The Trouble With In-Laws

My wife and I have been having a big discussion about whether or not we should limit our kids’ contact with her parent’s, our kids’ grandparents, since they are quite undeniably racist.

The thing is they are not the kind that has ever or would ever say anything that is blatantly bigoted in front of me or the kids. They are the kind that is more subtle than that. They tend to simply make it clear that our kids are just not as on par with the other grandchildren, that they are “less than” and more of an interesting and cute amazement.

That does not mean my wife has not heard them be more direct in their opinions of blacks when she was growing up and when we were dating. She certainly heard the “N” word on many occasions let’s say. And based on other comments they have made to her, it is not like they have become more enlightened since the kids have been around these 11 and 9 years.

The good thing is we live in Los Angeles and these grandparents are in Texas so we don’t really see them all that much anyway. But of late my wife has come to the conclusion that she has had it with putting up with their attitude. I have always felt we should limit our time around them since I am not one to fake affection or hold my tongue. But at the same time I have also been concerned of damaging the kids by keeping the away from their grandparents, concerned that that could also do harm since the kids would at some point wonder why they could not see them and ultimately learn of their views anyway.

This week, thanks to posting a question on the wonderful site, “Anti-Racist Parent” we got some good advice from others, and the overwhelming consensus seemed to agree it was more important to keep the kids away from anyone who treated them with disrespect than to feel obligated to a familial tie that was not loving.

My wife and I had pretty much concluded that. Frankly I am still not sure we will never allow them to see their grandparents on my wife’s side (my family has no issues with their multi-ethnic make-up), but we will certainly make it very very limited visits. We know we can’t keep them protected from stupidity all their life, it is just so much more complicated when that idiocy is within your own family.


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