Ask ARP: What if your black in-laws are the racist ones?

Dear Anti-Racist Parent,

I was relieved to see your website. Thank you for being here!

I am a “white” woman married to a “black” man. I am 30 weeks pregnant with our first child, my second (I have a “white” child from a previous marriage) who is now 6. I stayed in the town we live in so my daughter would be exposed to all kinds of people – her kindergarten is so multicultural I think there is at least 2 of every race represented – and I love that.

My mother-in-law loves to talk about her short time spent as a member of the black panthers and she refuses to be called “African American”. She is “black”. My in-laws openly make racist comments about everyone, including blacks. My MIL’s most memorable comment was “gay people should be stoned to death.” I think you see my point…. She also loves to ignore my daughter and me as much as possible. Which is easy – they live 3 hours away. My husband’s work schedule is such that he can’t get weekends off to go visit them and they get angry.

Now, the baby is coming. I have 10 weeks left. Our friends, and my family are thrilled. My MIL and FIL have been monsters. They wanted to buy the nursery furniture which I was fine with – until my MIL chose something that was too big for me to use – I am only 5’1 and the crib had a fixed rail… anyway – my attempt to get her to go shopping with me, despite my saying if she had her heart set on it I’d make do, has turned into all-out war. She has now said that her friends wanted to throw a shower for her first grandchild – we know none of these people – and she has told people I have refused. No one asked me. She also told people “she refused the crib”, and has made comments about my husband “living in a lily-white world” and my favorite: “she’s a racist bitch,” meaning me. The last phone call was her telling my husband I was no longer welcome in her home – nor is my first daughter – and he is to bring her grandchild to visit her when she is born. I haven’t spoken a word but a simple conversation about a crib that I am too short for. She has openly admitted to being racist – and thinks that there is no problem with that – and her husband agrees.

So, I worry – all day, all night. My doctors are putting me on meds to help me through this, and to avoid stress causing a premature birth. I am scared. I wanted my daughter to know her heritage in a positive way. I think about the racism my in-laws will expose her to. I wonder how I can protect my child from that without cutting off my in-laws altogether. I worry that one day, my in-laws will tell my baby that it was all my fault. I don’t want her extended family to be just mine, all “white”. I wish I could adopt a black grandparent! I found myself apologizing to her as she wiggled in my belly last night – for bringing her into all of this, and telling her I will do my best to protect and prepare her.

So, I am at a loss. Is it better to cut ourselves off from such racist people or to allow them to see my daughter with my husband supervising? (He opts for the former at this time.)

Should I seek out biracial families for support in my area?

How on earth do I not worry about all of this? My research leads me more to racism againt blacks it seems – not much to find about “reverse racism” which I think is ridiculous – racism is racism.

I know this was long, but I need support from people who know where I’m coming from, and who can point me in the right direction.

And I thought the wedding drama was bad…..

Thank you!

From L&N’s Mom in Boston, MA

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