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How to be Zen when your family is bigoted AF

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Cleopatra Jones Cleopatra Jones 3 months ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 20 total)
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  • #739205 Reply
    TaraMonster
    TaraMonster
    Participant

    Hey DWers. I am just venting frustration, but of course, feel free to tell me how to be more zen about this if you have some magical solution to surviving the Trump era.

    I’ve mentioned here a few times that my boyfriend has DACA. So does his brother, and his parents are undocumented. It’s been a roller coaster to say the least. The news makes me nervous and frustrated. I’m worried about his parents a lot. I try to keep my news consumption limited to emotionless facts like the AP, but sometimes Twitter happens and sometimes it makes me feel like my head is going to explode.

    Over the weekend my cousins met up with me and some of my friends. My friends are super liberal and a very diverse group of people and my cousins are from a region in my state that tends towards conservative. My friends found out that cousin’s long-term boyfriend (we’re talking a decade; so he’s basically an in-law) voted for Trump and started up talking politics with him. I was only half listening, but it seemed civil. However, I did hear him say he thinks undocumented people should be deported. I think I almost broke my neck, turning around at that comment. I reminded him that my boyfriend (standing nearby, but just out of earshot) had DACA and asked if he thought he should be deported. He said no, but his parents should be.

    I said, “That’s pretty fucked up.” He shrugged, and I turned away back to the conversation I’d been in previously because nothing more coherent or civil was going to come out of my mouth after that, especially considering I was on the drunker side of tipsy.

    Of course, I am not surprised by this, but I think I’m so on edge with this stuff that it just hit a really raw nerve. The conversation keeps popping into my head at random, even though I’m super busy with work. It makes me feel a. sad and b. pissed off- not even at my cousin’s boyfriend, just in general at this perspective that we should just deport millions of people as if that’s an ethical, moral or even practical approach to the issue. I know what my cousin’s boyfriend understands about immigration in the US could fit in a teaspoon- frankly, the same was true of myself before I met my boyfriend, and that largely remains true even for many super politically aware people- which is to be expected. It’s a complicated subject and process and there is a whole lot of touchy race stuff involved that makes people squirm. But I am so fucking tired of hearing how we should just deport people. It sickens me that so many people in my life think that way. Many of my relatives voted for Trump (including my own father) so this isn’t new information to me. I’m just tired of being worried and angry and I wish congress would just pass the goddamn dream act already (ha, as if).

    For the record- I’m not asking for advice about talking to my cousin’s boyfriend or anything like that. I have no plans to do something that will stir up a bunch of shit and solve nothing and change no opinions.

    But yeah. I am upset. I would like to be less upset, but I don’t see that happening. Maybe I’ll just go hug the new cat. His name is Albert and he is very soft and cuddly and he didn’t vote for Trump because he is a cat and can’t vote. The end.

    #739206 Reply
    TaraMonster
    TaraMonster
    Participant

    PS I haven’t mentioned this to my boyfriend and don’t plan to, but I suspect not sharing my feelings with him is contributing to it eating at me. But, hey, that’s why I came here!

    #739220 Reply
    avatar
    JD

    Ah liberals. Thinking not breaking the law is “fucked up”.

    #739224 Reply
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    Heatherly
    Member

    @JD (Janelle)!! Grrr. Conservatives aren’t against using illegal immigrants to clean their homes, take care of their gardens, have them cook or any other jobs they don’t want to do; so they don’t have pay full market price for services. So let’s not try for holier than thou. Especially this isn’t about whether or not to do something illegal, but on offering a way to destress & not get into arguments with family.

    Of course you’re upset. This isn’t some abstract legal problem, this is about people you know and care for. I’m sorry that it’s stressing you out @taramonster. I don’t the have answer though. If no one else can come up with anything on here, may I suggest you take this to Captain Awkward?

    #739238 Reply
    avatar
    Ange

    I find the best way is to not engage in any conversation about politics with people you know won’t agree with you – when they’re family anyway. No good can come of it. All that happened was a relatively civil conversation turned nasty and you got upset. If you want to keep your Zen you have to protect your Zen. If it means you remind your friends to keep it light and only talk to your family about the weather and sports then so be it.

    #739240 Reply
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    LisforLeslie

    Yeah because conservatives don’t break the law ever. Not even when they hire undocumented workers or give access to classified materials despite not having completed the clearance process.

    Not only that but I’m sure these asshole cousins would have a different response if the family were say Canadian or Norwegian. Then suddenly it would be different somehow.

