Reader Question: My Husband is a Racist

by | Jul 1, 2019 | Resolving Conflict, Uncategorized | 47 comments

My Husband is a Racist! When his prejudices are hurting your family

What do you do if your husband is a racist, and his beliefs cause rifts in your family?

I’ve got a bit of a heavy reader question today!

It’s Canada Day here, but I’m going to publish a post today and then take Thursday & Friday off for the July 4 weekend, since most of my readers are American. But Happy Canada Day to all of my Canadian friends!

And here’s our question. A woman writes in that her daughter is dating a person of color, and the step-father is reacting badly:

Reader Question

I got married a year ago to a wonderful man, moved both of my children and myself into his home. Everything has been great but my daughter recently started dating a black boy and we are white. Now my husband, her step father will not talk to her, says he has zero respect for her and will not allow the boyfriend over. She is 18, and I’m afraid will move. My husband has no give and states that if she marries him or has mixed children they will also not be allowed in the house. What do I do as a mother?

Wow. Just wow.

Okay, let me try to deconstruct this for a minute.

Watch that we don’t perpetuate racism without realizing it

I understand that this woman does care about her daughter and doesn’t see anything wrong with her daughter’s relationship, which is great.

However, there are two things that concern me with this question. The first is that she refers to her daughter’s boyfriend as a “black boy”. Historically, adult black men were called “boy” to subjugate them. It is offensive and wrong to refer to an adult as “boy”, especially in this context. Even if it may be culturally normal to call young adult black males “boys”, it’s best to stop. The term is laden with all kinds of baggage, and calling an adult “boy” is not appropriate.

The second is that she calls her husband a wonderful man, when he is a racist who is refusing contact with his step-daughter and saying that he will not let any mixed race children in his house. By definition, then, he is not a wonderful man. You could say something like, “He always treats me well,” or “we have fun together” or “he has always acted lovingly towards me”, which may all be true. But by definition, a racist like this is not a wonderful man. To say that he is is really saying that a person can be wonderful AND be a racist at the same time, and they can’t. If you’re a racist, you’re no longer wonderful. You also do not have the Spirit of Jesus in you, because, as Paul famously said in this cornerstone verse:

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 

Galatians 3:28

NIV

We must stop making allowances for racists. We must all make it absolutely clear that such beliefs are contrary to the gospel; contrary to peace; contrary to God; contrary to right thinking anywhere. They are not acceptable. They disqualify you from normal society. They are simply and utterly wrong.

You Are a Unit: You Don’t Have to Let Him Call the Shots

The second point is another red flag I saw in her letter. She states:

I got married a year ago to a wonderful man, moved both of my children and myself into his home. (emphasis mine)

She’s talking like this is still “his” home. It may have been his house when they married, but once they are married, it is “their” house. He should not have the right to unilaterally decide anything like this, especially since it’s about HER daughter, just because it’s “his” house. If anything, the proper response would be: 

“This is my home, and my daughter’s home, and she is welcome to bring her boyfriend here. If you are uncomfortable with that, you can leave while they are here. But I will not banish my own daughter from her home.” 

Will he agree? Perhaps not (in fact, likely not; if he is this racist, he’s likely sexist too). But it’s important that whether or not HE understands that this is your house, YOU understand it. When you feel that “this is his house, and we are only using it by his benevolence”, that will affect how you act towards him. When you feel instead that “this is OUR house, and we are a family,” you’re more likely to stand up for what is right, stand up for your children, and not accept or enable selfishness

Your First Responsibility is to Protect Your Children

Whether it’s a first marriage with your child’s biological parent, or a second marriage with a step-parent, your first responsibility is to protect your children. Yes, our first priority should always be to the marriage, because the marriage determines the health of all other relationships. But while the marriage is a priority, the responsibility is actually to the children. Children’s well-being trumps everything else, and when children are in danger, your job is to protect them.

In this case, I would encourage the daughter to move out, and I would support her in that. You need to get her away from her step-father, because he is not a psychologically safe person for her at all. If she cannot live on her own yet, then I would go with her, along with your other child, and support her, and separate from the husband for a time (if not permanently). He needs to reap what he is sowing. He is sowing division and discord and hatred; if he reaps division in his family, that is on him, not you. The daughter’s needs are paramount here.

