- How do I tell my parents about my black girlfriend when they are racist?
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- How do you get your parents to accept your girl who isn't the same race as you? | IGN Boards
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I will say that moving out greatly improved my relationship with them. When you see each other less often, when you don't feel the daily sense of obligation or guilt-tripping or accusations of cultural betrayal or whatever they heap upon you, it gets better. I feel like I relate to my parents as another adult now, because I am more mature and have gained considerable perspective, and it is frankly the best our relationship has ever been.
But that took time and distance I suspect it might be the case for you as well. Oh, right - thanks, jacalata. In that case, I agree with Sara C. At 23, you're way waaaay too old to let your parents dictate your dating life. Seriously, people get married at that age. If you don't stand up to them now, this seems likely to turn into a lifetime of them calling the shots. If I were you, I would be doing everything in my power to move out and live with friends for the last year of school.
You've been legally an adult for 5 years. It's the only way I got to live a normal, adult-appropriate life. I know that, in your case, there are underlying cultural issues that I don't know much about, so I'll leave it at that. For those suggesting that the OP should tell his parents: But you're not abiding by their rules, you're lying to them. Move out if you can. If you can't, come clean if it won't impact your tuition, and take out a loan to cover your living costs if you need to. When people say 'at 23, you are old enough to do x', what it seems to mean is 'at 23, you are old enough to be able to move into an environment that you control, so you should be able to make your parents agree that since it is possible for you to leave and do x, they should just let you do x and stay in the same comfortable supported position'.
The risk is that the parents will call the bluff and say sure, go ahead and leave. This is why, if he thinks it's at all likely for the parents to respond this way, he should not start openly rebelling unless he's not actually bluffing about leaving and paying his own tuition. Can't speak for anyone else, but I didn't mean that.
On the contrary, I think it's impossible to 'make' anyone agree to anything. I think that 23 is too old to be living under your parents' roof, accepting their financial support, and lying to them. If I were the OP, I would either find a way to move out and support myself for the final year go part-time and work part-time, if I had to , or cut back on seeing the girlfriend because yeah, no parent is going to believe you're sleeping at a platonic friend's house 4 nights every week.
At the moment, he's running into trouble because he's having his cake and eating it. Trust me, I can see the attraction, but something's gotta give. It is not unusual for Indian parents to expect to be able to tell their children what to do in many aspects of their lives until their children are 25 or even older. In India many parents still help arrange their adult children's marriages. When the OP says his parents "won't let" him go out at night, that is not because they are manipulative or he is not mature.
It's a cultural difference. I am not from India. I just have lots of first-gen and second-gen Indian friends. This situation with your parents not wanting you to leave the house may actually prove to be a good test of your relationship. Is your girlfriend willing to be patient with your situation? If you definitely feel that this woman is someone you want to be with long-term, then you may have to make a choice to move out of your parents' house and start supporting yourself earlier than you had planned to in order to make this relationship work.
In my experience it's uncommon for Indian parents to have such a hold on a child post age This way you'll be able to assert your boundaries better, because you'll have more autonomy over your life. From what I have heard about this sort of thing, this is the plan I recommend for you: And seriously, you can't sleep over there as much as you're doing and still hide it. She's going to have to learn to sleep with a teddy bear or something, because all the sleepovers is an obvious red flag.
You don't want to get busted and cut off for this right now, right? This is going to be an exhausting, years-long battle, don't fight it with them until you absolutely have to. Make sure that you can take care of yourself first, and that your girlfriend is worth that. I'm going to drop some wisdom, here. Maybe this will be seen by the mods as "not an answer to the question", but it's something I think about every time these questions come up. And I feel like it might be valuable advice for any young person facing parental disapproval.
Everyone, regardless of race, regardless of class, regardless of what country your parents are from, has to establish their own identity separate from their parents in order to become an adult. You just have to. There is no way to not do this. Now, for some people -- and it's really hard to know whether you'll be one of those people, until you find yourself in this situation -- doing that is harder than you'd like it to be. I was one of those people, which is why I have a lot of feelings about it, over a decade later.
