Family

Carolyn Hax: Husband’s racism creates a moral tar pit

Carolyn Hax
Carolyn Hax

Q: I’ve been married for four years. After we said “I do,” my daughter started dating a guy of another race. It was then that I found out my husband is racist. He hates my daughter’s boyfriend. He treats him poorly and talks badly about him to get others to hate him, too.

My daughter is now pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, and my husband wants nothing to do with my daughter, her boyfriend or the baby. I, however, love the boyfriend and I’m looking forward to my first grandchild. I am having a difficult time accepting my husband’s stance. I don’t want to live two lives under one roof. I want to be able to share my joy with my husband, but he doesn’t respond. Resentment is building.

I have talked to him repeatedly. I’ve explained my point of view. I’ve pleaded with him. I’ve gotten angry. I’m trying to decide if this is a deal-breaker. How do you suggest I handle all of this?

Anonymous

A: You handle it by admitting your husband is a bad person. Because that’s what his behavior has told you, repeatedly and without apology.

Right?

Now, to be fair, you’re asking us to take your word for it that your husband hates the boyfriend based on race alone; you don’t actually cite an admission of racial bias. So my using his purported racism as the sole basis for a bad-personhood diagnosis would be a leap.

But looky here at what else we have: “He treats the boyfriend poorly and talks badly about him to get others to hate him, too.” Wow. You think he’s a bad person.

If this isn’t a deal-breaker, then what’s your definition of one?

Forget “living two lives under one roof,” that’s the least of it. When you stay with someone whose views and behavior you deplore – whose views and behaviors are deplorable – you ultimately endorse those views and behaviors. You’re saying he’s OK by you.

So of the two lives you refer to, the first is love and acceptance of daughter, boyfriend and coming grandchild, and the entire second one is a moral tar pit.

Apologies to those who didn’t watch it, but The Sopranos said this better than I ever could: Look for the scene with Carmela and Dr. Krakower in “Second Opinion,” (Season 3, Episode 7, toward the end). It’s easy to find online.

Email Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com, or chat with her online at noon each Friday at Washingtonpost.com.

Washington Post Writers Group

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