If she were to marry this man, and have children, then your responsibility turns towards the grandchildren as well, and it is vitally important that those grandchildren never feel “less than”. If your husband insists on keeping those grandchildren from his house, or if he eventually allows them but treats them badly because of their skin colour, that is not a safe environment for those children. 

Quite frankly, this is an awful situation, and I don’t completely know what I would do. But I am quite sure that I would not tolerate a man who would banish my grandchildren from my own house simply on the basis of their skin colour. I would have to draw boundaries or say something. I want to make it clear that this is never, ever acceptable, and goes completely against Scripture. Such attitudes show that you are not part of the body of Christ. 

If drawing boundaries is something that confuses you, or you’re just not sure how to do it with your husband, my book 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage can help!

Do You Have a Difficult Time Standing up to your Husband?

God wants us aiming for His will. That sometimes will mean that we need to confront our husbands when they’re doing something wrong.

Struggle with how to do that? Are boundaries a difficult concept for you? 9 Thoughts can help!

I do not believe in separating simply because your husband is not a Christian, but I do think big steps have to be taken when the safety, including the emotional and psychological safety, of children and grandchildren is at stake. I believe that this falls into that category. I would hope that it could be resolved before anything drastic had to be done, but in this case, their emotional well-being comes first, I think.

My Husband is a Racist: What to do when his prejudices are hurting the family

What do you all think? What should she do about her racist husband? Let’s talk in the comments!

[adrotate banner=”302″]

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Comments

We welcome your comments and want this to be a place for healthy discussion. Comments that are rude, profane, or abusive will not be allowed. Comments that are unrelated to the current post may be deleted. Comments above 300 words in length are let through at the moderator’s discretion and may be shortened to the first 300 words or deleted. By commenting you are agreeing to the terms outlined in our comment and privacy policy, which you can read in full here!

47 Comments

  1. Colleen Gleason

    Sounds like the woman did not know the man for very long before she married him or ignored the racist behavior he had while they were dating. Not much help towards solving the problem but a good lesson for people learning from the outside. Don’t get married too quickly without doing life together and certainly do not ignore red flag behavior in your desperation for love and marriage.

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      I think that’s such a great point, Colleen. Especially if you live in a less diverse neighbourhood/community/city where a racist person may be able to hide due to the lack of racial diversity, I think it’s really important to actively look to make sure you know not only what he/she SAYS he/she believes about discrimination or how to treat others, but that he/she actually is someone who does not discriminate in business, personal friendships, or in how they talk about others.

  2. John

    In the US, the last three years have taught me many unfortunate things about people and evangelicals in particular. Related to racism and sexism:

    1) There are varying levels of racism and sexism. One does not have to openly hate minorities to be racist, nor openly hate women to be sexist.

    2) Most people who are racism and/or (usually and) sexist don’t realize that they are racist and/or sexist.

    During the height of the BLM movement, I had a very good conversation at our white church with one of our few black members. Nicest guy you’ll ever meet. He helped me better understand things that are indeed racist to minorities, things that we as white people often do and don’t think about. It was eye-opening to say the least.

    Recently, I’ve also realized through the help of your writing, Sheila, just how badly sexism has pervaded the church and how my own thinking had been clouded for years as a result.

    I’ve described both epiphanies to others like this: “You don’t see it until you see it, and when you see it you can’t believe you never saw it.” It’s unfortunate, though, because you have to be WILLING to see it. And so many people just aren’t.

  3. Anon

    Sheila-please don’t perpetuate the fear so many “white people” have of being called racist when we say ANYthing by over analyzing the moms use of the word boy. My guess is that she also calls her daughter a girl.
    So frustrating to feel that no matter what we say it’s misconstrued as “racist”. The last 10 years have been horrible for race relations in the US. The media has taught my kids that race is an issue where I tried to teach color blindness. (By the way, that’s not ok either according to people)

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Anon, I think the equivalent to “girl” is “guy”. I don’t think we should call grown women girls, either, but I can see calling an 18-year-old a girl (though I’d prefer young woman). Saying she’s dating a black guy has a very different connotation, at least to me, than saying she’s dating a black boy, especially when he is an adult.

