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My family are racists, where do I go from here?

(24 Posts)
BearBrickX3 Thu 14-May-15 15:43:51

A few weeks ago I was visiting my Mum and step Dad, my sister came round for dinner and we were chatting, having a nice meal.
Then my sister came out with this remark -

"That Tory woman wants anyone with mental health problems to wear a wristband, horrible Paki should go back to where she came from".

My jaw dropped and we argued, I agreed that the policy was shocking but as an educated person my sister should be able to argue without resorting to the colour of the woman's skin. She then told me that I didn't understand what "They" are like, which is ridiculous as she lives in a tiny predominantly white village in the north and I live in a city further south which is much more multi cultural. Plus my closest friend (who supported me through post natal depression, while my sister told me I should snap out of it), is of Indian decent. So I do know what "They" are like and "They" are like me and everyone else.

What upset me more was that my Mum didn't say anything, she just sat there. My step Dad made a smart comment straight away "Where from Norwich"? But then he stayed out of it as I don't think he wants to fall out with my sister.

I finished my dinner and went to bed early. The next day I met up with my sister to see if we could talk it through, but she brought a friend with her and they both made faces at my parenting while they let their children misbehave. So I left and we haven't spoken since.

She tried to phone me, but I didn't answer as I was at work. Not wanting to phone her as I wasn't ready to have that conversation, I called my Dad. My sister thinks I'm annoyed with her because my children were being naughty that day and our kids fell out. I told my Dad and he said I was being ridiculous, that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I said that racism isn't an valid opinion though, choosing which party to vote for is an opinion, haircuts are an opinion, racism is HATE. My Dad then went on to say that I'm being the thought police and thats what the Nazi's did. Apparently I should agree with my sister as I've had mental health problems, which makes me want to scream "FUCK OFF" I can disagree with someone's ideas without wanting to rid the country of everyone who's not bloody white.

So my sister is clearly a racist and my Dad agrees with her. My Mum isn't saying anything and I don't know if I want to have the coonversation to find out as she's the only one left and I need her.

I feel utterly disappointed with all of them, I'm not sure I can look at any of them the same way. I don't want to see them and I'm avoiding the phone.

I don't know how I can move past this with them, has anyone got any advice? I've always been very close with my family.

Twinklestein Thu 14-May-15 15:54:29

Just ignore them and carry on regardless.

They don't sound very nice.

geekymommy Thu 14-May-15 16:04:48

There are certain subjects that I make sure to avoid when talking with my parents. Race and politics are among them.

You aren't going to be able to convince a racist not to be racist. It just isn't going to happen. Your options here are to stay in contact with them despite the racism, or to not have contact with them.

PeaceOfWildThings Thu 14-May-15 16:04:55

well said OP, but how on Earth have you got to your age and only just found out?

I'd be buying them gifts from India and Pakistan from now on. When they come round, give them Persian and Indian recipe food and drink and drop cultural reference whenever possible. Wear a sari! Go on, I dare you! grin

GinSoakedBitchyPony Thu 14-May-15 16:07:21

It seems odd that you've only just realised that your sister is racist?

Spanglecrab Thu 14-May-15 16:11:26

I stood up to a racist who is in the same circle of friends as me this week and the fall out from that was bad enough. I feel for you but have no advise in regards to your family. flowers

Spanglecrab Thu 14-May-15 16:13:56

People aren't born racist. The problem starts between the ages of 2-102 so why be puzzled? It could be a new partner's influence or our old friend Nigel's fault

BearBrickX3 Thu 14-May-15 16:19:04

Twinke, they usually are nice, thats the problem.

Geeky, that's my problem.

Peace, Gin, I'm almost bloody 40 and while I knew my Dad has form to say some quite offensive things (he usually does it to wind people up), I didn't think he actually meant it. My sister hasn't said anything like this before, which is what I find so shocking, she's my generation, we've had the same upbringing, yet she thinks this is okay.

Maybe I should start bombarding them with texts indicating all the things India and Pakistan have brought to this country.

Firstly "No more curries for you then?".
And "You'll need to get rid of that rug, it's tainted with "Them""

Rebecca2014 Thu 14-May-15 16:21:31

Are you wanting to disown your sister because of that one comment?

My brother sounds the same but I am not going to cut him out of my life or cause a rift, I just ignore him when he makes a racist comment.

She is entitled to her opinion. I think it is very silly you want cut your sister and step father out of your life, you could end up pushing your mother away if you do decide to take this route.

BearBrickX3 Thu 14-May-15 16:31:38

But Rebecca it wasn't just one comment, it was a whole argument and a whole way of thinking that utterly disgusts me.

My Step father isn't racist, he made a smart comment then backed out. It's my Dad thats backing my sister up (I have an extended family).