And so you come to a point. The point you're at right now. Your parents disapprove of something about your life, and they are not afraid to do batshit crazy stuff like forbid you from leaving the house in order to erase this thing they don't like about you.
How do I tell my parents about my black girlfriend when they are racist?
You have two choices here. You can submit to them treating you like a nine year old. This probably sounds like the most attractive option right now, because the stakes aren't all that high and your parents have a degree of control over your life that makes rebellion inconvenient.
And I think for people who never had to face that fundamental disapproval, those people will always see this as the prudent choice. Or you can rip off the bandaid. Let them be disappointed. Let them rage, and try to ground you, and throw temper tantrums.
There's nothing they can really do to you to keep you from being who you are. And the thing about letting them rage is that, sooner or later, it won't seem so scary to you. Which will free you up to make the kinds of choices you need to make. Better to watch them throw tantrums over how many nights a week you go out, or your girlfriend's background, and see this behavior for what it is.
Now, it's true that your parents might kick you out or stop paying for school. You should definitely weigh all the consequences before you decide the time is right to rip off the bandaid. Don't throw away a world class education for the sake of seeing your girlfriend that one extra night every week.
If you don't have a couch you could crash on, a loan you could apply for, a job you could get, then maybe the time really isn't right. I was disowned by my parents when I was 19, over something that is really stupid in hindsight it also had to do with my dating life. It was a really bad time in my life.
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But it also turned me into the adult I needed to become. And it was worth learning that disappointing your parents isn't the end of the world. OP you have my permission to go ahead and ignore the answers from people who are not in the least bit familiar with your culture, or have any idea what it's like to be caught in between two very different value sets, yet insist that their experience qualifies them to tell you how to behave. Tell them you're dating a Pakistani girl of a different religion.
They will be so relieved when they find out she's white! No, I'm just joking. When you're ready, you will experience what Sara C. Everyone has their own voice apart from their parents and the whole problem in your question is that yours isn't loud enough yet. Seconding homesickness that it really is hard for many non-Indians to appreciate the cultural dynamics at play.
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Biologically I'm a part-Indian, part-German woman who grew up outside of Indian culture both cultures, really. I really didn't know anything about Indian culture at all until university where I was roommates with an Indian woman from my high school. About five years ago she had an arranged marriage to an Indian man, with whom she completely and mutually fell in love with in the process of the engagement. He also happened to be the oldest son which meant they'd move in with his parents. Once the wedding was over, their marriage seemed to nosedive right into a dark period wherein her parents-in-law aggressively exalted their parental authority over them.
For the first couple years their marriage suffered tremendously. However she maintained that she was in love with the man they had arranged her with, and she had already started her family with him. She and I had a single visit after she got married, wherein she confided her struggles and maintained her course of action.
This was followed by radio silence for a few years, with the odd message maybe once a year. Yes, compared to Western standards and through a Western lens we may describe this as dysfunctional, but interwoven in the choices of you and your parents truly is a value system plainly different from that of Western society.
There's more than just dysfunction at work here -- there is a clash and blending of cultures on multiple fronts, which leads me to another nugget from my life experience I can share with you I also happen to have a German female cousin who married a Sikh-Indian man her high school sweetie. You bet his parents reacted adversely to her from the onset, yet several years later my cousin and her beau and their three lovely boys are still here, still managing to navigate his parents.
Sure, some things are still powerful points of contention the boys go to church, not the temple , but consider this: And from my perspective, whether you go traditional or western in choosing a woman to be with, it seems to stand that regardless of whether she's a perfect ethnic fit or not, you will still have to contend with bringing your girlfriend into a strongly traditional family.
