When it comes to romantic relationships, we all want our families and friends to be on board with us. And when these relationships are interracial, we need our family and friends to approve them. That’s how most of us are wired. But when they are not, this can jeopardize one’s relationship.
Our question this week comes from a 42-year-old white father who is engaged to a black woman. He has a son who is racist and who called him a “race-traitor” when he introduced him to this special lady in his life. He is worried that if his fiancee finds out about his son’s racism, she might cancel the whole engagement. He asks…
“I’m [42M] divorced and have primary custody of my only son, who’s 16. Lately he’s become incredibly racist. I am currently engaged to my fiance, who is black, and I’m worried that his extreme racism might jeopardize our relationship.
I noticed it started a while back, it started off really mild and became worse. First he just started making casual jokes about black people, negative comments here and there. It bothered me but I thought he was just being a typical teenage jerk. Then I noticed he was using the ‘N’ word more and more often. He would say extremely horrible things about black people and other ethnic groups which I don’t wish to type out here.
When I introduced him to my girlfriend (my now fiance), he was very polite and charismatic to her. After she left, he unleashed a tirade of slurs against me and her, calling me a “race-traitor”. I tried speaking with his teacher at school to find out if he’s been around any bad types of people or done anything worrying at school, but apparently he’s a perfect goody two shoes at school.
I’ve been trying to modify his behavior and get him to normalize, but it just leads to fights and arguments. He put up a racist poster in his room, I took it down and tore it apart, and he got angry because I was interfering in his room. I’ve taken away his computer currently because I thought he might be getting this radical influence from the internet, but I let him use my computer whenever he needs ONLY for school projects and under my supervision.
I really don’t know what to do. His mother is a hopeless waste and out of the picture, neither of us have contacted her for years. I’m ashamed to open up about what he’s turning into to anybody I know closely, I’m ashamed that my parents or friends might find out my son has become this vitriolic racist and they might think I made him this way. But he acts so nice around other people, its only in private that he shows his true opinions.
I’m afraid my fiance might find out about his true opinions and this might permanently cancel our marriage. If we get married and he’s still like this, it will be a nightmare scenario.
Please help me, I really love my son, despite all his faults. I know in his heart he’s a good person, I don’t know why he’s become overcome with this sudden hatred. I know at the heart of his soul he’s full of love and empathy, I really hope this racism is just a rebellious phase that he will pass soon and look back on and laugh at one day.