23 February 2009

What Do YOU Say?

"I would rather have her marry a black than a Catholic."

Ok, what would you say to that comment? Would you say anything if this were said to you? Would you address the wrong-ness of hating blacks or Catholics first? Or would you just not talk to the person who said this to you ever again?

I have a friend who heard this as a little girl. It still hurts her to this day, although she is elderly. Do you think that if someone said something right then that the speaker would have learned anything? How can you say something so that the speaker learns something?

When someone says things like this to me, I really don't know what to say except that I really like "Joe" or whoever we're talking about, and I think he'd make a fine husband. But then that leaves the other half of the statement hanging, or I get bewildered when statements like this really come up (because I'm unprepared!) and say something stupid like, "Well, I don't see too much of a problem here..."

And when I find myself in a group of people talking like this, I try to leave. Maybe I do that more for my own comfort than teaching anyone anything. Maybe I don't want to be seen as agreeing with them by even hanging out. Maybe people like this wouldn't listen to me anyway.

But I leave. Maybe I am a coward. What do YOU say?

13 comments:

  1. I'd cock my head and ask in a bemused tone, "hmm, what about a black Catholic?"

    Usually makes the speaker pause and think about what she just said.

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  2. My father was one for making these sort of sweeping statements; his mother was worse. Mum still bristles over her first meeting. Nothing you can say will change determined ignorance but I think I choose my friends for *not* being that sort. I rarely hear those sort of comments ~ maybe because being in a small community people know what a mish mash my friends are?

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  3. What A said. That is the first thing that went through my mind!
    This is hard when you aren't the type to come up with a good comment on the spur of the moment.

    I grew up with extended family members that said things like that, except it would have been the other way around. When I got married one of them gave me a cute wooden wall decoration with for little girls that are "red, and yellow, black and white" standing arm in arm. I wasn't sure how I felt about that at first. It was almost like, "hey we're OK with the fact that you're marrying an Asian", when I wasn't asking their opinion anyway. On the other hand, I thought that maybe they knew deep down that their racial comments weren't right all the along. Maybe they had seen the disapproval in my face over the years even though I couldn't really say anything. Maybe they interpreted my stoney silence correctly. I hope so.

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  4. I would probably say something like. "Wow, I thought we were suppose to see people for who they are not "what" they are." There are good and bad in every "kind" of people. We need to give everyone a chance. If I am in the company of someone who is saved, then I would say that Jesus doesn't see them as "black" or
    "catholic" He just sees them as His child.

    Tonya
    www.ouralphabetsoup.com

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  5. I'm considering the age of your friend. Things have changed a lot as far as race relations go, so I think it was a lot more common to hear something like that years ago.

    Today if I heard that, I would say, "Wow, that's harsh!" I'm not real good about masking my feelings; however, I do give people the benefit of the doubt. You just don't know everything about him/her by that comment.

    And? It's still not easy being a bi-racial couple, so that's another way to look at that comment.

    *sigh* I'm thinking about this way too much.

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  6. I'm not sure what I would say, but I have never heard anyone say something like that before. We have a lot of different religions in our area, but we don't have very many Blacks.

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  7. I would probably look them and say, "Well, what do you know? I married a Catholic and he turned out fine!" And, I wouldn't be lying!

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  8. WOW, what great comments!

    Anonymous, sometimes I say nothing, too, because I'm so shocked. If it helps, I've heard awful things about *my own family* and said nothing. Later I think of all kinds of mean things to say but doggone it never right then.

    A, I can never think on my feet like that!

    Ganeida, you have friends? LOL ok just kidding.

    Sue, I can appreciate that it was hard for your family. I think it would be hard for mine. But Jesus is still bigger than that. Tono's family sounds like they got a race AND religion thing thrown in for extra fun! :]

    Tonya, I agree. Sometimes when I hear things along these lines though, I have to wonder at the status of the speaker of the comment. I wonder if God has just not changed that area of the person's life OR if the person just hasn't really had a born again experience.

    And Claire, you know, I was thinking about that. I would have "concerns" if my children married outside their ethnic group just because I'm not sure how well they would deal with discrimination of their CHILDREN. But if they're adults, I'm going to be as supportive as possible.

    The way it was related to me was a hostile comment,not a "wow, I'm concerned for this relationship" kind of comment.

    I don't think I've ever heard something quite so harsh... but... maybe times have changed as you said.

    DF, you might be right, but then again, I can't see anyone turning to you and going, "Man, I hate those Asians!" :p

    Tammy, your dh seems *so* patient in that film with the bird. And the lists. My goodness. You did well marrying that one.

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  9. I heard statements similar to that. My dad would tell me "I would rather you marry a black guy than a mexican". Well I did marry a black guy (although most of the guys I was "in love" with during my fickle high school years happened to be mexican.)and when someone would say anything about race I would say "MONTY IS BLACK!?!?! HE NEVER TOLD ME THAT!!!" or"I NEVER NOTICED HE WAS BLACK!! I AM DEFINATELY GONNA CHECK THAT OUT WHEN I GET HOME!" I have found a little humor works well to show someone how ignorant they sound without really hurting their feelings even if they have hurt yours. Also, just for the record, We have been married 11 years and we have never had ONE single issue that made our marriage any harder than any other marriage!!! Race can only be a major factor in your life if you let it be a factor.

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  10. I'm glad to hear that race is not an issue that makes things any harder than in other marriages. I guess that not having a close friend or relative in an interracial marriage, I imagined all sorts of "problems" to pop up. Come to think of it, the problem of course is not in the interracial marriage, but in the small-mindedness of other people. :]

    Thanks for commenting, CHAR.

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  11. It would have to be on a case by case basis... but I've never encountered anything like that, and I'm perfectly happy leaving it that way.

    But I did go through eight years of "diversity awareness" chapels and assemblies to make me wary of saying anything at all to anyone about just about anything that has to do with others. Ugh. This isn't an easy issue because so many people have different "buttons" that could be pushed.

    ~Luke

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  12. Well, you're no coward. :), but sometimes the best thing we can do..is say nothing. And to know when to stand up and be heard and when to just shake your head and walk away. I've been thinking a lot on this issue lately, on when to stand up and be willing to be counted and heard. For those of us with any ability to use words..it behooves us to know when to use them, I think....Choose your words wisely, walk softly and carry a big stick..I mean lots of words have been written and spoken on this subject. When, where and how do we use our words to make a difference..or to fight battles for any cause? You are no coward, just a compassionate good Mom with a wise attitude about your life and your faith.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)