I recently had a conversation with a friend and she shared a concern. My girlfriend is White and her husband is Hispanic. They have been married for several years and have two small children age 3 and 5. My girlfriend’s family loves her husband, and adores their children. However, it is clear they harbor prejudice feelings towards Hispanics and have made her husband an exception to the Hispanic race.
The off colored remarks, jokes and perpetuation of stereotypes have always been at a minimum so they are somewhat tolerated. Now that the children are getting older the concern is they could be influenced by their grandparents, resulting in them feeling ashamed or embarrassed of their Hispanic heritage.
As my girlfriend continued to discuss her concerns I realized I know several people who have experienced this very problem in one form or another. My friend’s scenario is of a more serious nature due to children being involved. My advice to her was to sit down with her parents for a heart to heart, let them know how she felt and her concerns about how it would affect the children.
Like many people who behave this way her parents were somewhat unaware of how their actions could potentially affect the children. Luckily for my girlfriend she was able to get through to her parents who were receptive and really saw the error of their ways.
Prior to my friend’s relationship with her husband, her parents had very little personal interaction with Hispanics and their feelings toward them was formed largely on stereotypes and ignorance. Unfortunately, this is just the behavior that results in prejudice. Not all the instances will be so amicable especially when you are dealing with such a sensitive topic with people you care deeply for.
Another scenario that I find interesting is a friend of mine that is married to someone of another race but shows signs of racism towards others of that race. My friend clearly loves her husband, however, on several occasions she has made comments that some people would think only a racist would make. When I have confronted her about these comments she adamantly denies that she is prejudice and says because of her nuptials she couldn’t possible be a racist.
I think it is possible for someone to harbor feelings that are the result of stereotypes and/or ignorance. When you really scratch the surface these people are prejudice. So I ask you, can someone who has married outside of their race be prejudiced against the race they married?