    Look TaraM you have a couple of choices. You can try to stay out of it. You can call them on their bullshit or you can just stop dealing with them. The only risk, and it is a big one, is that if you call them on their bullshit – they can very easily call up ICE. The current administration is all about turning in your neighbors who might be undocumented and ICE is gleefully rounding up people.

    So while I would love for you to take a page from the “Is This Racist” handbook for how to deal with racists, only you can decide if it is worth the risk.

    If not -if you really need to be Zen about this- the easiest way is to just avoid them. Be somewhere else. Have plans. Walk out of the room. Sign up for work on that day, whatever it takes. Avoidance is your friend.

    #739273 Reply
    bittergaymark
    Bittergaymark

    JD. seriously?
    .
    Conservatives. Dressing up their hate in the name of bloated nationalism and Jesus — as they shamelessly lie to employ wifebeaters and elect child molesters… all the while adding trillions to the national debt.
    .
    So yeah. Go fuck yourself, JD. Or better yet offer up your pussy to your bloated orange God.
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    Taramonster. Fuck being Zen. And fuck your cousin’s boyfuck. Fuck your dimwitted cousin, too. Next time? Toss a fucking drink in his face — allowing the glass to slip so it explodes in his face and then ZENLY say, whoops as you walk the fuck away and never look back.
    .
    Being ZEN with assholes and the dumb fools who date them? A fucking waste of time. Your cousin is racist trash. Fuck her.

    #739278 Reply
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    SpaceySteph
    Participant

    I sort of agree with BGM, that we should all have a little less Zen for the people in our lives who want to be bigoted pieces of shit. I think if we called out things that were racist, sexist, etc. routinely and stopped letting racists hide behind social niceties that would be great. But its hard to go through life all day every day challenging people and making every thing a fight. And sometimes you have to choose Zen for your own sanity.

    Choosing zen is a privileged position, too. You can’t choose to be zen about this if you are a brown person who has an accent- even if you are a citizen, racists are gonna racist.

    It’s hard (I know, I have a racist, classist doozy of a grandfather) when the stuff hits close to home. If you need to be zen about your cousins boyfriend (although consider whether the “but we’re faaaamily” cloak of immunity really needs to extend that far– I’m not THAT close to my cousins, and certainly wouldn’t spare their SO’s feelings on this) then you might be able to make yourself feel better by engaging in the fight elsewhere, like with fucking JD up there.

    #739282 Reply
    avatar
    LisforLeslie

    @spaceysteph -precisely, in this situation not being Zen is a position of privilege.

    But yeah – Fuck the cousins.

    JD I hope you’re not contributing to the problem. I assume that you have vetted every product or service that might be supported by undocumented workers including but not limited to, fresh fruit & vegetables, anything factory made “in the USA”, restaurants and home delivery services.

    #739299 Reply
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    Rangerchic
    Participant

    I just wanted to say that it sucks when family members are racist. I hope the rant helped you feel better so you can move on from the conversation and get it out of your head.
    Hopefully avoid political conversations in the future? I know that’s not always possible though. Maybe then avoid the cousins for social outings? IDK, i don’t really have any good advice but I do wish you luck with dealing with all that’s going on.

    #739304 Reply
    avatar
    Heatherly
    Member
    #739337 Reply
    Dear Wendy
    Dear Wendy
    Keymaster

    Ugh, TM, I’m so sorry you’re going through this! It’s really a sucky, terrible situation. I have some similar family dynamics, but minus having a significant other who has DACA (and undocumented parents). I really feel for you, and i agree with others above that being zen is a point of privilege and under some situations, I would say Fuck Zen — you gotta fight fire with fire! But I also agree that you don’t want to risk the status of your boyfriend and his family by pissing off people who could call ICE on them. I recommend avoidance at all costs, and when you can’t avoid the racists personally, at least avoid heated topics of conversation.

    Also, Heatherly, I know you mean well, but I just want to point out that I’m an advice columnist, this is my site, and it’s always a little weird when people recommend to other readers on my site that they go seek advice from a different columnist. It’s ok to share an occasional link, like you did in your second comment above, when it’s really relevant. But when you suggest seeking out a different advice columnist in general, it’s akin to going out for sushi and telling the people at the table next to you, in front of the sushi chef, to try the sushi at a different restaurant. I hope that analogy makes sense. I think sometimes people forget that this is my livelihood…

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