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Racial insensitivity? Racial Microaggression? Outright Racism? Vent

post #1 of 15
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Edited for privacy

Edited by pokeyrin - 12/1/10 at 5:07pm
post #2 of 15
Wow. I've heard similar things from family members of mine. I can't stand it. I would be doing exactly the same thing you are doing- re-evaluating where you stand and how much you will tollerate. I just think that the family needs to know where YOU are coming from. What is DH's feelings on all of this??? I'm subbing to see what the other posts are...
post #3 of 15
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Edited for privacy reasons

Edited by pokeyrin - 12/1/10 at 5:13pm
post #4 of 15
My DP's family is racist. I also wondered where DD and I stood in the family. DP explained it to me this way (paraphrasing): People are racist, but they don't know that they are. It's a dumb and ignorant thing. It's not an ideological thing. They don't even realize that racist remarks have anything to do with you if they don't say it about your ethnicity. (I'm assuming here that you are not of the same ethnicity as "X".) DP says that his parents would never think badly about DD because she is his daughter and their grand-daughter, regardless of what they've said of people of her her ethnicity. It really, really is just mindless jabber. They would never try to argue that their racism is right. In fact, they probably think that they are not racist because they are not neo-nazis are part of the KKK (I hope).

That's DP's family, maybe not yours. I know that their remarks are wrong and ignorant and useless. And I tell myself that they do not reflect a belief system of hate, only derived from hate.

I don't know if I'm making any sense. I'm quite sleep-deprived. DD's cutting some teeth. =)
post #5 of 15
Well, I'd start with ignorance and work my way up from there, if necessary.

People of every race stereotype and say stupid things, especially if their primary experience with another group has been negative. It's narrow-minded, but not necessarily out of hate. If they are otherwise decent people, and in their behavior treat individuals respectfully regardless of their feelings, I'd assume ignorance.

You have the opportunity to broaden their horizens and dispel their ignorance. You don't have to "keep quiet". You also don't have to be antagonistic about it. Just consistently pipe up with a smile and "You know, that's actually not true..." or "That's really a stereotype--just like any other group there's a lot of variety with us" when it comes up.
post #6 of 15
that i agree that you can try to educate them, but do bear in mind that some folks just don't want to know anything any different than what they currently know. i think it would be a learning experience for them as long as you remain calm. to you because that is a difficult situation.
post #7 of 15
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Edited by pokeyrin - 12/1/10 at 5:18pm
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

Edited by pokeyrin - 12/1/10 at 5:19pm
post #9 of 15
post #10 of 15
Well, forgive me for guessing here, but does X=hispanic or the popular "Mexican"? If your ILs and extended ILs tend to listen to surround themselves with certain kinds of media, they may be constantly surrounded by the "illegals" message. Sadly, that can lead people who otherwise might have been *horrified* to say such things even 10 years ago to let truly gross and racist comments slip out because they're said all the time on that media and in those circles.

I never would have thought it, because my dad was always a huge HUGE proponent of diversity in the military, but in recent years because he listens to certain media and is surrounded by boosters and other people of a certain party where it is the message du jour lately, he has said things offhand that honestly if I had said in his presence as a child he would have slapped me across the mouth.

So...not only might there be some individual racism going on, there might be some influence by what they surround themselves with. I used to really enjoy listening to a wide variety of radio talk shows--but since "the illegals" became the fixation, I just can't do it anymore. I have seen the constant harping on that really affect people I know though, people who frustratingly don't even seem to be aware of how much they are channeling the message without examining it. I mean, it's one thing to be genuinely concerned about something--it's another to parrot ridiculous and made up stories.

What you can do though...I don't know. Not much, unless you are willing to be the "face". When you speak up and say "Hey, my Uncle X doesn't speak perfect English either, but he works very hard and is a proud citizen", or "Wow, I'm sure you didn't mean in that way, but that sounds really discriminatory." or "You know, when you make statements about X, that hurts my feelings and makes me feel angry, because I'm X too. Are you saying those things about me?" sometimes helps, sometimes not. It's uncomfortable for sure.
post #11 of 15
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Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
I haven't, never even heard of it but will check it out.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

Edited by pokeyrin - 12/1/10 at 5:17pm
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
That was awesome!
post #14 of 15
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
That was so cool! Thanks for sharing it here!♥

Take Care,
Erika(I don't wear a fro, I'm just a sister who likes this smilie!):
post #15 of 15
Sorry you have had to experience this from your in-laws!

It is always both shocking and disappointing to hear racist comments from anyone, but it is especially so hearing them from people you know well and who otherwise seem nice.

I can say for myself that I have never regretted answering back to racist comments, and every time I have not answered back to them, I have really reproached myself about it afterwards.

Because this is you husbands family, you have to be careful to answer in a non-antagonistic way. Just clarifying them and not putting them on the defence by insinuating they are racist. I think it would not be a bad idea to let them know how much their comments have hurt you. ( I liked Tigerchilds' suggestions!)

Sadly there is still lots of racism!

I agree with what others have already pointed out, that you have different types of racists.

The first are the full blown out racists who truly believe their race is the best and all others are inferior.

Then you have others, who probably want to believe that everyone is equal but in spite of this, they still have many preconceived ideas and prejudices about certain ethnicities.

Most people fall in the latter category and these are also the people who you will be able to reach by educating them aaand by pointing out that their assumptions are false.

I could write a book with all the comments I have heard!
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