      I do think that when a term is so very value laden, we do need to be careful. “Boy” is really value laden when you apply it to someone black. It just is. I think that we need to be aware of that and treat our brothers and sisters in Christ in love. If black people do not like the term, then I think we do owe them some deference. If we have a word that we could very easily not use that would cause people to feel more included and that we value them, then why wouldn’t we do that? There’s no problem not using the word boy, but instead using the word guy which has no racial overtones. I just think it’s a matter of loving your neighbor as yourself!

      • Lea

        I think boys and girls goes together to and I suspect the mother was thinking more of her childs friends as a child, rather than a man, even if they are both 18 (or older).

        I don’t think it hurts to remind people that calling a black man ‘boy’ directly is racist and has a terrible history. I’m not sure this was how it was meant here, though.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          It very well may not have been meant that way. I just think we do need to be careful with how we use it. But she may not have been thinking that.

          • Anon

            Two more things. I’m getting to the point that I’m so afraid to be around anyone of a different race or ethnicity (for fear I might say the wrong thing accidentally) or to speak if I am around them. How does that create better race relations?
            Also, I honestly as a woman in my forties don’t really care for “woman”-which has also been used derogatorily (men calling women “woman” while ordering them around. I wouldn’t assume that of someone tho if they said that.
            Everyone is offended by everything now.
            I’m not trying to be argumentative at all here, just pointing out that anything anyone says can offend someone if they’re looking to be offended.
            The tone of the writer’s letter tells me that she meant nothing negative towards her daughter’s boyfriend. She’s already dealing with legitimate racism in her midst. I hope she doesn’t add guilt onto her problems.

      • Molly

        While i understand what you’re saying about the phrase “black boy” and i agree, i use the term “boys” for males up to early adulthood. My sister is dating a22year old, and i still refer to him as a boy. Especially because he’s also her BOYfriend, not GUYfriend. I also collectively call my son’s boy scout troop boys, even though some are very close to 18.

    • Pamela Memmott

      I don’t understand how addressing an instance of racism is perpetuating fear. It would be the same as complaining about someone addressing sexism because not all people are sexist. True, but many are and it’s those people the message is referring to.

    • John

      But Anon, that’s the problem – race IS an issue. Racism IS an issue. Just being “color blind” doesn’t solve the problem. It takes us as white people calling out racism when we see it, not ignoring it and just being OK with the thought that “we’re not racist, we’re color-blind.”

      Don’t blame the media. That’s a cop-out.

      • Lindsey

        Blaming media for increased racial tension in the US is not a cop-out, because the media (news and entertainment) pushes a narrative absent of facts. Here are some facts that mainstream media tends to not mention when race relations are being discussed: statistically, everyone who suffers a violent crime is more likely to suffer it from the hands of someone of the same race, but black Americans commit more violent crimes against white Americans than vice versa(despite only being about 12% of the population). Police officers are (based on statistics of shootings) more likely to shoot and kill a white man than a black man, but are more likely to be shot and killed by a black man than a white man. Black on black violence is the leading cause of death among black men in many major US cities. None of these facts warrants mention – and in fact if someone tries to mention them they are often labeled a racist. Why? Because they don’t support the narrative that says everything bad happening to blacks in the US is because of slavery/racism/police brutality. Now, all of those things are truely horrible, but slavery was outlawed nearly 100 years ago, civil rights equality was legalized fifty years ago. There isn’t “institutionalized racism”, there are only racist people. But sometimes there is a lot more perceived racism than actual racism. Case in point: when I walk alone, I cross the street whenever I see ANY man, because I am alone. But I have very frequently heard this exact scenario mentioned by blacks as “proof of racism”. Why? Because a black man might be more inclined to view me crossing the street through that lense, whereas a white man is more likely to see it through the lense of gender – which is what the actual motivation is. Sometimes racist people hold positions of authority, which is terrible, but then again, how often are people who are simply jerks perceived as being racists when they act that way towards people of different races? No doubt their is racism in the US, and racist people are a scourge on our society. By the way, this happens in all colors. My husband went to a school that was 70-80% black, and he was treated badly by many black students because of his race. Hatred and discrimination doesn’t belong to one race or one gender. It is time for people in the US to reject the intersectionality movement that makes a person more valuable based on the perceived victim status of their group, and not based on the merits as an individual. And it’s time for politicians courting race votes, and the media which leans the same direction as those politicians, to stop race-baiting the country, telling portions of the population that they are victims and other portions that it’s their fault based on no deeper knowledge of those individuals than their race. It’s time for the US to have a frank discussion among its black community (and its white community which is increasingly suffering under the same problem) about the tragic side effects of fatherless homes – which includes increased violence, lower education, more sexual promiscuity, and higher incidents of substance abuse. Every race is valuable in the eyes of our Creator, and has within itself the same potential, but in order to realize that potential we must not view ourself as a victim (either collectively or individually) but as someone capable of understanding cause and effect, and take responsibility for our own choices.

