I was babysitting for my niece while my sis took nephew to get a haircut yesterday, and my BIL got home first. We are making polite chit-chat as I wash my dish and gather my things. He's telling me how he stopped for a fish sandwich at McD's, and it was good, but he was shocked (SHOCKED!) that every single customer and employee was from other country, and he was confused as to whether he was still in America (this is what passes for humor w/ BIL).
I try to deflect, saying 'well, they're all Americans now, just like your parents (he's first generation) and my grandparents (we're second generation).
He then asserts that all
'these people' from other country are here illegally
and not paying taxes (I'm pretty sure McDonalds doesn't hire illegal aliens, and does withhold taxes and report earnings, but, whatever).
Me: Really? All
of them are here illegally? (ooo, starting to engage, must remember what I've learned here)
Him: Oh, sure, you don't know tha-
Me: Hey did you know that the place Sis took nephew for haircut is the same place my dad took my brother, 35 years ago?
OK, it wasn't smooth, but it was so obviously saying 'let's not discuss this' without actually saying that, and it totally worked. He kinda chuckled and we chatted about a business that had been around for forever as I made my escape.
This may seem like a small thing, but the political divide in our family has been sharp, steep, and surprisingly bitter. It was actually nice to have the dreaded topic come up, and not have it end in tears.