Oct. 4, 1999

Fully Marinated

More about my 18 year old son's interracial relationship. If you want to read the background, it's here.

I'm happy to report that I am on the way to accepting it, and that the thought of accepting it really does make me happy. Last weekend Son and Hubby had a fairly major skirmish and I found myself squarely on Son's side. (Realizing that I had veered from the fence made me feel relieved. The voices saying that racism is WRONG are just getting louder and louder.)

Son had asked permission to bring her over on Saturday afternoon, and Hubby refused. He would not welcome her in our home. She's been here two or three times already but this time he was asked, unlike the other times, and he must have felt entitled to say no. It makes him uncomfortable, he says. He won't talk to her on the phone either. I guess he doesn't want to get to know her.

Son was all over him for caring about "what people think". Hubby is frantic with worry about his friends and family seeing our son with her. (My friends mostly already know about it, since one of the kids' mutual friends is part of the immediate community and practically part of the family, and he's brought Girlfriend to at least one get-together with them.)

At one point he accused his father of caring more about appearances than about his happiness. This is most likely true. I remember thinking (maybe even saying) that to my own parents on occasion and it is dreadful to know my son feels that way too. Some time later, Hubby said, "I'm your father, I want the best for you," but he doesn't realize that perhaps this girl IS the best, or at least our son thinks she is, at the moment.

The fact that people in a minority group that is itself discriminated against, can be so racist and prejudiced, has always fascinated me. Hubby's parents immigrated from Russia as young adults, so in their case, fear of "others" might be understandable. Hubby however grew up in Canada, lived through the 60's, and emerged unscathed, with minimal social conscience. His mother made it clear to her four children that if they married non-Jews, they would be disowned. Literally, out of the all-important will. There were myriad other ways to be disowned, but this was a no-brainer. All Hubby's nieces and nephews who are married, are married to Jews. (On my side, I have a second cousin married to a German and living in Germany, a cousin who worked for the NAACP in the 60's, and another cousin who married a Mexican-American.)

And what did I do while the (um) discussion was going on? I'm ashamed to admit, as little as possible. I'm by nature a peacemaker and have always chosen to avoid confrontation, to the degree of sneaking around rather than standing up for myself. Hubby thinks I feel the way he does.. which I did at first, but I haven't bothered to tell him how my feelings have evolved. Son thinks I'm "perfectly ok with it" which is closer to the truth but still a bit optimistic. Stay tuned for when I fall off the tightrope... film at 11!

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