My boyfriend’s parents ignore race. Why should I teach them?


I am a Métis student and identify as Black. For the past year, I have been going out with a white man. We’ve never had a problem with the breed – until now. When I first met his parents, before the big Thanksgiving family feast, his father told me that being Métis is “the best of both worlds”. I did not follow. So he explained: You are “really white”, but you get the perks of being black in college admissions and diversity hiring. I was stunned! My boyfriend, on the other hand, doesn’t see the problem. He says his parents have no idea of ​​the breed, and it’s our job to help them figure it out. But I am not interested in this job. I canceled my Thanksgiving visit, and now my boyfriend is mad at me. Advice?

TRACEY

Your boyfriend and his dad both owe you apologies for different crimes. Let’s start with the father. His claim rests on the ugly premise that being white is better than being black. It is not “insane”. It’s racist. It is also naturally upsetting and it is certainly not your problem to solve.

Now your boyfriend is not responsible for his parents’ opinions. But a decent partner will step in when you have been criticized. Your boyfriend should have asked you immediately if you wanted to correct his father or if he should. And even though he missed the horror of the commentary, his gleeful assumption that you’ll take responsibility for his parents’ racial upbringing is legitimate and callous.

Everyone makes mistakes, and relationships often involve telling our partners what is obvious to us. (I can even imagine he felt protective of his father.) That’s no excuse, though. And this is your call. If this boyfriend is worth it, make it clear to him how he and his dad offended you. If he still can’t see it and apologize, that’s a huge red flag.

I am the mother of a healthy 1 year old baby girl. Since birth, she has grown taller and weighed more than most babies her age. Her pediatrician is happy with her growth rate and diet. Yet when we meet new people they often say how “huge” she is. A woman exclaimed viciously that she was taller than her 4 year old child. These comments bother us. Most importantly, they make us fear that our daughter will become embarrassed about her size. How do you let people know that these comments are dead on arrival?

MOM

I rarely get as much angry mail as when I ask readers to stop commenting on other people’s looks. I am accused of being politically correct and stealing from people who like to receive compliments on their appearance. But I support advice that keeps others from feeling bad. (A lot of people have complicated relationships with their appearance. Why go into this?)

It will be some time before your daughter actually understands what someone is saying. And I suspect that hearing her mother in an unpleasant conversation with strangers about her height will be more unsettling for your daughter than hearing you say, “We are delighted that she is so healthy and so healthy. I would leave it there.

Recently, I reconnected with a friend from high school. We had a few dinners with mutual friends. For one, she showed me a photo of the man she’s dating. I told her I was happy for her, even though he looked sketchy. (He can never meet on weekends, for example.) A little while later, the man messaged me on a dating app. I reported this to my friend immediately. She was livid, but finally she forgave him. Earlier this year, she asked me if I had heard from her again. I told him no. But now he messaged me a second time. What should I do? I would hate to burst his bubble.

FRIEND

I probably wouldn’t have told a new acquaintance that the guy she’s seeing originally texted me. You are not that close. You told her, and she seemed to like it. She even followed up, asking if he had contacted you again.

Definitely report the new contact. Your friend made it clear that she wanted to know. Just because she forgave him once doesn’t mean he has a free pass forever. And you are right: you are probably going to “burst his bubble”. But she may as well know that a bubble is all she has.

Back in Broadway Theaters: What should I do if I’m sitting next to a stranger at a show and they fall asleep and start snoring?

BETH

When I was young and shy, I would cough or have another small concussion to try to wake people up who were snoring. Now, ironically, I’m more sleeper-friendly and also more direct. I pat them on the shoulder and whisper, “You snore. No strong emotions! Sometimes it’s hard to stay awake, but that doesn’t give others the right to interrupt our experience.


For help with your sticky situation, send a question to [email protected], Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.



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