Author Topic: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter  (Read 9270 times)

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WillyNilly

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2012, 11:47:48 AM »
There are people out there in the world who go through much of their lives truly believing in private company, like at home with family, "everyone" is actually a racist, and that folks just put on their politically correct persona's for the bigger world.  So if the boyfriend downplayed his family's behavior it really could be that he thinks its normal and ok and was more warning her in the sense "they won't have on their good manners for you, they will act as they would if it were only family".  Being that he is away from home at school, he might just be acting non-racist because everyone else is, he might think everyone's got their good manners on for the sake of school and communal living and spending so many hours together studying, etc. 

I definitely think this is a big red flag she needs to discuss in detail and come to terms with now, not after she's moved across the country with him (and perhaps turned down job offers elsewhere). It might be downplayed their attitudes because he didn't know how to say it, or because he was uncomfortable, but she needs to find out what his stance is sooner rather then later.

BatCity

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2012, 11:55:31 AM »
I wanted to toss my two cents in here since I married into a family like this.  Now, DH isn't perfect by any means, but he doesn't have a racist bone in his body.  His family, though, not so much.

Here's why it's okay.  When I met his family, he actually said he didn't want me to meet them at all because they're so unpleasant.  I insisted, and he went along with it under protest.  Once I met them, I basically said "Okay, you were right, we can go now."*

He is much, much younger than his siblings...like 15 years or more.  Both of his parents are now deceased, and we have ZERO contact with any of his brothers and sisters.  In fact, when we moved back to California this year, we ended up one town over from two of his brothers, and he didn't even tell them.  Once, his sister came to Texas and said she wanted to visit us.  He lied and said we were going to be on vacation that week.  If he forced me or DD to spend time with his family, this would have been a huge problem.

*Okay, I'll give you one example.  His sister made a racial slur against people of a certain religion...my religion.  Lovely woman.


VltGrantham

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2012, 12:00:06 PM »
I agree that a discussion is definitely in order and certainly now, prior to moving anywhere with him.

However, I definitely think I would give him the benefit of doubt until then.  DH wasn't aware that he had a "right" to stand up for his beliefs or challenge his parents and family.  In many ways, it was like he had lived all his life in some cult or a deserted island where their behaviors were seen as completely normal.

It wasn't until we started dating and I started discussing this with him and encouraging him to think for himself and challenge the status quo, that he realized he did not have to put up with some of this stuff and that it wasn't normal behavior by any standards.

And it certainly could be completely plausible that this guy is well aware his family's behavior is over the top and is ashamed of them.  He's also probably desensitized to it because it's been the same all his life.

BeagleMommy

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2012, 12:03:12 PM »
My late FIL was a bigoted person.  For most of DH's life he only saw his parents on the weekends because they worked in a different state and he lived with his maternal grandparents until he was 11.  DH is one of the most caring and inclusive people I know.  Regardless of FIL beliefs, DH loved him very much.

He described his father to me as "tough".  Before we got engaged we talked about his father's attitude and the impact on any potential children.  We agreed that DH would talk to his father about his use of racial slurs when we knew we were having children.  If FIL continued in the presence of our child we would leave and limit contact.

Fortunately, we never had to deal with this situation as FIL passed away while DS was a baby.

The LW and her BF need to have an open and honest discussion before the move forward.

DavidH

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2012, 12:19:22 PM »
I think it's worthy of a conversation at least, but premature to say cut off contact with your family if they are neither engaged or living together. 

In my mind, it matters which family members are saying this, it is very different if it's his parents who he is likely to see more often and likely raised him than if it's a more distant relative. If it's his parents it would raise a bigger red flag to me. 

The comment about how an uncle referred to politicians suggests that there are two separate issue here, one is the racist comments and one is differing political views.  I think it is very reasonable to take offense at the racist comments, on the other hand differing political views can be expressed in a more reasonable manner. 

It is interesting to me that she says he is non apologetic not for the racist comments, but that, "I shouldn't judge them for, amongst other things, referring to our president in a manner that you wouldn't even publish."  In this case, it really matters what that manner is.  A racist slur, time to apologize.  Highly, and likely rudely critical of his intelligence etc, not necessarily something needing an apology, just a differing view.  Rather like saying I won't apologize for preferring either Fox over CNN or vice versa and stating my opinion of the commentators intelligence etc, even though you might prefer the opposite. 

They key still will come down to having a discussion with him around how they see their future.  If, in her mind, it's either her or them, then she may as well state the up front, so they can all make a decision and move on, there is no point in postponing the inevitable. 

