I was at my in-laws this weekend. My father-in-law is an ex-NYC fireman who was injured on the job, and went out on disability. My mother-in-law was a stay at home Mom who has volunteered for her local Catholic Church every day of her life. They are both die-hard Republicans. And they are both die-hard racists. Now, if you called them a racist, they would get pissed. My father-in-law did get pissed at me the other day when he called a news anchor a "N___r." I was seriously offended and said, "Hey, nice Republican you are, calling some journalist a N." He angrily said to me, "Don't start that shit with me." My stomach turned.
What else could I say? I said, "Don't ever use that language around my kids, or I'll take them out of here," but I cannot change them. And these are people, blue staters, a union worker and a very religious woman, who should by rights be Democrats, but between abortion (for her) and civil rights and affirmative action for him, we will never have them. Or their other children either.
My husband's brother and sisters, all college educated, are Republicans too. They are all union workers too. They love their pensions, but vote for Bush and the Republicans time and again. They all use the "N" word, hate affirmative action and love the fetus over real live human beings. They watch how they talk around me, but once in a while, they slip. My family too: my parents would never use offensive words, but they don't want any minorities living in their neighborhood and rail against all the things "those minorities" get.
There are three issues:
- How do I get them to see how their language and beliefs about other races don't mesh with their religious beliefs??
- What do I say to get them to see that the Democrats would be the natural party for them, if they could just get over their absurd racism? Are they hopeless? Do I just give up? How do you teach people that others are not a threat to their way of life, that prejudices don't have a place in polite American society.
- How do I try to show that a devotion to the fetus is useless if one supports a party that spits on an impoverished newborn?
I am not trying to be holier-than-thou with our families. I am not trying to preach to them. I would like to show them by example and gentle speech that there is a better way to live ones' life than to hate their fellow Americans. Or are they just lost to us? Do we start with the younger kids, and write these people off? And how do we start with the kids if they are being infected by their parents' attitudes??