When your skin is brown, you get used to certain things even if you shouldn’t have to. Still, slights from within your own family circle shouldn’t have to be one of them. One couple checks in with Hey Daddy.
I am a third-generation Afghan American. My parents and I were born and raised here, and my grandparents immigrated here more than 50 years ago. My partner of many years is Caucasian. We are used to, if worried and disturbed, about the crazy, racist BS flying at us – not only from general Trump-loving fucksticks, but also from and Trump-loving fucksticks in his own family. Don’t even get me started with the racists within our own gay community here in Atlanta.
Luckily, we’re not close with any of the worst offenders. One aunt of his in particular never misses an opportunity to post anti-Muslim stuff on Facebook with ignorant assumptions and generalizations. I hid her from my feed months ago, and we craftily avoided a holiday reunion with his side of the family.
Then his birthday came.
She sent a cash gift, which she always has since he was a kid, along with a passive-aggressive sideways insult about me and whether “they” celebrate birthdays. I am now finally and officially done with this bitch.
Still, I don’t want to cause unnecessary family drama either. Should I go on working around her with my mouth shut? Should I tell her off? Should I spend the money?
Not Even Playing Her Evil Ways
This is one of those challenges that is pretty easy to figure out, but may be tougher to pull off. Extenuating circumstances can make it emotionally trying, as well as strategically difficult within the family.
Still, I’m with you on wanting to stop the madness. The pair of you gets enough wrongheaded crap from outside forces without having to put up with it in your own family. You shouldn’t have to grin and bear it.
Start by realizing that it’s not worth your time to even try changing her. Informing her, maybe. Managing her affect on and access to your life, definitely. Spend the energy on your own situation and look at what you can do for you. You have several options.
You could let the birthday cash continue, and spend the money on something you can enjoy as a couple. If the money’s too dirty to keep, you could either say nothing and donate it to the ACLU, or donate it and send her a Thank You card letting her know exactly where the money went and why.
If you really find value in engaging this person further, send a sincere, polite message laying out the reasons you’re offended and won’t be around when she’s around any more. If someone else in the family could be hurt by your absence or explanation to the aunt, whether you engage the aunt or not, let that member of the family in on why you and yours will avoid events that the aunt attends and ask for their support.
The option you choose is entirely up to you, but don’t base which one on her potential reaction or on that of other family members. Ask yourself, Which option creates consequences you can live with? Which one makes you feel that you were true to your best self?