Dealing with Racist Family Members

Victoria Harris
3 min readJun 16, 2020

I feel guilt knowing that some of these family members share blood with me.

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

It’s always at some family gathering. Things seem to be going well, everyone is laughing with a cocktail in their hand until someone tells a story and begins using racial slurs. The whole room begins to light up and everyone starts laughing.

For me, it’s as if immediately I’m outside my body staring at a crowd, the room is getting dark and I’m suddenly feeling anxious and like I’m suffocating. I feel my fair skin thicken and swell up from the stress it causes me, just hearing it. I notice myself stepping away, ready to find my bi-racial kids and my black husband, ready to go. They wouldn’t dare to say what they just said if he were standing in that circle.

As the cocktails begin to serenade their bodies, the looser their tongues get. The mockery and the hate elevates, and I find myself searching for the host to give a proper goodbye. My husband knows somethings wrong, but we sit in silence on a quiet car ride home, as I try to look out the window peacefully. I have anger but can’t transfer this kind of energy onto him. It’s not fair plus the kids are sitting in the back seat.

In the beginning I tried to fight these family and friend circles. I defended “my” family and told them not to use racial slurs. However, they would tell me that their use of an N word doesn’t apply to me or my family. They would say ‘not you guys though’. They tried to make me feel better by saying my family was an exception. The conversations just got worse, they made a decision that my husband wasn’t “full black”, so he didn’t count. As if his Mexican side hid the dark color of his skin and kinky hair. He “IS” black. Their eyes didn’t see beyond it and the conversations grew worse. I wanted to scream and force them to understand “Being black is much deeper than just being African-American”. I want to educate them on so many topics.

After being unsuccessful, I disconnected with my extended family, i lost most of them. My father disowned me, but I also take pride in knowing I disown him too. I tried to prove my families worth to him the first couple years of my marriage. But as I began to age, I realized, you can’t teach anyone who isn’t open to learning. I’m proud to say, I don’t condone any kind of hate even if…