Speaking of race and "mixed babies" and all that... *UPDATE in post 25* - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 04-23-2007, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm an irish american girl with pale pale skin and green eyes. My three kids are all 100% european in one way or another (mostly English, Irish, and German) and they look it. My ex is a blonde haired blue eyed white boy. My dad hated him anyway because #1 he's a total UA violation and #2 he was a convert to Islam (so am I) and my dad hates muslims (obviously I must have converted for him rather than for me... but that's another rant for another day). Anyway, aside from 9-11 and the war in Iraq and all that, the FBI came knocking on our door one day wanting to ask us questions. They were investigating an old/ex friend of ours and I insisted that we do the interview with my lawyer present... totally standard. They decided to harass my parents, showing up at my mom's place of business and my parents' home saying stuff like, "We just want to ask her some questions, why isn't she cooperating, who is she trying to protect etc." My parents were already uncomfortable with me being a muslim post 9-11. This freaked them WAY out. Everything turned out fine, we did our interview, the guy being investigated turned out to just be sortof a jerk and the closed the investigation. ANYWAY, point is, my dad hates muslims.

Fast forward to easter break. I have been involved with an Iranian man (who currently resides in as a resident of Australia) since about November. His family are not muslim. They left Iran when he was very young and lived in Dubai until they decided to go to Australia. He is kind and responsible and loving and I just adore him. My mom talked to him on the phone and thinks he sounds great. BUT... she let it slip to my dad that he's Iranian. All she was able to get out was that they're Iranian but not Muslim before my dad started YELLING at her. I didn't hear what was said, except something about the FBI, which is rediculous considering that neither my ex nor I were ever investigated... and my SO doesn't even know the dude that was investigated. He was furious, apparantly just about the fact that the dude is Iranian. All he said to me, in his loudest boldest tone, was "you're being used" and then he went off to bed. Not that I feel I have to defend myself there, because it's absurd, but the guy is an Australian citizen and has had job offers here in the states. If he wanted to come here, he would, and he wouldn't need me to do it.

I couldn't sleep because of that argument, plus I had been arguing with my ex earlier... so I got on the computer in their house and chatted with my canadian friend. At about 2am my dad gets up and starts YELLING at me to get off his computer. Said I am only allowed to use HIS computer for WORK ONLY and certainly not to talk to "some Iranian guy". I told him I was talking to my canadian girl friend and he just started shouting "I DON'T CARE GET OFF NOW DON'T MAKE ME CHANGE THE PASSWORD AGAIN GET OFF NOW NOW NOW!" I just looked at him and said "I am." Signed off and went to bed. I'm almost 30 years old. I felt pretty belittled. The kids and I left the next day to go home. My mom is really upset, says he hasn't always been this racist, or mean in general, and doesn't know what to do.

Obviously, Iranian = terrorist, and that's just all there is to it.

My SO and I are serious. We want to get married and we plan on having children together. Our kids will be biracial. My family NEVER accepted the fact that I converted to Islam, and it's been 9 years. I don't expect them to be accepting of my SO. I'm terrified how they will treat my future kids. To be fair, his mother is also pretty culturally driven and threatened to disown him for getting involved with me. She doesn't know I have three children yet... but I'm older, not Iranian, and divorced... which is more than enough apparently. So we're getting it on both sides.

I have never had to deal with this sort of thing before. I am stunned. I don't know what to say or how to react or even if I should bother trying? I am so worn out from having to defend my choices (my dad and my grandmother ganged up on me about Islam a few nights before this happened). I feel like... if I were a bad person, if I went out of my way to hurt people, then yeah... feel free to get on my case. But these are personal and very private choices that I don't push on anyone else. So back off! Right?
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#2 of 25 Old 04-23-2007, 07:36 PM
 
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Oh goodness, to you. I have no idea how to answer. I'm pretty harsh and my family and my DH's family knows pretty clearly that they are not allowed to say sexist/racist/homophobic things in my house or around my children, so if my dad were saying such things, he would lose the privilege of being a grandfather to my children. I know that's probably not a good solution and I hope someone else comes along with a much better post.
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#3 of 25 Old 04-23-2007, 07:39 PM
 
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I think you shouldn't stay at your parents' home anymore if they're not going to treat you with respect.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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#4 of 25 Old 04-23-2007, 07:41 PM
 
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RIGHT.

