Moms and Maids

Vent: I think my FMIL is a racist

A bit of background:  I was adopted as an infant.  I'm black; my adoptive family (who I really just refer to as my family) are white aside from some biracial cousins.  My FI is white and so is all of his family.  

My FMIL has always been a bit distant to me.  But she's a bit chilly to my FI as well; he says that's just who she is.  It hasn't been a big deal, since she lives nowhere near us.  But she's come to visit us for a week (her idea - she wanted to see where we are with wedding planning) and I'm picking up on a really unsettling vibe.

My FI proposed using his paternal late grandmother's ring, which his father gave him for the proposal (FMIL and FFIL are divorced; I get along great with FFIL).  FMIL made a comment about how it was good he hadn't asked for her mother's ring, since her mother wouldn't have wanted it to go to someone like me.  Okay, ouch, but she didn't say she shared that opinion so I let it go.  Then, I heard her laughing on the phone with someone about how she's going to have to give her future grandchildren Oreos and take them to the zoo to see the zebras.  I asked my FI to talk to her, and he said that she said she was sorry and she hadn't realized how it would sound.  

But today, when we were talking about dresses, I showed her one that I really like from the Alfred Angelo Disney collection - one of the Cinderellas.  And she immediately pointed to the Tiana dress, worn by a black model, and asked if I didn't think that would be more appropriate with my hair (which I wear in dreads).

I cannot wait until this woman leaves.  I am so glad she and FI aren't close, since the less I have to do with her the happier I will be.  FI feels awful about all of this and keeps saying that she's never made a comment about my race to him and that maybe if I spend more time with her she'll come around.  But I don't want to spend special, getting over your racism time with her.  I just want her to go away.

Re: Vent: I think my FMIL is a racist

  • JediElizabethJediElizabeth member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited October 2015
    A bit of background:  I was adopted as an infant.  I'm black; my adoptive family (who I really just refer to as my family) are white aside from some biracial cousins.  My FI is white and so is all of his family.  

    My FMIL has always been a bit distant to me.  But she's a bit chilly to my FI as well; he says that's just who she is.  It hasn't been a big deal, since she lives nowhere near us.  But she's come to visit us for a week (her idea - she wanted to see where we are with wedding planning) and I'm picking up on a really unsettling vibe.

    My FI proposed using his paternal late grandmother's ring, which his father gave him for the proposal (FMIL and FFIL are divorced; I get along great with FFIL).  FMIL made a comment about how it was good he hadn't asked for her mother's ring, since her mother wouldn't have wanted it to go to someone like me.  Okay, ouch, but she didn't say she shared that opinion so I let it go.  Then, I heard her laughing on the phone with someone about how she's going to have to give her future grandchildren Oreos and take them to the zoo to see the zebras.  I asked my FI to talk to her, and he said that she said she was sorry and she hadn't realized how it would sound.  

    But today, when we were talking about dresses, I showed her one that I really like from the Alfred Angelo Disney collection - one of the Cinderellas.  And she immediately pointed to the Tiana dress, worn by a black model, and asked if I didn't think that would be more appropriate with my hair (which I wear in dreads).

    I cannot wait until this woman leaves.  I am so glad she and FI aren't close, since the less I have to do with her the happier I will be.  FI feels awful about all of this and keeps saying that she's never made a comment about my race to him and that maybe if I spend more time with her she'll come around.  But I don't want to spend special, getting over your racism time with her.  I just want her to go away.

    Oh my god. She sounds incredibly ignorant, and that's the most generous and way to describe her.

    Thank goodness she doesn't live nearby or interact with you and you FI regularly. I hope she's gone soon.

    To the bolded: don't. It's not your job to be an ambassador of your race. She needs to educate herself, and your FI should be having those conversations or giving her the right resources.
    MairePoppymollybarker11
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Ugh. I'm so sorry. I had a racist grandmother but didn't realize it until my biracial brother came over one day in her early stages of dementia, so I agree with PP about the consequences if you choose to expand your family. But first and foremost you and your FI must be on the same page. It's not your job to convert the racists, regardless of who they are. However, as his mother it is his job to manage conflict with her and let her know her behavior is rude, uncalled for and will not be tolerated. I would continue the conversation with him on a regular basis. Use a counselor if it helps.
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  • OP I agree with PP's, your FI needs to stand up for you and your relationship to his mother. It is not your job to educate her just because you were born of a certain race. 
    Honestly I don't know how you haven't told her to just shove it yet she sounds like the queen of passive aggressive racist remarks. Sorry you are having to deal with this.
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    MairePoppy
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Your FI needs to step in on your behalf.  I'm glad that he said something once before when you overheard her hurtful comments.  But he needs to reinforce to her that you are the most important thing to him and he won't tolerate her treatment of you.

