white teeth :D English is my first language....... sigh!!

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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 11:35 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. judaspriestess--
Edited on Mon Jul-10-06 11:37 PM by bliss_eternal
I'm SO sorry to hear of what you've experienced while interviewing. :( What the hell is wrong with people?! But I know exactly what you mean...it pisses me off when people presume to know you or where you belong based on the way you look, etc.

I know I'm in trouble when I start hearing,"...wow--you're so articulate." :eyes: :puke:

You keep on keepin' on, girl! Don't let the bigots get you down! Keep us posted on your job hunt, too.

Oh, and edited to add--about immigration--don't get me started. There are laws regarding immigration on the books. All the recent stuff, as far as I'm concerned was an effort to further divide people and create an enemy and a issue for the next elections.
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MarianJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 09:15 PM
Response to Original message
19. Hi, Bliss! Sorry it took so long to get here!
Your thread touched and moved me.

I can't necessarily give you answers, but I know from my family that people DO change, both for better and worse.

My mother was a woman of her time, having been born at a time when racism was not only socially acceptable, but actually the law (like segregation and laws against bi-racial marriage). I grew up hearing ethnic people referred to as those offensive derogatory names that we, unfortunately, know all too well. She was bitterly opposed to my marriage to a Hispanic woman. She never knew this, but her sister, my aunt who loved ChicaAzul the moment she met her, was going to muzzle her if she dared "speak now" at our wedding. Of course, her tolerance of African-Americans was nil.

At the end of her life, my mom had come to greatly respect, if not love, my wife. I also TRULY believe that our VERY African-American son is the one human being that she most truly LOVED in her life. She said, a couple of years ago, that when she went to Heaven, she was going to follow her grandson. If anybody gave him a hard time for being black, they wouldn't know where the kick in the ass came from, but they'd SURE AS HELL FEEL IT!

My father on the other hand, raised me to respect all ethnicities. We haven't spoken for 21 years due to other issues (he is one of the most genuine BASTARDS on God's green Earth), but I do know that he's made his share of remarks to my siblings about my wife and son that are all laden with the hateful ethnic slurs.

I agree with another poster here that most bigotry is rooted in ignorance, but I do know that some people CHOOSE hatred, which is why "illegal immigration" is the latest little scoop from kkkarl rove's massive cesspool of hate-mongering shit. I have a cousin who is such a racist asshole that he admired the redneck shitheads who dragged James Byrd to death behind their pick-up. On the other hand, others in my family have embraced our multi-cultural family (our all American Quilt of many colors).

I can't give you any sagely advice, bliss, but I do know that of me and my 3 siblings, there is one suicide, 2 who have chosen misery as a life style, and me, who is the only one who is truly and happily married to my dream woman and the father of the most wonderful little boy in the world.

I really think that HAPPINESS is the best response to those who despise our loves.
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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 11:54 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. Hi MarianJack
No need to apologize--just happy to have your input!! :hi:

I don't think there are any easy answers where ignorance and bigotry are concerned. I do feel that it's important for us to protect ourselves and our families. At the same time, we can't meet hate with more hate. It's hard not to, because how can we not abhor those that prey on other based on racial differences? But I guess we have to strive to hate and dislike their behaviour and not the people...

It's difficult--I struggle with it, too...

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