I know how hard it is when people gang up on you and try to live your life for you. It sucks, sucks, sucks, and is soo hard to deal with on a daily basis. I am really sorry your family has decided to make YOUR decisions all about THEM (I've been there, can you tell?).

As difficult as it can be, my best advice is to ignore as much as you can and neutrally deflect the rest. In my experience, people who get that worked up over nothing (essentially, since your decisions are your own, you're a grown woman with children who can take care of her d*mn self) are best left to their own nonsense and dealt with as sparingly as possible. No matter how logical and grand your arguments and defenses, it seems as though they will fall on deaf ears. Don't waste precious energy and time on people who's minds are so tightly shut a hurricane couldn't blow them open!

Basically what I'm saying is that you don't have to justify your choices in life to ANYONE but yourself. Period. Everyone else can take a physical or metaphorical hike!

Again, I'm so sorry this is going on. It's not right, it's not fair, and it's extremely cruel. I hope you are able to come to a solution that helps make things better/easier for you.
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#5 of 25 Old 04-23-2007, 07:46 PM
 
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I know how that is all to well. I'm white and my family are raciest. I grew up around nothing but dislike for people that were not white. Well I got involved with a black man. And WOW. My mom got over it quickly and welcomed him. My dad was different he would alway tell me that no self respecting white man would want anything to do with me after being with a black man. Well xbf and I had a child together and I did not ever tell my dad I was pregnant. Every time I tried to he would start to say things to me and I would chicken out. Finally my mom told him. When dd was born my mom called him to tell him about her birth and he said "So". My dad lives 10 hours away by car so I don't see him much. He soon got over it and welcomed my babies daddy and has loved my little girl just like a grandfather should love his grandchild. But I think what changed my dads out look is when he remarried he married a Philippine woman. My mom also called him out and called him a hypocrite. I now have a little brother and sister that are biracial.
I still deal with my mom's side of the family saying things that are not what I want to hear but I avoid them most of the time. She is my baby girl and I don't care what people have to say because I know I'm right.

Good luck with your dad and his mom. I hope they come around and realize that it is not worth a fight.
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#6 of 25 Old 04-23-2007, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I never EVER let racist comments slide when my kids are within earshot. Ever. But when it's just me and him (or them) I tend to just let them yell their little hearts out and go about my business. Right after my ex left and while I was staying with my parents, my dad kicked me out of the house because I wanted to continue homeschooling my kids. No, he didn't actually want me to leave, and my mother was VERY upset... but this was him pulling a power trip in an attempt to manipulate the choices I make for my children. Same with the computer... if you don't do what I say, you can't play with my toys, right? I just think it's insanely childish.

The thing is though... my dad is motivated by fear and by stress and by worry. My family really came through for me with my divorce. I would hate to cut any of them off, I just don't know how to handle this. My mom mentioned when I first started dating my SO that my dad would not be okay with it because he's Iranian... my response was, "Well, I was married to a blonde haired blue eyed california boy and that was a giant disappointment so..."

Bleh.
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#7 of 25 Old 04-23-2007, 08:05 PM
 
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Ouch. I have no advice on this topic, just sympathy. It sounds like a hard situation.

However, I want to mention that I've known some families in similar situations who found that the racist/bigoted/disapproving/etc. parents made a remarkable turnaround as soon as there were grandchildren involved. A high school friend of my mom's, whose dad fought in the Pacific in WWII, married a Japanese man. Her father didn't speak to them for years. But as soon as they had kids, he changed his mind and wanted to be a part of her life again.

I'm not saying that loving your biracial/mixed-culture/etc. grandchildren somehow makes up for being a bigot, but it can ease the tension you have to deal with as someone who's caught in the middle, IMHO.
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#8 of 25 Old 04-23-2007, 10:33 PM
 
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It sounds like he's on a serious power trip. And while I understand that you feel grateful that they've helped you out, as long as you allow him to speak to you that way, he will. That means standing up to him and saying "you don't get to dis-respect me like that" or "you don't get to speak to me like that" or "let me know when you're done with your tantrum and can speak to me like an adult" or however you want to phrase it. He is not going to change until you force the issue.

And while I agree with the pp that grandchildren can make a difference, it's no guarantee... my grandparents on both sides disapproved of my parents choice of eachother. But, so long as my mother was alive, things were civil. After my mother died, her parents threatened to fight my dad for custody of us. They only maintained enough contact with my father to get visitation, and once we were old enough to drive ourselves, cut all contact with him. My paternal grandmother bad-mouthed my mother in front of us (after she died) up until the point my sister told her that if she didn't shut up she'd never see us again (in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner).

