My family and I are sponsoring an adult refugee to come live in our community (not in the U.S.). We don’t know this person and have never met or spoken to them; we’ll meet for the first time when they arrive and are very excited about it. We’ve made plans for housing and material needs for our sponsee, but in the interest of privacy, we haven’t told many people we’re doing this yet. My concern is our in-laws and extended family. This person will be a big part of our lives as we help them adjust financially and socially to our community. I don’t know how my husband and I should tell them and handle the inevitable xenophobic disapproval. Everyone in our extended family is straight and white, except for our newcomer. What sort of script can we use to inform our family?
Furthermore, what should we say when people inevitably direct racist comments about our sponsee to us? Our situation has been written up in the news, without our knowledge or consent, implying that we’re contributing to the housing crisis in our city. We’re not—we’re setting up our own unique housing situation and paying for everything—but that shouldn’t matter anyway. I am very comfortable with making other people uncomfortable in the interest of calling out bigotry. My husband, however, is not, so even with his family, I know I’ll have to take the lead. But in this situation, I don’t exactly know how to lead.
—Preparing for Racist Reactions