    But I also think you don't have to sit by and say nothing.  Dear Abby always has a great comeback when someone says something that is hurtful and its to turn it back onto the rude person.  That simple line is "Why would you say that?"  Then just stare waiting for the answer.  

    That answer probably won't ever come, but it could start identifying in her mind things she should not say out loud.  You probably can't stop her from thinking those thoughts, unfortunately, but maybe she would stop saying them out loud.

    I'm sorry this is something you have to deal with.  This is something no one should have to deal with.
    MairePoppyHeffalump[Deleted User]lc07
  • Wow, I'm so, SO sorry you are having to put up with such ignorant behavior from your FMIL. Bu I'm glad to hear that your FI stood up against his mother for you and your relationship. And also that he called her bluff on not coming to the wedding. BRAVO. If she decides to come, perhaps she would have checked her awful behavior. If she doesn't come, you are better off despite her being your FI's mother. You two do not need someone that poisonous and hateful in your new lives together. And especially if you have children in the future--I definitely would not want someone like her around my children!

    Good luck to you in your wedding planning! Try to enjoy the journey as best you can!
                                     Wedding Countdown Ticker

                                                   image
    mollybarker11
  • drunkenwitchdrunkenwitch member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited November 2015
    I just want to chime in and say you are not being over sensitive or overreacting, those comments were... I have no words. I'm happy to see your fiance listened to you and has your back. Good luck, and change your user name (it's hard to keep all those knottie number user names straight) and stick around, I think you'd like it round here.

    [Deleted User]
  • edited November 2015
    HUGE red flag. Honestly, all wedding plans should be on hold until this is worked out because there's no way in hell I'd join this family knowing this, especially if I'm expecting to have children at some point. Don't you worry about how she'll treat your kids and make them feel self-conscious about who they are?? I'm sorry, but life is tough enough without someone like that being their grandmother. Unless your fiance is willing to cut all ties with her until she gets her act together, I'd put the wedding on hold.

    ETA: Sorry, I hadn't seen your update when I wrote my post. I'm glad your fiance stood up to her and that she's leaving early. Disgusting.
    Blue_Bird
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    I'm glad you talked and that he stepped up. And I'm sorry she is a collasal bitch. Hopefully either she will come around or you won't have to be around her much and have to deal with that shit regularly. Ugh. Big hugs!
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited November 2015
    justsie said:
    OP I agree with PP's, your FI needs to stand up for you and your relationship to his mother. It is not your job to educate her just because you were born of a certain race. 
    Honestly I don't know how you haven't told her to just shove it yet she sounds like the queen of passive aggressive racist remarks. Sorry you are having to deal with this.
    I agree with this 100 per cent. Your fi needs to stand up to his mother and tell her that any disrespect toward you will permanently damage her relationship with him. He should never, ever back down. 

    You also should take a stand when she spouts off with this bullshit. Call her on it - every time. Embarrass her. No one should politely tolerate racist comments.


    ETA, just read your update. You have a fantastic fi. Good job. It's good that your FMIL left early - it shows his words had some impact. I hope she thinks about her behavior and comes to the realization that she should change. 

                       
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    OP, thanks for the update! I'm so happy that you and FI were able to talk this through and set boundaries with his mom. I'm hopeful that this can help her see the error in her ways. I have a friend who had very racist, born in the woods of Missisppi family, and they did change when she refused to end her relationship with her then boyfriend. 10 years later, and many friends, boyfriends, and friends kids later, they're a very different family.
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    JediElizabethHeffalumpCMGragain
  • Give her a chance.  She might go home, think about it, and mend her ways.  I am guessing that she is most worried about what her friends will think.  Time will also show her that race is a non-issue in marriage these days.
    If she continues her behavior in your presence, you and your FI will have to set up boundaries.  You will need to protect any future children you have from her.
    The ideal outcome would be for her to change her behavior.  It could happen.  Good luck!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    MesmrEwe
  • LD1970 said:
    RlovesR said:
    After all, she's not just some random cousin we can leave out of dinner parties. She's his mother.



    Point of order:  Just because she's his mother doesn't mean you can't leave her out of dinner parties.  You CAN.  You can cut her out entirely.  And I can tell you, if my mother said such horrible things about my H and it didn't change FAST, I'd be dumping her ass and never speaking to her again.  Mothers are not exempt from being cut off from relationships when they're assholes.
    Remember, shared DNA doesn't give people the right to treat you or your FI this way.
    [Deleted User]MairePoppy
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