My point being that counting on grandchildren to change his attitude is putting an awful big onus on those children. You really need to stand up to him and tell him he's out of line. And if he doesn't knock it off, maybe you need to meet your mother elsewhere so she can spend time with your kids without him.

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#9 of 25 Old 04-23-2007, 10:48 PM
 
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Hugs. No advice, just hugs.

Oh, and an FYI to the admin... we need a multicultural forum.

Trying to turn hearts and minds toward universal healthcare, one post at a time.
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#10 of 25 Old 04-24-2007, 01:31 AM
 
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oh, that is awful (your father's behaviour). Sorry I have no useful advice, just a to offer.


(We rarely post on the same threads, but I love your bug sigs )

nothing more to say I guess :
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#11 of 25 Old 04-24-2007, 01:40 AM
 
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My parents are racist. My mom cried and tried to disown me when she saw me kissing a black boy in high school. My ex is 1/2 NA and well, that was the cause of all his problems (never mind his mother taking him to mexico to sell on the black market). Some people will find fault in anyone, especially in a person their child is seeing, and if there is any "weirdness" - race, things like piercings, odd career, and add in a racial prejudice and all hell breaks loose.

Unfortunately, given your father's previous attitudes, it is my advice you stay away from him, as in no contact at all for any reason. Your kids don't need that kind of poison and neither do you.

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#12 of 25 Old 04-24-2007, 02:57 AM
 
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First:

Second, two pieces of advice:
1. Figure out the religion issue with your SO. If he won't convert to Islam, will he be willing/able to do any necessary rites of the religion? If he will convert to Islam, then no problem. Etc, etc. It sounds like you will have a wonderful life together and it's best to get this stuff sorted out before the wedding.

2. Your father does not want to be a part of your life and it is time to be a good daughter and respect his wishes. I recommend sending your mother a letter apologizing for how you will be seeing less of her because of your father's irrational behavior. Basically, call his bluff.

And, naturally,
pray.
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#13 of 25 Old 04-24-2007, 04:05 AM
 
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I think you are more highly evolved than your dad... really! Isn't that the way it is supposed to be anyway? I am not defending your dads behavior at all... it is childish and, well, stupid. What I am saying is that he is old and set in his ways... or digressing in his ability to rationally think things through. It happens to a lot of older folks. Anyway, maybe you can approach with compassion (definetely formulate a plan) and ask him for suggestions on how to best deal with the situation without having to break contact.... give hime the ball (and the power)... not that you have to do what he says, but you can give him some choices. If he continues to be a poopy head, then you have lost nothing.... maybe he will suprise you and/or you can talk some sense into him.

Nancy
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#14 of 25 Old 04-24-2007, 10:17 AM
 
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first,

second,
Quote:
ANYWAY, point is, my dad hates muslims.
So, then, your dad hates *you*, right?

I see it this way: Your dad already doesn't respect you for being Muslim. On top of that, he's not going to respect *any* decision you make. Him talking to you like he did about the computer was just his way of letting you off the hook, IMO. You no longer have to speak to him, etc., if you don't want to...he's given you an out.

If I were you, I'd take it. He has his own issues to deal with, and until he does, what is there to say between you?

Good luck.
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#15 of 25 Old 04-26-2007, 03:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well... I wouldn't say my dad hates me. He loves me very much, and feels bad about the way things are, but is just plain awful at expressing how much he cares for his family. So he does it by taking care of practical things and monetary things... Then occasionally he does something very touching that is unexpected. Like when I had an emergency c-birth and was coming out of general anesthesia, I had no pain killer and my mouth felt like it was full of sand... It was my dad that stood there hand feeding me ice chips and getting on the nurse's case about getting me pain meds after having just had major abdominal surgery. I know he cares, for sure. His attitude is irrational, it's motivated by fear, and he doesn't seem to know how to get his point across without acting out in an intimidating way. This is not me making an excuse for him, it just is what it is. I don't think I could cut him off completely. I love my dad and he really did come through for me this year. My whole family did.