        • Lindsey

          Btw, the issue with the actual writer is 100% racism, and he is a complete ass for behaving that way, and I don’t mean this post to lessen the pain people feel when they are treated that way by racist individuals. I cannot truly understand it because I’ve never had that experience(although my husband has). I only want present a more balanced view to the comments about racism and the effect that the media and those often viewed as being “on the side of minorities” has had because of their denial of the facts.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            I think you were writing your reply at the same time as I was writing my reply to you! 🙂

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            I also want to say that I think this very much depends on where you live. I grew up in Toronto, where I was the minority. Race wasn’t an issue in the same way; we all had friends of different races; we dated people of different races; we honestly didn’t think about it that much. My daughter and son-in-law go to a church right now in Ottawa where many marriages are inter-racial.

            On the other hand, we moved to a small town that is almost all white, though with a large Asian community. It’s been very jarring for me to live here for 20 years. Very different from how I grew up.

            When we travel in the U.S. we see very different cultures, too. In Baltimore, we went to a church very much like the one my daughter goes to. But most churches I speak at in the U.S. are heavily one race or another. There doesn’t seem to be as much mixing in U.S. churches as there is in Canadian churches, and I find that odd.

            I actually hope we see more interracial couples, in some ways. I think the more mixed race everyone is, the less all of this will be a problem! (I realize that’s a simplistic statement, though).

          • Anon

            Lindsey-👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
            Thank you!

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Lindsey, I do hear what you’re saying. The problems we’re facing are VERY complex.

          And whether or not people agree with the Black Lives Matter movement, or the cause of black poverty, or whatever (and I totally understand people have different views on those, and I’m not even going to talk about mine because I don’t want to get into politics), I think one thing we can all agree on is that personal racism, on an individual basis, like this man is obviously exhibiting, is wrong.

          That’s one of the dangers of our overly politicized culture. Something that is totally obvious might be right in front of us, but we can be afraid of making the obvious conclusion in case it gives “the other side” brownie points.

          I think we’d be able to advance dialogue about a lot of these complex problems if we could at least all acknowledge the obvious problems on each of our sides.

          Does that make sense?

        • Arwen

          Lindsey, what are you babbling about? This is a post about a white family being racist to a black man and you go out of your way to remind people what’s in your heart by pointing out the sins/speck in the black community when there is a Log in your own community. I’m really disappointed in Sheila for even allowing your unnecessary comment to go through.

          I’m sure it’s not the direction she wants her comment thread to take but i can debunk everything you just typed. It’s unfair for you to type those lies and sit there unchallenged on your assumption about black people. Sheila doesn’t get a lot of POC readers and some of the comments on here sound like a racist gossip gathering of let’s expose all the wickedness of the black community, when the article she posted had NOTHING TO DO THE THAT.

          Racism is racism whether black people sin or not. Neither you or anyone gets their racism excused because black people are sinners. I’m really hurt by your comment and will think twice about recommending this blog to my POC friends, and i have a lot of them. The topic of discussion was dealing with a racist family member not let’s have a racist fest of mentioning all the ways black people are evil.

