Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Engaged to a racist

Carolyn Hax on

Dear Carolyn:

I am engaged to a great guy with many wonderful qualities and I am looking forward to spending the rest of my life with him.

But he is prejudiced against one specific race, which also happens to be the race of several of my ex-boyfriends. He works in law enforcement, so part of me wants to attribute the racism to the fact that he has seen this particular race do many horrible things that I haven't. This seems like a pretty trivial thing -- we all have some sort of bias or prejudice -- but it's getting to the point where I can't even talk to a member of this race in a work meeting about a work-related project without my fiance turning it into a huge fight and accusing me of trying to be a liaison for all [race] people.

He doesn't think he's doing anything wrong, and I end up being the one to apologize and try to fix things -- even though I don't think I'm doing anything wrong either. The amount of time and energy we have spent arguing about this race is downright embarrassing.

I know you can't change anyone, you can only change yourself, but short of moving to a commune in Massachusetts, I'm not sure what I can do. This seems like such a small thing to break up over, but it also seems like something I can't argue about for the rest of my life.

-- Fiancee

 

First thing I'll do when I finish this column is send my forehead some flowers.

If thinking you're superior by birth to an entire group of humans is "trivial," then what exactly is significant?

Do your [race] ex-boyfriends also wave off racism as "such a small thing"? Since they ... haven't lost out on jobs for being [race]? Or been the butt of dehumanizing jokes? Or been looked down upon as a less-worthy other, wordlessly so as to deny them any recourse against it? Or received harsher punishments than non-[race] classmates for the same antics?

Or been pulled over and interrogated for no discernible infraction besides driving while [race] by your "great guy" [race]-prejudging fiance?

...continued

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