BUT... He definately doesn't respect the choices I've made for myself, doesn't have much faith in my abilities, etc. etc. etc... So I think I might put some distance between me and my family for a while. I was planning on moving to VT, working FT and putting the kids in public school (and they love this idea)... but really, it's not what I want to do. I want to live somewhere where I can afford to keep only working part time and meet our financial needs. I want to homeschool my kids. They were going to start giving me $100 a week to help me out, but I think I'm going to put a stop to that. If I moved to VT, I could only do it with their help. I'm considering moving out to SLC and splitting a house with a friend. I could get the education I want there and keep doing things the way I had planned... the only thing is the distance would really upset my mom. I think in the long run though, it would be a good thing for me and for everyone. A little declaration of independence on my part might do a world of good.

Maybe?

Thoughts??

for the responses. Thankyou. <3
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#16 of 25 Old 04-26-2007, 11:01 AM
 
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awww sister, i'm so sorry you had to deal with that!

i defiently wouldn't be staying over at your parents anymore! my step-dad and i now have a astranged relationship, and it totally sucks, but just like in your sitution, my father can't accept me or my choild and dh too.

its VERY hard, and it breaks my heart into pieces,especially since all my siblings still live at home, i almost have to see them in "secret" (my siblings are all younger,from 17yrs old to 10)

as for my mom...i love her, and i'll never give upon her, but until my dad can accept me, its not happening.

i love my dad with all my heart, and it breaks me down almost daily to know that he isin't involved in dd's life,but sincerely and honestly until he can accept her he won't be involved..and truly everyone looses

i hope everything works out! hug:
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#17 of 25 Old 04-26-2007, 11:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa Lubner View Post
I'm considering moving out to SLC and splitting a house with a friend. I could get the education I want there and keep doing things the way I had planned... the only thing is the distance would really upset my mom. I think in the long run though, it would be a good thing for me and for everyone. A little declaration of independence on my part might do a world of good.
While I think there are many benefits to being close to family I think a little distance would be a good thing. Your dad loves you but his predjudice is causing him to act irrationally. I really don't think it is good to be close to people who don't respect you and believe in your abilities. It's hard but you can still have your family be part of your life without living with them.
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#18 of 25 Old 04-26-2007, 12:06 PM
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Has he not had a chance to meet your dad yet? Maybe if he saw him face to face it would shut your dad up. It's a lot easier to be mad at somebody you've only heard about.
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#19 of 25 Old 04-26-2007, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has he not had a chance to meet your dad yet? Maybe if he saw him face to face it would shut your dad up. It's a lot easier to be mad at somebody you've only heard about.
He will meet him this fall probably. My SO lives in Australia and will be coming for an extended visit starting in October. I can't wait to see him.
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#20 of 25 Old 04-26-2007, 01:37 PM
 
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#21 of 25 Old 04-26-2007, 01:58 PM
 
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This is hard, but is your dad getting up there in age/or is there history of problems like this in his family? I'm not saying this excuses his behavior...but the impulse control (saying whatever passes through his mind, rational or not) can have a biological/physiological root. If this is a relatively new (within the last few years for him) thing, then you mom might want to consider talking about it with their doctor, or get him to. It's really hard, when it's also rooted in real anger, but if your mom is saying that it's escalated recently, then there might be other problems than just him being a jerk working here.
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#22 of 25 Old 04-26-2007, 02:40 PM
 
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s


I didn't want to read and not respond but I don't really have any advice. My sister is in kind of the same situation you are, only she still hasn't told my dad she ever converted to Islam...
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#23 of 25 Old 04-26-2007, 02:57 PM
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He will meet him this fall probably. My SO lives in Australia and will be coming for an extended visit starting in October. I can't wait to see him.
What I meant was if your dad had met him when you met him and spent time with him (and fell in love and all that jazz). Sounds like he didn't. I would just tell him to reserve judgment and keep his mouth shut until he meets him himself.
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#24 of 25 Old 04-26-2007, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've thought about the possible biological/physiological thing... I haven't talked to my mom about it yet though.

I know what you meant secondseconds... the first opportunity for them to meet is this fall. Literally all my dad knows is that he's Iranian. He blew up before my mom could say anything else. My mom has met him and likes him.
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#25 of 25 Old 05-21-2007, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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*UPDATE*

My dad apologised. He knows he was acting like a UAV. According to my mom, he felt really awful. He was definately reacting irrationally just because of my SO's ethnicity, which is NOT okay, but he was motivated by fear for my well being. But yeah, he apologised. I think he feels sortof stupid about it now too, having gotten more information about my SO... How he wouldn't need to "use me" to get into the country, how he's an australian citizen, etc. etc. etc.
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