My boyfriend doesn't know his mother is racist. HELP PLEASE

  • Weird_Dude94

    Posts: 9

    Nov 29, 2015 8:04 AM GMT
    Hi Guys!
    I'm a black guy from South Africa in Cape Town and I've been dating my partner for a few months. His name's Roman and he's Swedish. A few days ago I met his mother who flew in from London and I thought she liked me til I overheard her talking to someone about me saying "What does he even know about this guy? There are so many good-looking white men here and he picks THAT! It's disgusting I can't even have my breakfast now. He must be happy he found a rich white boy to take him out of the dump he probably comes from"
    YES...that actually happened. I mean I take care of myself pretty well-I'm a scriptwriter for South Africa's biggest breakfast show (kinda like Good Morning America) but that's not enough . I've never felt so shitty in my life. She acts so nice to me, she smiles and cooks and gives me advice. She left yesterday but what do I even tell my boyfriend? He seemed so happy his mother "likes me".
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    Nov 29, 2015 9:12 AM GMT
    That sucks; I'm really sorry you're having to go through this.

    Take this with a grain of salt, as I can't really put myself in your place, but it's not uncommon for one's relationship with one's in-laws (I realize she's not that, but it's simpler to use that terminology) to be strained. Even mutual loathing is not unheard of. Whether or not this is something you can live with is for you (and Roman) to figure out.

    As for that, how important is his mother's approval to him, and how far ahead are the two of you looking as a couple? If your future together is something you both talk about, then it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to ask how he would feel and what it would mean for your relationship if she didn't approve; after all, it's not her feelings that matter here but yours and Roman's.

    On the other hand, if this relationship is about the here and now and you aren't making plans together yet, then whether you bring it up is more about whether you feel the need for his acknowledgment and support, and/or whether you feel this is something you want out of the way to make forward progress. If this is the case, I'm personally a proponent of the conscious use of the phrases "I feel", "I need", and "I want" where applicable (I've seen a lot of touchy conversations go sour from too much "you" and "they" and not enough "I"). It still might be good to gauge early on how important her approval is to him.

    If you don't know yet how important it is to you for him to understand then it might help to talk to someone you trust about it first, though I realize that can be touchy too.

    I wish I could say something more helpful, but I'm not great at asking difficult questions or delivering bad news myself either. You'll get through this, and be stronger for it; I wish this didn't have to be your particular trial, but I realize that doesn't help you. Good luck. icon_sad.gif

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    Nov 29, 2015 9:17 AM GMT
    they probably already know she is racist. it was a testing and you passed. you should talk about it with your partner.
  • Nhlakz

    Posts: 149

    Nov 29, 2015 12:17 PM GMT
    Askies...u shud talk it out with ur bf and c how he handles all these..u need to sort things out with ur partner...u cant change ur skin color.. And remember that not everyone is going to like u..discrimination is a reality in these world we live in.
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    Nov 29, 2015 2:07 PM GMT
    Weird_Dude94 saidHe must be happy he found a rich white boy to take him out of the dump he probably comes from"
    YES...that actually happened. I mean I take care of myself pretty well-I'm a scriptwriter for South Africa's biggest breakfast show (kinda like Good Morning America...

    Does she know that about you? I would have invited her to be a TV audience member, or even a behind the set guest to the show, if you could arrange that. Introduce her to the show's stars and key staff. Her notion of you living in obscure poverty in a "dump" or slum would likely be reversed. Seeing is better than hearing about it, and the glamour of the TV set is irresistible to some.

    Better if she could accept you solely because her son does, with no "proofs" or validation required, but sometimes you have to play their game by their rules. From my former military perspective I've found that tactic the most effective - whatever accomplishes the mission, even if you have to swallow your own pride.

    I've had to do that a number of times with the relatives of my BFs. Even with the friends of my current partner, who were wary of me at first and protective of him, as they "circled the wagons" around him for his protection against this unknown character. Today almost 9 years later they thank me for having come into his life, and have become my own friends, as well.

    I can't advise whether or not you should discuss and possibly strategize this with your BF. I don't know him, nor his relationship with his mother (he could be highly resistant to any criticism of her and become gravely offended - beware coming between a gay son and his mother). Perhaps better to devise your own outreach program to her for your future contacts. As I learned myself with families & friends, you gotta sell yourself to them as much as to the guy you wanna win.
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    Nov 29, 2015 2:29 PM GMT
    If she lives on a completely different continent you probably won't see much of her so I wouldn't bother telling the bf.

    You're only 22. I doubt this relationship will be long-lived, but if it happens to run long term, you'll have plenty of time to win her over.
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    Nov 29, 2015 4:41 PM GMT
    If I were you, I would say something to him. Unless he grew up away at boarding school I don't see how he couldn't have grown up in the same house, & never heard his mother make a racist comment. At the end of the day, he clearly doesn't feel this way, & if it's to become a long term relationship you're going to need to talk about it. Besides, it sounds like it's really effecting you, as it would to anyone. Good luck
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4435

    Nov 29, 2015 4:52 PM GMT
    UndercoverMan saidIf she lives on a completely different continent you probably won't see much of her so I wouldn't bother telling the bf.

