I come from a long line of racists on both sides of my family. There’s no sugarcoating it. Fortunately, now it appears mostly in the eldest living generation but they haven’t all died out yet.
I tried to explain this to the husband, especially about one uncle. This uncle has not demonstrated any untoward behavior at family gatherings in the decade the husband as been around. I, however, can not look at him without remembering the Christmas when he was casually asked to pass something and he started yelling, “Do I look like a (n-word)?” over and over like it was the greatest joke ever. This uncle likes the husband and talks to him. The husband is Italian. He’s dark skinned. The TSA views him as potentially Middle Eastern and a security threat. The uncle has never batted an eye.
The uncle has a grand daughter. She’s my cousin (once removed to be specific). She’s 19. She lives next door to him. They are very close.
My cousin has started dating a biracial guy.
You will not be shocked to hear that my uncle runs an uber-patriarchal household. My aunt has always been kept under his thumb. My aunt and her daughter realized that there was going to be a problem when the
asshole uncle found out about the boyfriend.
So my aunt went and informed him of the situation. She asked if the boyfriend would be allowed in the house. He said no. (At this point in the telling of the story, my mother adds in her own commentary about how she wouldn’t be asking that jerk for permission to have anyone in her own house. I don’t know how these people are sisters. Also, my grandmother spent her life dreaming up new ways she could murder the uncle. I don’t know how my aunt ended up so submissive.) My aunt then asked if his grand daughter would be welcome back in the house. He said no. He said to tell her that he was very disappointed in her and that she was going against the bible. (Mom’s commentary – “She is not!” Me – “Has he ever cared about the bible before?” Mom, scoffing – “No!”)
When my aunt relayed this to her grand daughter, my cousin replied that she was very disappointed in him right back (good on her!) and that she had other relatives that she could eat with at Thankgiving. She’d just go to my mom’s house.
The husband and I are on vacation somewhere else. My brother goes to his wife’s side of the family for Thanksgiving and then makes an evening visit to the parents’ house for seconds of dessert. My mother was sort of reveling in the idea that she didn’t have to make Thanksgiving dinner this year. Now she’s bought a turkey because she has to stand up for equality via the medium of providing alternative anti-racist Thanksgiving.
(Me – “Mom, isn’t the whole point of Thanksgiving to eat with people of a different race and culture before you resume genocide?”
Mom – “Apparently he missed that part of the story.”)
Mom wants her sister to leave her husband home alone “to stew in his own juices” while she comes down for Thanksgiving. We all know she won’t do that. They will probably end up sitting home while the rest of the family is at my Mom’s. That’s best case scenario. Worst case is that their other child will support his father’s racism. I haven’t heard what his take on this is yet.
This uncle had another family way back when. My aunt was actually his four kids’ teenage babysitter before he left his wife for her. No matter what you envisioned there about what my aunt looks like, you are wrong. I’ve known this forever and still can not wrap my brain around how this is possibly true. Anyhow, I just found out that one of his first set of kids had a daughter who married a Black man. My uncle’s son was also a racist asshole so he cut the daughter out of his life. After she had her second child, he decided to visit. He fell in love with his grandkids. (This is hopefully how The Browning of America is going to take out racists.) They have reconciled. He took pictures to his grandchildren to show his father. My idiot uncle will not acknowledge his great-grandchildren.
So, I’m hoping from a distance that The Great Anti-Racist Thanksgiving Spectacular goes smoothly and is well attended.