How do you get past it with your brother, do you tell him he's wrong, or just ignore it totally? Does he then think it's okay and you agree?

BearBrickX3 Thu 14-May-15 16:32:17

Spanglecrab, how did you get past it with your friends?

Spanglecrab Thu 14-May-15 16:38:58

Only happened on Tuesday. It's nobody that I'm fond off. I would happily loose an acquaintance than spend time in the company of a racist. I'm not sure what I would say if it was a member of my family.

geekymommy Thu 14-May-15 17:26:56

How do you get past it with your brother, do you tell him he's wrong, or just ignore it totally? Does he then think it's okay and you agree?

You're still thinking there is something you could say to make your sister see that she is wrong. Most likely, there isn't. Give up on the idea that you can, it's extremely unlikely to happen. Talking things over with her later isn't going to help, either. If you want a relationship with her, you're going to have to be able to let things like this go, or at least not say anything about them to her.

AGirlCalledBoB Thu 14-May-15 17:33:14

My grandfather says some comments that could be seen as racist comments but I am not about to stop speaking to him completely. He knows how I feel about his comments, we have argued enough times but he is not about to change his view and neither am I. He is a good man really and is very good with his grandchild, myself included, the racist comments are however a massive fault.

We just avoid talking about race and politics altogether and if he says something I disagree with I just roll my eyes and walk away. Not worth the hassle trying to debate with him.

peggyundercrackers Thu 14-May-15 17:45:00

tbh it sounds like you want the moral high ground - the comments that you live in a multi-cultural city and you have an indian friend make it seem like your trying a little too hard. seems more like sibling rivalry to me because you think you are better than her.

your sister is entitled to her opinion - shes doesn't need to think like you do. stop trying to change her to your way of thinking, shes an adult and can think for herself and make her own opinions up.

as for your thoughts on txt messages - they are very immature for a 40yr old...

BearBrickX3 Thu 14-May-15 18:06:32

Spangle, I think the same.

Geeky & BoB I think you're right, talking with her won't help. I guess if I want a relationship with her I'll need to ignore that part of her.

Peggy, you did make me LOL, thats must be it, sibling rivalry, Bahahahaha

geekymommy Thu 14-May-15 18:22:39

Most reasonable people would agree that you do have the moral high ground here. But your sister may not think that, and if she does, she might not be willing to lose face by admitting it to you.

Don't text spam them- that would be childish and annoying. Being childish and annoying is really unlikely to get someone to change their opinion. Even less likely than rationally arguing her out of her racist views.

You don't have exactly the same upbringing as her- no two people ever do. You've had some experiences that she hasn't, and vice versa.

AuntyMag10 Thu 14-May-15 18:29:18

I agree with Peggy. Just talk about something else. You won't change them and cutting them out is just a bit overdramatic.

nauticant Thu 14-May-15 18:31:53

I've heard some shocking things from members of my family. However, I never thought they have needed to be re-educated in order for me to interact with them.

Things are working out well. The family is (surprisingly) becoming multi-racial and with school-friends and neighbours from a range of cultures there is a growing awareness that people are, in fact, just people. This has enabled me to see that the unpleasant attitudes are mostly coming from pure ignorance and fear of the unknown.

stabbypokey Thu 14-May-15 20:11:40

It is shocking the racist drivel that comes from my parents' mouths (baby boomer generation) and it is worsening with age.

When they occasionally come out with a comment that really does stop me in my tracks. I have said 'that makes you sound really stupid'. It doesn't go down well. Most of the time I look shocked but ignore the comment and change the subject.

DemelzaandRoss Sat 16-May-15 18:22:23

I am a hated baby boomer. I have NEVER ever ever been a racist. Young & old can hold these awful opinions.

Coyoacan Sat 16-May-15 19:44:45

Hard when it is your sister.

I don't know but I think opinions are not always combined with actions. I've known some lovely bigots in my time. I was once hitch-hiking in the USA in an isolated spot on a cold Autumnal day and got a lift from a North-American Indian who said he hated white people (and you can't get much whiter than I am), took me home to his family, fed me, gave me a place to sleep and took me out to the highway in the morning.

Effendi Sun 17-May-15 08:27:20

My Mum is terribly racist. She would call Asians 'Our coloured brethren'. When I told her it was offensive she changed it to 'Ethnics'. I despair but just ignore.

PuellaEstCornelia Sun 17-May-15 08:36:49

My FIL was racist and homophobic. Eventually, I started saying 'if you believe that, it's fine, but not in front of me, please' Even more effective was 'and nor in front of my children, or I won't bring them round'. May well have been emotional blackmail, but he kept his gob shut after that!

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