Yvaine

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2012, 12:24:17 PM »
It is interesting to me that she says he is non apologetic not for the racist comments, but that, "I shouldn't judge them for, amongst other things, referring to our president in a manner that you wouldn't even publish."  In this case, it really matters what that manner is.  A racist slur, time to apologize.  Highly, and likely rudely critical of his intelligence etc, not necessarily something needing an apology, just a differing view.  Rather like saying I won't apologize for preferring either Fox over CNN or vice versa and stating my opinion of the commentators intelligence etc, even though you might prefer the opposite. 

The letter writer had referred to the N word earlier in the letter, and so I was guessing they used that to refer to the president, in much the same way as they used the misogynist word for the Secretary of State. I can't imagine Prudie refusing to print "The President is an idiot" in quote marks, even if she didn't agree with it herself.

Sharnita

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2012, 12:28:26 PM »
I think they need to discuss what limits might be reasonable.  Does she want to limit how many holidays they spend with these people? Or does she want to place more stringent limits? If a relative dies can he attend the funeral? Will she accompany him? WHat about weddings, births, etc? Were there any aceeptable relatives at all? Can they socialize?

snowdragon

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2012, 12:56:56 PM »
What bothers me is that when people meet a family members BF/GF for the FIRST time they are almost always on their Best behavior. If this is their BEST behavior, what are they really like?  And how will they treat the GF once she is family - they are misogynist and she's female ( obviously). I would not be "questioning" the relationship, I'd be running the other way. Yes people can be different than their families, but I would not want to spend time with these folks at holidays  and family events for the rest of my life. Nor would I want my hypothetical children exposed to this.

VltGrantham

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2012, 01:26:42 PM »
Quote
Nor would I want my hypothetical children exposed to this.

In our case, it's been a pretty good teaching opportunity--small mindedness, poor judgment, entitlement, bigotry, intolerance, etc.  Even things like standing up for one's self, setting expectations, and dealing with difficult personalities.

We certainly limit the time our DD is around my DH's family and we have never let them babysit--but it doesn't have to be a complete disaster either.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2012, 02:08:03 PM »
My parents aren't racist, but they are snobs and tend to look down on people who they perceive to have a lower income than they do.  Like my in laws. My father and FIL are both engineers but the difference in their income, I imagine, can't be that steep.   It's just that the IL's don't like big houses and live rather modestly and just aren't big spenders.  My mother also looked down on MIL because she didn't go to college. She finished high school and then went to work, probably because her parents couldn't afford to send her to college.  Then she met her first husband, had DH and 7 months later she was a single mom with two jobs to support a baby on her own and to pay off the debt he saddled her with before he ditched them.

I'm glad though that DH didn't lump me in with my family and ditch me for their snobbery.  Course I think he could tell I was embarrassed about it and heard me vent about them enough times to know I didn't agree with them.
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Jones

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2012, 02:46:35 PM »
My coworker's FOO is racist. I've known her less than a year and I know this.

Coworker's sister is currently dating a person of "other race". At her grandmother's house last weekend, a 10 year old cousin used some offensive terms regarding this other race. Coworker told her not to do that and it's rude to use those words. Grandma interjected that it was rude for Coworker to correct a child that wasn't hers, and they all use those words so she was rude to PA correct all of them.

I was sad about that story. The fear of passing on racism to another generation by the respected generations is a valid one.

peach2play

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2012, 05:06:43 PM »
The boyfriend should have prepared her more thoroughly.  He's lived out in the world enough, esp living away from them at school, to know that his family is extremely different from others and highly offensive.  My brother uses all kinds of foul language and is racist and I have warned my BFs about his behavior/language etc and had any of them been offended we would have left immediately.  Even though I warn them, I have apologized for his behavior and thanked them for understanding.  Thankfully, my brother has mellowed a lot (to the point of managing an entire Thanksgiving without saying the F word). 

This BF should have prepared her better and should have apologized for how bad it was.  Her feelings are justified and he should acknowledge those feelings and talk through this with her.  If he is not doing so, then yes, she needs to leave the relationship and look for someone who doesn't have their head in the sand.

Just Lori

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #42 on: December 04, 2012, 05:15:21 PM »
I have family members I adore, but they can throw out some racial zingers.  We've been round and round on each other's beliefs, and neither is closer to crossing over to the "right" side.  However, I do have one dealbreaker- you do not say these things in front of me or my children.  Period.  Fortunately, family members are OK with this, and we are able to continue the relationship.

Amava

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #43 on: December 04, 2012, 05:30:22 PM »
I see in the letter that they were thinking of "settling near his home town", though they are currently in med school 1000 miles away.
My advice would be to not go live near them. If one only sees family like this once a year, it's manageable. If they drop in every week, not so much.

Sharnita

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Re: "Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter
« Reply #44 on: December 04, 2012, 05:36:19 PM »
I don't know, I wouldn't let them keep me away from a great place to live, good job, wonderful friends. Posters here manage to avoid geographically close familt most of the time.