    You're only 22. I doubt this relationship will be long-lived, but if it happens to run long term, you'll have plenty of time to win her over.

    I agree. Just leave it alone if you don't have to be around her. If you two move forward towards something permanent, my guess is she will 1) either say something to him or 2) have learned from you what an ass she has been. It is kind of like the gay revolution happening here-- the tide of opinion has swung our way as straights learn that they know and have liked a gay person. Of course not all have come around, and maybe she's truly a bitch, but she'll show her colors soon enough.
  • Benz4756

    Posts: 8

    Nov 29, 2015 4:59 PM GMT
    Here is my 10 cents worth.
    Don't know what type of person you are but some of us sit back and 'wish' and 'hope' things change. Keeping quiet with that inner pain will eventually hurt you both as you both are lying. She being the hypocrite and you knowing it and pretending you didn't. How good is that if you see yourself in that family long term?...as you will interact with her again if it lasts. Truth always outs and how you do it counts!
    The choice really is yours. I find that you NEVER get a full resolution to a problem by telling OTHER people than the perpetrator about it . She is now far away from you so a well penned letter or phone call could fix that divide. You are a writer and sound sensible so take a page from around you and look at the local and world's leaders and see when they have issues they 'meet' and trash them out. THAT is your responsibility and what she takes away from that discussion and does thereafter, is hers.
    FYI...Her son, your partner should also know! He is a part of the equation.
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    Nov 29, 2015 5:12 PM GMT
    Have an open and caring conversation with your partner about race and racial hegemony. Don't even mention his mother. She was polite to your face so she knows the score. You're probably not going to get far disparaging his mother. In moments when you hate her enough to carve her heart out, remember the wonderful gift she gave you, her son.
  • metta

    Posts: 39133

    Nov 29, 2015 5:14 PM GMT
    Would confronting your bf about this help the situation? Would confronting the mother about this help the situation? I don't think so. It could hurt the relationship between you and your bf or hurt the relationship between him and his mother. I would suggest just giving her more time to get to know you. Hopefully her views will change over time.

    I guess it is possible that she would change if she is confronted about it but you would probably not really know since she would probably put up a front if she did not.

    If you think he should know then tell him. But I think that there are occasions that some things are better left unsaid.
  • SilverRRCloud

    Posts: 873

    Nov 29, 2015 9:12 PM GMT
    The great tragedy of racism and other very hierarchical worldviews is that these tend to harm the holders as much as they purport to harm those whom they are directed against.

    I grew in an ultra liberal environment of social arch conservatives who strongly believed that everyone was entitled to his opinion. No one ever felt obliged to agree with such views but you were well within your good right to believe in racist, anti-semitic or whatever similar theories were being debated at the time.

    So, I started my adult life by learning how to shrug with my shoulders, and mind my own business, leaving other people and their attitudes to their own devices.

    But I have always been a good observer. So, I kept watching our friends who were racists, anti-semites, etc. The corrosive nature of their beliefs soon started harming them substantially.

    We live in an acutely anti-hierarchical world. People are super sensitive towards those who propound very hierarchical views, and sooner than later start treating them as organic enemies of the system. Social ostracism on many levels follows very quickly.

    No need for any action. This problem usually tends to resolve itself on its own.

    SC
  • craycraydoesd...

    Posts: 596

    Nov 29, 2015 9:15 PM GMT
    SilverRRCloud said...So, I kept watching our friends who were racists, anti-semites, etc. The corrosive nature of their beliefs soon started harming them substantially.

    We live in an acutely anti-hierarchical world. People are super sensitive towards those who propound very hierarchical views, and sooner than later start treating them as organic enemies of the system. Social ostracism on many levels follows very quickly..


    That would explain why racists like Radd and MMTM have no life outside this forum icon_lol.gif
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    Nov 29, 2015 9:37 PM GMT
    Why should he confront the bf? He's not the one saying the offensive remarks nor can you expect him to change his mother. She is what she is. If she can remain cordial and respectful when dealing with you face-to-face there's no need to make this into an issue. Now you know what you're dealing with which brings me to another point: Why were you eaves dropping? As soon as you realized the conversation was between her and someone else and not for your ears you should have cut out.
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    Nov 29, 2015 9:43 PM GMT
    UndercoverMan saidWhy should he confront the bf? He's not the one saying the offensive remarks nor can you expect him to change his mother. She is what she is. If she can remain cordial and respectful when dealing with you face-to-face there's no need to make this into an issue. Now you know what you're dealing with which brings me to another point: Why were you eaves dropping? As soon as you realized the conversation was between her and someone else and not for your ears you should have cut out.


    wow, only on RJ would someone make it about the eavesdropping. It's like those threads where OP finds out his BF is cheating, and some douchebag goes "why were you snooping!?? it's none of your business who your bf sleeps with when he's not sleeping with you!"
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4865

    Nov 29, 2015 10:53 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    Weird_Dude94 saidHe must be happy he found a rich white boy to take him out of the dump he probably comes from"
    YES...that actually happened. I mean I take care of myself pretty well-I'm a scriptwriter for South Africa's biggest breakfast show (kinda like Good Morning America...

