Discussing Racism With A Racist Family Member

June 8, 2020
Black Lives Matter Heart Protest

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Everyone has that one family member who we’d gladly like to steer clear of when it comes to talking about politics and race. Yes, we may love and want the best for them, but that doesn’t change the fact that we wish things were different in this regard. But instead of sitting on the sidelines, hoping that our family member(s) will change on their own, with the current state of unrest on not only the United States ,but the world, it's time have a talk about racism.  As with all hard conversations, timing is everything. Experts suggest to be more mindful of the frequency of the talks (how often) rather than quantity (how long the conversation lasts). It can seem like a good idea to bring the issue up when a family member makes a racially insensitive or blatantly racist remark, but make sure you feel comfortable. Make sure you do as much research as possible as well as review the current reasoning that your racist family member might toss your way. Make sure you are not coming across in a threatening mode, so enact the "I" method.  Rather than say "you made a racist statement," say "I feel that was very racist for you to say" or "I've been thinking about the racist joke you said today." Most likely some disagreements will occur in the middle of your conversation. But don't lose control and panic because there’s a way to manage those moments. If things get too heated, acknowledge their feelings and "table the conversation" by taking a 10 minute break with a firm commitment to return to finish the conversation with calmness. Above all else it is important to avoid using assumptions, generalizations, and stereotypes. That will belittle them and you'll cause them to shut down. Even if you have an in-depth conversation with your family, things might not turn out the way you want them to. Sometimes people are comfortable with their ignorance and it doesn’t matter how many facts you present to them as to why racism is inhumane. If this happens, understand that you can’t force anyone to change but that it’s completely normal to be hurt or angry with your relatives. However, just because your family doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean you should ignore their racism. Set firm boundaries with your family members to let them know you will not tolerate racism in your presence. If you decide to love your family from a distance, be an example. Make sure they see you speak out about racial injustice, let them see you protesting and donating to causes. Hopefully, they will eventually follow your lead.

SOURCE: Hello Giggles

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