          • Lindsey

            Dear Arwen,

            I sincerely apologize for offending you. My comment was truly not about the post (in fact, I had a follow up comment that didn’t go through were I really tried to stress again that personal racism was abhorrent, but that my comment was directed towards the commenter who claimed that blaming the media for increased tensions was a cop out. I only listed those statistics because I felt it served to illuminate the fact that the media portrays a very one sided story that doesn’t really cover the facts well, and that doesn’t help anyone, even minorities. I love people regardless of their color, and I judge people based on their personal choices, and not their color. My intent was not to lump all black people together, which I wouldn’t agree with, but simply to point out where the media paints a certain picture and it has a negative effect simply because it’s unbalanced. Again, I whole heartedly agree with Shelia’s handling of the topic, and I am 100% anti – racism. I believe that the issues I listed in the black community stem from broken families, and that all races who suffer from a high level of dysfunctional family units will have the same results. Regardless of race. As Shelia said, the solutions are complex, but I believe that they begin with each one of us accepting that we cannot change others treatment of us, but we can change our life by making smart choices and working hard. I tried to post again and it didn’t go through, and I was hoping to clear up my position a bit more with that post. However, I really hope this one gets through because I want to apologize to to, Arwen, because it hurts me to know that I caused you pain, as that sincerely was never my intent, and I don’t disagree with the way Shelia handle the reader question AT ALL. In addressing the commenter regarding media bias it made it appear that I disagreed with Shelia’s take on racism, which I do not, and made it look like Shelia tolerates racism, which I’m certain that she does not. Again, please accept my apology, and know that I believe other people’s sin cannot excuse racism or any other sin on my part, and neither do I believe that any race is predisposed to anything evil more than any other or that any race is superior – I do not. As the Apostle Paul said, Christ died for sinners of whom I am chief.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Thank you, Lindsey!

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Arwen, my policy tends to be to let everyone have one or two goes at a controversial subject before I cut anything off. If you look at all the posts I’ve written about submission and marriage, you’ll see that that’s what I tend to do, even if the comments can be hurtful towards women. I think it’s important to debate ideas.

            I do think understand that policy solutions are highly complex, and definitely worthy of debate. What is NOT worthy of debate is interpersonal relationships, which should always be based on Jesus’ instructions to love your neighbour as yourself. I hope that EVERYONE can agree that this type of behaviour on behalf of this man is abhorrent, and I believe Lindsey did say that.

        • Mae

          YES!!! You are dead on with all of the above!

          Getting back to the use of “boy”:

          I have lived my entire life in the American Deep South. All males, including white ones, are routinely called “boy” down here. It wasn’t until I was grown and watching Yankee-produced TV that I realized “boy” had a racist connotation for anyone! There are lots of terms used by white people to mean one thing, construed by black people and whites from outside the South to mean something else. For instance, children in our home were grouped by the following age/developmental stages:

          *Lap baby (infant)
          *Knee baby (standing baby)
          *Porch monkey (a toddler large enough to play on the porch by themselves, but generally restricted to the porch; climbs, hangs on things and peeps through rails)
          *Yard ape (big enough to play unsupervised in the yard; runs about, makes lots of noise, climbs trees, throws things)

          I never heard them used to refer to black children until I was grown and watching Law & Order! I suppose people hear the “monkey/ape” part and wrongly assume we mean “black”, just like they hear “boy” applied to a black male and assume we don’t also call white males the same thing.

          I call, and teach my children to call, all adult males “sir” or “the gentleman” if they don’t know their names, teenagers and younger are “boys”. I prefer to consider all people potential friends until they prove themselves an enemy.

          Sadly, my own experience has been that girls are more likely to be groped, sexually harrassed and physically assaulted by black males than by white males, so I probably would be extremely cautious about permitting my daughter to date one, too. It comes back to protecting my child, just as you mentioned, Sheila. Again, this has been my personal experience. Other people’s experience, and therefore reasoning, may be very different. I’m fine with that, so long as they don’t attack me as “racist” for NOT ignoring national crime stats and my own experience in my decision-making process. Blessings to all!

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            I think the problem, Mae, is that saying that you would be hesitant to let your daughter date a black man because you think he’s more likely to sexually assault her is, quite frankly, very offensive. I think that when we, as white women who have never had to deal with people having automatic assumptions that we are dangerous or evil simply because of how we look, make those assumptions in the name of “logic” we can accidentally perpetuate the kinds of mentalities that we want to see go away in society. We can’t simultaneously say, “let’s stop racism” and also be perfectly comfortable saying “I wouldn’t be as comfortable with my daughter date a black man as I would a white man.”

            The reality is that even if the stats prove what you are saying, stats mean nothing to the individual. So why not embrace the man with open arms unless he proves himself to be a danger? What does the colour of his skin have to do with who he is as a person? If you’re hesitant simply because of the colour of his skin, unfortunately that is the definition of prejudice. That’s the red flag that I’m seeing there.