    Does she know that about you? I would have invited her to be a TV audience member, or even a behind the set guest to the show, if you could arrange that. Introduce her to the show's stars and key staff. Her notion of you living in obscure poverty in a "dump" or slum would likely be reversed. Seeing is better than hearing about it, and the glamour of the TV set is irresistible to some.

    Better if she could accept you solely because her son does, with no "proofs" or validation required, but sometimes you have to play their game by their rules. From my former military perspective I've found that tactic the most effective - whatever accomplishes the mission, even if you have to swallow your own pride.

    I've had to do that a number of times with the relatives of my BFs. Even with the friends of my current partner, who were wary of me at first and protective of him, as they "circled the wagons" around him for his protection against this unknown character. Today almost 9 years later they thank me for having come into his life, and have become my own friends, as well.

    I can't advise whether or not you should discuss and possibly strategize this with your BF. I don't know him, nor his relationship with his mother (he could be highly resistant to any criticism of her and become gravely offended - beware coming between a gay son and his mother). Perhaps better to devise your own outreach program to her for your future contacts. As I learned myself with families & friends, you gotta sell yourself to them as much as to the guy you wanna win.


    Suppose he were to get his BF's mother's address from his BF and write her a letter. It could be a very nice, if not completely honest, letter in which he could say how much he enjoyed meeting her. Then it could ask her if she minded being an a character in a TV script he is writing. Perhaps he could include in the letter a link to one of his TV programs or a DVD. This would provide her with an indication that he is responsibly and productively employed.

    Such a letter could conceivably change his BF's mother's attitude although I would not count on it. But at least he would have the satisfaction of taking positive action even if it doesn't work.
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    Nov 29, 2015 10:58 PM GMT
    I'm more in agreement with the ones who say don't say anything to the boyfriend. How can he not eventually find out? His mother is sure to say something to him sooner or later.

    And if you do tell the boyfriend, what can he do?
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    Nov 30, 2015 12:05 AM GMT
    Aqueerius said
    UndercoverMan saidWhy should he confront the bf? He's not the one saying the offensive remarks nor can you expect him to change his mother. She is what she is. If she can remain cordial and respectful when dealing with you face-to-face there's no need to make this into an issue. Now you know what you're dealing with which brings me to another point: Why were you eaves dropping? As soon as you realized the conversation was between her and someone else and not for your ears you should have cut out.


    wow, only on RJ would someone make it about the eavesdropping. It's like those threads where OP finds out his BF is cheating, and some douchebag goes "why were you snooping!?? it's none of your business who your bf sleeps with when he's not sleeping with you!"


    Only aqueenius would think it ok to eavesdrop on another's private conversation.

    And for the record adults in adult relationships do not snoop. They deal with their suspicions with their partner directly and decide if they want to stay in the relationship.
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    Nov 30, 2015 1:33 AM GMT
    The key issue here is not why he overhead the conversation. The issue needing the opinion from the community is how he should handle the hurtful comments. One guy will challenge them openly while another will not say anything and hope that time changes the situation. I doubt there is a right or wrong approach providing one realizes the consequences of either action. What the OP does will likely depend on his personal world view. Good luck.
  • JackNNJ

    Posts: 1051

    Nov 30, 2015 3:58 AM GMT
    Tell him. Then forget about it.
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    Nov 30, 2015 4:03 AM GMT
    I'd have called her out. I'd also have let my bf know what his mom said too. It's disrespectful to both you and him if she's being two-faced.
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    Nov 30, 2015 4:15 AM GMT
    If you live long enough, you will overhear people talking shit about you more than once. It will happen far more times that you do not overhear.

    Whether or not you choose to throw it in the face of the one person that you happened to overhear is not the question.

    The question is whether you should allow it to affect how you live your life.
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Nov 30, 2015 4:26 AM GMT
    I'm sure you didn't hear by mere accident of over hearing her conversation .... tell your bf and you will play right into her hands
  • sinfakos

    Posts: 43

    Nov 30, 2015 4:45 AM GMT
    I think the great majority of advice here has been good (ignore the chiding about eavesdropping though). I especially liked the one about inviting her to see you at work. There are people who are biased against another group of people because they're ignorant about them due to having little personal contact with them, & they may have heard negative things about them. It is very possible that a native Swede would fit in that category with regard to black Africans (though someone who is bigoted against 1 group tends to be bigoted against other groups, but at least apparently she's okay with gays, so I'm thinking she's not hopeless). More exposure to you might have a similar result as it did to your boyfriend (minus the sexual part) and can disabuse her of her stereotypes. However, don't try to hard: just be your likeable self. She may come around eventually.

    The other alternative that I thought was good was just being frank with your boyfriend (possibly even with his mother, though I think that could be difficult). Whichever way you feel more comfortable with.

    Good luck!
  • Apparition

    Posts: 3525

    Nov 30, 2015 4:57 AM GMT
    I would have actually confronted her at that point with "ya I know right? I know I will have to pay for everything we do since he doesnt have much money considering what his parents do for a living, but for some reason I still love his sorry ass." and walked away.