So just some food for thought from my perspective. I'd also like to add, do recognize that even though your girlfriend is "white" that doesn't mean she's necessarily lacking a possibly contentious cultural identity of her own. I know it wasn't easy for my German cousin on both fronts; she was from the proud German branch of the family and also had to maintain her choice of husband to her own relatives. Both women in these stories have my admiration for that. In short, I think your best bet is to definitely wait until you're sure the relationship is serious, that this is the woman you want to marry, and that she is on the same page with you before introducing her to your parents.
If you're truly serious about her, then building your own autonomy and getting out from under your parents' roof will without question make the process of introducing your parents to her go much more smoothly for all parties. FWIW, I think it's quite an auspicious coincidence you posted this question today, as this morning for the first time in the four years since she married , I had lunch with my Indian friend.
She's a happy mother of two, is still happy with her husband, and has found her power in balanced relation to the respect she has for her in-laws as well as her cultural identity. In fact we were chatting about the how "white is right" mentality can be almost poisonous to Indian identity, and how Westerners simply do not have all the answers. Even if we can only start seeing each other once or twice a year, I know it's signal she's been figuring things out and that's fine by me. Nthing keep your head down until you move out.
The crucial part of your story is that you live at home. Their house, their rules. They love you, but they can make your home life miserable if they find out. Plan on moving out. Plan on losing their financial support when you do tell them, and you should, but only after you move out. Plan on them being angry and obstinate, maybe for a short time, maybe for a really long time. Plan on losing them, at least for a while. It will be painful, but it will be a necessary step in leaving the nest and making your own life.
Answering these kinds of questions will become easier if you think hard about one thing and make one decision: Do you want to follow what your parents want or do you want to follow what you want in your life? You don't have to decide this tonight or tell your parents tonight. Finish school, get a job, move out of family home. Gradually assert your independence. And, for the love of God, don't string a woman along for years just to settle with the parents wishes! Or equally worse, marry the girl of parents choice, have kids, get frustrated with life and then start having affairs or hitting on other women to make up for what you "missed".
You can blame your parents and culture for only so long. Part of growing up means taking responsibility for your life and decisions. You haven't given us enough information to know if that's true. However they react though, taking responsibility for your own life and decisions is something you absolutely must do, background culture aside, and this will make any difficult experience in your life easier, whether it's this specific situation or not.
I just wanted to chime in with one last thing: Your parents love you. Whenever they think about the people you're dating or will date, they are not just thinking about her. Their thoughts are tied in with their experiences coming to this country, their expectations of how she will interact with them, how they will interact with her parents, how the rest of your family will interact with her family, how both families will interact with your kids. But there is no doubt in their minds that they love you completely and that they want to love the person you end up with even if she's white, and they know it, because they have definitely considered that possibility — promise.
And, while everyone has their opinions, I think that the whole idea of families coming together is a pretty awesome thing and should be preserved. Heck, in a Punjabi wedding we have the milni - literally "meeting" - ceremony where all the relatives meet each other before the bride and groom meet up for the ceremony. My point is that I don't think the right method for you and your parents to work through the ups and downs of your dating life is through butting heads, stamping feet and ultimatums. The only method I've seen work in my family and for myself after 15 years of figuring it out through lots of butting heads, stamping feet and ultimatums with them is through love and kindness personally, I wish lots of problems in society were solved from that perspective but that's even more off topic.
Not to say that there won't be arguments or dark periods along the way — there most certainly will — but they want you to be happy from the perspective of love, and it's the best way for the whole thing to work when dealing with them. What that means for your present situation and whoever you date in the future is that you both need to love each other and, when you bring your relationship public, do it from the perspective of respect and kindness as a team.
As I mentioned before, I dated and introduced my parents to non-Indian girls I had serious relationships with. Some, they really liked and some they really hated. In hindsight, the girls they liked eventually, and often with many false starts, but eventually were the ones where our relationship was built on love and respect for each other and our mutual respect for those around us. Naturally, that's not just "an Indian thing", but for your parents it's the only way they can approach the issues around who you're with. So, when I suggested waiting to tell them, I'm mainly saying that there's no immediate rush to tell them.