            Saying that you prefer to consider all people potential friends until they prove themselves an enemy and then in the very next breath saying that you would be hesitant to let your daughter marry a black man is just self-contradictory. It’s one or the other: either everyone is welcome equally or some people are automatically welcome and others have to prove themselves worthy simply because of their skin colour.

    • Meghan

      People are telling you and others to see color because color exists. Acting like “you don’t see color” just means you’re denying cultural differences exist, and that’s not ok. Children need to be taught that yes, there ARE different “colors” and that’s a great thing, and also means there are cultural and perhaps even religious differences to be honored. And also for those of us who are white, that we may not get some of the hardships that others have faced.

      • Madeline

        I totally agree Meghan! Loving one another also means honoring and appreciating our differences, which includes cultural ones.

    • Madeline

      “Color blindness” is a problem because it is erasing a significant part of a person’s identity. Yes, of course people are people everywhere and we all need Jesus equally, but we also have cultural, racial, etc, differences. I am from a family that is a mix of white and Taiwanese. To simply ignore either side of my family background is to tell me to keep quiet about something that holds significance to me and my family. Of course in Galatians Paul tells us that we are all one in Christ and there is no Jew or Gentile, but Paul was also incredibly bold in standing up for the Gentiles who were being judged by the Christian Jews when the Jews were trying to force their Jewish practices such as circumcision on the Gentiles. My point is that pretending cultural and racial issues don’t exist, when they clearly do, is not biblical.

      I’m not trying to accuse you as personally thinking this way, but it has been my experience that those who call for a “color blind” society and think we should never address racial issues when they arise, they really want the minorities to be silent and just act more like the majority.

      • Madeline

        I don’t know if my reply went to “Anon,” but this was meant to be a reply specifically to that comment, not the post in general!

        • Anon

          Madeline-
          To me color blind just means that that’s part of a person. Not their value. That’s one aspect of their person not their sum total.
          Due to what they heard in the media my kids were AFRAID to mention if someone was black. I’m not kidding. I had to come up with a way to let them know that’s not an insult. I did NOT teach them that. (Someone in this thread pounced and attacked me as using the media as a cop out)
          I told them they were allowed to describe someone as black just like you would say they had black hair or their eye color.

          No matter what you say or do someone is offended. I give up.

  4. Amanda

    My only objection here is that you’re equating racism with “openly awful behavior toward black people.” Because racism is systematic, we all have racist behaviors and beliefs, and saying racist people are bad encourages those of us who want to be free of racism not to look toward whatever entrenched ideas we have, because we don’t want to think of ourselves as awful. Perhaps I’m not explaining well – I highly encourage you to read the book White Fragility.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s very true, Amanda! I would say, though, that some behaviours just are awful, and I do think there are degrees of racism. While everyone may have residual racism, what this guy is showing is far more than that, don’t you think?

      • Amanda

        Oh yeah, I don’t disagree with your assessment. This is openly discriminatory and he’s not trying to correct his poor assumptions.

  5. Erin

    Wow, what a tough situation! It would be so hard to wake up one day and realize you unwittingly married someone toxic for your child and future grandchildren. I definitely feel that if she isn’t going to get herself out of the situation, she needs to make every effort to support her daughter getting out. But I wouldn’t be surprised if her husband refused to let her use “his” money to help her daughter move out. She needs to realize that if her daughter marries this man, she will be caught in the middle forever. I think the entire relationship between her and her husband needs an honest reevaluation. I’m willing to bet he isn’t so great in other areas and she has refused to see it. Maybe some sessions with a good therapist would help her work out her own self worth and boundaries and help her see things as they really are and not clouded by her emotions. Her emotions are all tangled up with this man and it can be so hard to be truly honest with yourself when strong emotions are involved.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Totally agree, Erin!

