So, I have family visiting. I wouldn’t recommend watching election returns* with your very knee-jerk conservative-libertarian family members, or discussing immigration with them, unless the liquor at your house is plentiful. I’ve been getting through the week with wine and chocolate, but every night I ask myself why I’ve got nothing harder around.
At some point I may write a longer postmortem about this visit, but for now I just wanted to put it out there that my family (who I don’t see very often, due to geography) is/has become way more openly, unapologetically racist in recent years than I remember from childhood, and it’s been freaking me out all week. How racist are they, you ask? Well, someone used the term “wetback” in a ha-ha/nostalgic sort of manner, whilst advocating for self-deportation of “people who know they’re illegal” and ranting about how “it USED to be a PRIVILEGE to be an American citizen.” I mean. This is just a sample of the madness I’ve been dealing with this week. It’s the tip of the crazy iceberg.
And the thing is, I really can’t debate things like that rationally. Logic goes out the window. As soon as my husband or I point out an Actual Fact, someone comes back with “well why don’t we just OPEN THE BORDERS and LET ALL THE MURDERERS VOTE!”
So, given that there’s no chance to challenge any of these opinions using calm, factual discussion, and really no chance of changing people’s minds…I guess I’m looking for other advice on how to deal with my family and their comments. Especially when this stuff begins to happen, as it inevitably will, in front of my two kids. Because having children raises the stakes quite a bit, and my family filters NOTHING. We just kind of let it all hang out. It’s kind of a point of pride.
And if you advocate limiting or cutting off contact due to crazy unapologetic racism, I’d like to hear about that too. In all seriousness. I don’t know if that is on the table for me, right now, with these particular family members, but I find myself wondering more and more if it’s ever justified. Have you done it yourself? Would you? Under what conditions? How bad does it have to be before you say, you know what, my kids just can’t be around THIS?
* It’s not being talked/written about as much as I would like, but: President Obama won 73% of the Asian vote in 2012. I’m basically going to be talking about this from now until the end of time. I want it on my tombstone — you all are my witnesses.