Figure out your relationship with the girl, figure out what you both want now and in the future. Basically, build a strong relationship with the person you're with then approach your parents with some of the strategies I suggested above. The part where she's not Indian will be really tough for them, but at least you and her will have figured your own stuff out before approaching your parents. She will certainly need to be strong through it and should be willing to be strong with you. And they've totally thought about these things, too.
They just have, unfortunately, very different ways of approaching the solutions and poor ways to communicate having been raised in a very different way, on the other side of the world. This is a wildly inappropriate and simplistic thing to say. Please do not tell the OP--and literally millions of other people in similar situations--that they suck at being an adult because they are struggling to find a balance between living autonomously while maintaining a good relationship with their parents.
Possibly relevant bio about me: My wife did not tell her father about me--and I did not meet him--until about three months before I proposed marriage. Although my wife and I did not personally experience the challenges that you describe because her immediate family holds pretty cosmopolitian attitudes toward these issues, I know that some of my wife's distant relatives, and some of her closest friends, have had a more difficult time.
You have my sympathies. I think that jenfullmoon pretty much nails it exactly. I'll add only that if you do eventually decide to marry outside of your culture, but you don't want to sever your relationship with your parents because of it, you may wish to consider striking a careful balance between being assertive and being deferential to your parents when you break the news.
Something like "I'm old enough to make my own decisions in life. I love this person and want to marry her. But I also love you both and want you to accept my decisions, attend the wedding, continue to be a part of my life, etc. I don't want you to think that my decisions mean that you are bad parents. Just the opposite, it means that you have done a great job raising me to be a smart, confident individual, etc.
I am truly happy with [fiancee] and want you to share in my joy. Perhaps make sure that other people's bios are not more relevant before deciding to not give an ounce of the benefit of doubt to your fellow MeFites. OP, I didn't say they suck at being an adult. I said they suck at taking responsibility. Two very different things. Not all adults are responsible, as we read on here often. Or worse, see in real life. Being one does not automatically result in the other. You have to make active, conscious decisions to be responsible. The only reason I decided to respond in such a thread is because you are young and you have a chance at not ending up "struggling" in your 30s and beyond, as so many in similar situations do.
Another recommendation- have a diverse group of friends, in age and ethnicity. If you are lucky to know a few inter-racial couples who have been down this road, you will be able to learn much from them.
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I think posters who are looking at definitions of adulthood, family, responsibility and relationships from a specific cultural viewpoint and discounting any other frameworks are doing a serious disservice to the OP. This really resonated with a friend of mine an Indian married to a lovely Caucasian woman , who asked me to post the following comment on his behalf: First gen gujarati, son of conservative in the cultural preservation sense , religious immigrant parents living under their auspices, having his college education paid for, and without any relationship experience to speak of.
In my freshman year at uni, I started dating a tall, blond american girl from a very liberal, atheistic family. Aside from the fear of telling my parents, the culture shock alone nearly ended our relationship a few times, because even though i'm born and bred American, we Desis live in a very very insular society. For the first year, I didn't tell them that I was dating anyone at all, let alone a white girl. I finally told them the second year, and my mother and father could not have been less pleased about it. When you've moved out of the house and are supporting yourself as an adult, you can make relationship choices that your family disapproves of with less concern for their feelings on the matter.
For example, they may make comments about you behind your back, treat your partner unkindly at family get-togethers, or in more extreme cases, cut you off entirely or disinherit any potential children of the relationship. On the other hand, they may need some time to adjust to the news, but eventually come around and treat your partner with love and respect. Because you are not living at home, you have the luxury of putting off telling your family if you want to. You can choose to make a point to tell your family sooner rather than later, or you can let them find out when it comes up naturally for example, on Facebook or during the holidays.