  6. nylse

    Sounds to me like the wife is a racist also; she just never thought they would have to deal with this and is now making her husband the bad guy. Racism stinks. She is married to an ignorant man and I’m sure there is some regret. Be that as it may, he doesn’t get to make unilateral decisions about her daughter. She needs to find a backbone and speak up for her sake and her children’s sake
    Also, the daughter in this situation is not blind to what’s going on. She may be pushing buttons at the black man’s expense, which is unfortunate. I hope the black man does not become embroiled in this family’s situation. I would like to tell him to run – far and fast.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I hear you, Nylse! This doesn’t sound like a great dynamic for that poor young man to have to deal with. But I know nothing about their relationship, and maybe it’s a good one. The main thing, to me, is how can the mom show her kids that it’s not okay to treat someone as “less than”. Just awful.

  7. Madeline

    Wow! Sheila, I know this is a tough issue, but thank you so much for speaking up so boldly! “We need to stop making allowances for racists.” Amen!

  8. Ashley

    Okay, here are my thoughts. This is horrible, and this step-dad is a real jerk. The mom should absolutely support her daughter.

    I do think there is a possibility that you could have read the mother wrong about a couple of things. Her calling the guy “boy” and the part about them moving into the husband’s house. I know for so many the word “boy” is a racial slur. But that’s not where my mind goes at all with that word, so maybe that’s not how this woman is thinking either. You could be 100% right, but I just see another possibility here, if that makes sense. Also, it’s generally hard for mothers to view their young adult children and their peers as anything but kids. 🤷‍♀️

    My other comment is about them moving into the husband’s house. Again, you might be completely right. But I think it’s possible she was just saying that she made the move, rather than him. I have used similar language before.

  9. Lea

    They’ve only been married a year?

    I feel like this is likely the tip of the iceberg, and if she can’t sit down with him and explain how insanely wrong everything he said is and how that won’t work, and get a really positive and active change? She probably needs to get out while the gettings good, and before they get any more entangled.

  10. Arwen

    If i was the black man i would run far from his girlfriend and her dysfunctional family. With all the wonderful women out there why settle with one who already comes with unbearable baggage. I don’t know anything about his girlfriend other than she’s 18 and i hope she’s mature enough to stand up to her parents otherwise the headache is not worth it. And Sheila thank you for being culturally aware on the history of the word “boy” when referenced to black men. Also i’m not surprised by a lot of your white women readers reaction to this post. I expected them to find some problem with the story. Not surprised at all!

    • Lea

      “With all the wonderful women out there why settle with one who already comes with unbearable baggage. ”

      This makes me really sad for the daughter though. It sounds more like her mom married the wrong guy, which says nothing about her.

    • Bumblebee

      If she sets up healthy boundaries with her step-dad (as in “stay completely out of my life until you become a decent human being”) then her boyfriend won’t have to choose between leaving her and being subjected to a jack-*ss of an in-law.

    • Madeline

      Like others have said, the girl can draw healthy boundaries and refuse to repeat her family’s dysfunction. People from tough family situations shouldn’t just be tossed aside for that reason alone. That’s so heartless.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I had unbearable baggage, too! 🙂 I think the key thing with baggage is: “Does the person recognize they have baggage? Are they willing to do the hard work of putting the baggage behind them and breaking the pattern?” If they recognize the baggage and can name the problems and are dealing with it, that’s a very different thing than having baggage but trying to run from it, or saying that your family is messed up but never really confronting IN WHAT WAYS it’s messed up and how that’s affected you.

  11. Arwen

    Also many people deny being racist until it comes home to them. Like this family, probably didn’t think they were racist until a child of theirs brought home a none-white person. It’s usually like that. They’re fine with POC people until one of MY child marries one. That’s when the heart is truly exposed.

  12. Nathan

    Part of Revelation 7:9

    there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.

    God love ALL of us equally, no matter our color, race, ethnicity, etc.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That always gives me goosebumps! Imagine the singing, too!

  13. Rebecca Lindenbach

    Hello all,

    Maybe it’s because we’re Canadian, but we did not expect this post to hit such a nerve. We’ve decided to close comments to stop the conversation while it is still at a helpful point.

    We’re a little concerned that other sites are going to get sent this post and we may start to be attacked by certain websites who have targeted us in the past. So we are preemptively shutting down the comments section since we just don’t have time to vigilantly monitor what is coming in.

    I do feel I have to say that as a Canadian, it is very disconcerting how comfortable people are making blanket statements about a whole people group simply based on their skin. And to our POC readers, I hope you feel safe, valued, and validated on our site!