Bigoted Parents

4 Feb

Dear LetterBalm: My girlfriend is 21 years old and was raised by a wonderful single mom who successfully immigrated to the States and worked two jobs to take care of her kids. I’m a year older and the product of an advantageous upbringing. My parents are financially well-off, and I grew up in a fancy home, took nice vacations and went to good schools. My girlfriend has had to work her way through college, and she had to take a break to earn money for her siblings. She’s back at school part-time. She’s smart and hard-working, and I love her. I’m almost finished with my degree and have been hired to begin a good job in the fall. My parents aren’t good with my dating my girlfriend. They say she’s taking advantage of me and is “a Latina looking to marry a rich gringo” (that’s their description). Their comments are derogatory and narrow-minded, and I’ve told them they bother me. I’m in the middle of keeping on my parents’ good side and being loyal to my girlfriend. They give to charity and have a reputation as being concerned for those in need, but I’m embarrassed at their behavior – they make their feelings obvious when my girlfriend’s around. How can I tell them to back off?


Ms. L.B. can’t believe that this is the first time your parents have shown their bias. It sounds like these intolerant beliefs are ingrained in their DNA. As those who enjoy the world’s resources, your parents have a moral obligation to be kind and gracious to those less fortunate. But they are hypocrites who give lip service to people who strive to better themselves. You must be strong – you may have to stand up to your extended family, if the rest of the clan is as bad as your folks. If you plan to marry your girlfriend, you’ll have to set boundaries with your parents, and, sadly, recognize that they may never soften their views, even after grandchildren arrive. Meet privately with them and say this:

Mom and Dad, I’ve asked you here for a serious talk. Please listen – you’ve made your opinions quite clear, and now it’s my turn. I love you both very much and this saddens me to say this, but if you don’t stop your bigoted and hateful behavior toward Paloma and her family, I’ll be forced to end all contact with you. Will this be the saddest day of my life? C’mon. You’re my parents – of course, it will. But I can’t tolerate your cruelty any longer. I don’t know where this is coming from because you are active in the community toward those who are less fortunate. But I guess this concern stops when it concerns a potential member of your family. And, make no mistake – I love Paloma very much and hope to marry her. Can you rise above your prejudice and be kind and caring? I hope so, because we want you both in our lives.


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