If you think they are likely to overreact in a negative way, telling them upfront can spare your partner some embarrassment if they say or do something unkind. Otherwise, letting them find out on their own has a lot of benefits: It also sends the message that the racial issue is not a big deal to you, and thus not worth mentioning.
Talk to your closest family members first. As with any important news about your life, your closest family members like your parents or siblings might be hurt if they find out from someone more distant like your second-cousin-once-removed. Depending on the type of relationship you have, how often you see each other, and their anticipated reaction, it is probably best not to make a big deal of your news.
Don't email and say "We need to talk," which will cause them to expect something negative and prepare for the worst. Instead, drop the news in casually when you are having a normal catching-up conversation on the phone or over lunch. When you are discussing what's new in your life, mention your relationship. Be upbeat, and let your happiness come through. Your family members love you and want you to be happy, so when they see how happy you are with your partner, they will hopefully be happy for you too.
Say something happy but upfront, and try to include the racial element in a way that is casual but matter-of-fact: He's such an amazing guy and we have so much in common. We met at the gym, and we've gone out a few times, and I really like him. I want you to meet him sometime soon. He's the first Asian guy I've dated and he's so handsome!
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Let your family member react. Give your family member time to respond if they want, but don't force them to comment on the racial issue. Truly they may not care at all, and forcing them to talk about it might feel uncomfortable and unnecessary. If they do respond, be prepared to react. Don't let your family member get away with saying anything racist or uncalled for. If they start to say something rude or racist, stop them and say, "Listen, I realize you may have mixed feelings, but I don't want to hear anything like that about Mark. Their ambivalence might come from unrecognized prejudices or a worry that there will be a significant cultural divide.
Girls, how would you classify a man as 'HOT'?
Unless you know for sure, don't assume the worst. Educate yourself about racism, prejudice, and bias. It is important to know why your family members might have racially biased ideas, and how those ideas might affect their views of your relationships. Your family members may have racial prejudices they are not even aware of, and if you accuse them of racism, they may become defensive.
Often racial prejudice and bias is something we are taught from the time we are children, and it becomes such a natural part of life that we don't realize when we are acting or thinking in unfair ways. Whether your family is a member of the racial minority or majority might make a difference in how they respond to news that you are dating interracially. Keep in mind the historic relationships between your own race and your partner's to help you understand why your family might react the way they do. Check out this wikiHow article for more pointers on how to recognize racism and prejudice and how to deal with it.
Older family members or those who have had little education or contact with diverse groups of people are often rather old fashioned in their mindsets, and sometimes this manifests in prejudices and biases against other races. You can help educate these family members so that they are more tolerant and loving toward people who are different from them.
Talk about race at home. The first step in educating others is to talk about race, disparities, and injustices when you see them. A lot of people have been raised to believe in a "color-blind" society where race is not a factor in what happens in people's lives. But in reality race matters, and people are still treated unfairly based on the color of their skin.
Talking openly about race is the first step to helping other people, especially members of the racial majority, understand when racial disparities are taking place. Share news articles, books, web articles, or anecdotes about everyday occurrences. If you read an article that teaches you something, share it. If your partner faces discrimination because of race, tell your family. Post about it on Facebook. Talk about it over dinner. Don't be afraid to get involved in conversations. Be direct but kind. Speak up if your family members make racist remarks or jokes.
Talk to the person in private if possible, and let them know why you found the joke or comment offensive. Cut off a persistent racist. If a family member is unkind to your partner because of racial issues or persists in making offensive comments or jokes even if you have asked them to stop, you might have to consider whether you want to continue your relationship with that family member.
Let the family member know their behavior is unacceptable and you will not tolerate it. Especially if you have children by your interracial relationship, you must consider their emotional and mental well-being and not allow racist family members to antagonize them. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. Tips Watch the classic movie "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," which can offer some interesting insight into historic interracial relationships.