Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My dad's disturbing views on dating

I only have one brother, no sisters, and no other siblings. My brother and I have always been good friends. He now lives in various locations because he is in the Air Force. I always like to keep in touch with him and we have good conversations. The other day, we had a chance to chat for a while and he brought up a situation that we had talked about before, but this time, it affected me more.

Our dad is a very interesting person. As I have said in a previous post, he is a convert to the church and very devout in his beliefs. One of the aspects about him that is not necessarily church related is his view of black people. When my brother and I were younger, he would in a teasing way, warn us about not dating any black girls. Now that my brother and I are grown with our own children, this has taken an interesting twist.

My brother told me about the time that our parents came out to visit him and his family last year. They had an enjoyable visit, but on the night before they were leaving, our dad gave my brother a very disturbing piece of advice. He said referring to my brother’s only daughter, “Don’t let her marry a black man.” My brother asked, “What would you do if she did marry a black man?” Our dad said, “I would disown her!” My brother was floored. He was seething and wanted to say something, but since it was the last day of our parents visiting him, he did not want them to leave on bad feelings.

This incident happened last July. My brother told me in our most recent conversation that this still bothers him and he considers this to be the worst thing our dad has ever said to him. He could not believe that our dad would actually disown his granddaughter based upon her choice of a spouse. Would he really choose race over her? The interesting aspect is that our dad said the same thing to Blondie and me later that same year. We responded with, “She can marry whoever she likes.” Since our relationship with my parents has been strained since Blondie and I told them our feelings about the church, they did not press the issue.

When my brother told me this story again, it really got me thinking about how we would react if our daughter ever did date a black boy. How would my parents react? With as strongly as I feel about my children and my wife, I believe that I would react pretty strongly if my dad were to say anything to our daughter or her boyfriend/fiancé. Our daughter is a beautiful girl that is free to date any boy regardless of race; Blondie and I have no problem with this. She is only 10, but we have already encouraged her to be accepting of anyone regardless of color. If she wants to date a boy of a different race, that is fine with us. I hope down the road, that my dad will not butt in with his outdated opinions regarding interracial dating and marriage. I really want to view my dad in the best light, but statements like this are very troubling.

4 comments:

  1. "Dad, I am very curious about why you would disown a grandchild for marrying someone with a different skin color. Why does this bother you?"

    Express desire to understand your father, but in no uncertain terms describe it as HIS problem.

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  2. dbd, could you expound a little more on what you mean by this as HIS problem when referring to my dad? Thanks.

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  3. If I read correctly your Dad appears a bit racist. Seek to understand why your father is such (LDS teachings, his parents/grandparents, direct bad experience with a person of another race). By getting your father to talk about this perhaps he can understand where these feelings are coming from and perhaps a method to resolve them. In the end his racism is his problem to own. He chooses to be offended if mix dating/marriage occurs. Make it clear that there is nothing wrong with DD if she dates/marriage outside her race (or gender).

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  4. "Dad, we love you, but your comments and judgements about our children and their possible dating decisions are not welcome. It is very important to me that you not undermine my parenting by making any such comments to my family. My daughter is free to date who she likes, and in the event that she does date or marry a person from a different race, we will support her fully. At that time, as always, it will be your choice whether you want to continue to be included in family activities, and if you choose to withdraw, it will be your own choice and your own loss."

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