I have a problem with my little sister's baby daddy. He's racist, bigoted, irresponsible, and I can see that he's a bad person for my sister and their child. It's driving me crazy, and being around him is breaking my heart. What can/should I do? Warning: some derogatory language within.
I know some people are going to say "butt out" and I will accept those answers, but hear me out first. The story:
My sister, Kate, is an incredibly bright, if not a little misguided, 22-year-old woman. Before she met this dude, she was enrolled in biochemistry pre-med program at a decent local college, happy and young, etc.
Enter, this dude. We'll call him Pete. They met while she was in college. She got pregnant shortly after they met, and upon deciding to have the baby, she dropped out of college and he moved into my parents' house with her.
This was two years ago. Baby will be two in January. Over the last two years of getting to know him, it's become quite clear that he is an unsavory character. A few examples, but keep in mind that there are many examples and I'm just telling you those that are the most salient to me:
-Over the summer, we were all at a relative's wedding having drinks. Pete starts telling a story about how he was driving along and got pulled over. He's complaining about "profiling" (he is a young white male, by the way) on the police officer's part and how the officer was giving him a hard time. And as we're listening to the story, none of it makes sense, so we start saying so. He then reveals that the police officer saw him receiving a large amount of cash (this is in a relatively high crime neighborhood) on a street corner, and that when he was pulled over, he had neither his driver's license with him nor did he have insurance for the car.
-About a month ago, my sister posts on her Facebook wall something innocuous, and someone commented "Fag". I'm pretty outspoken about these things and said something like "wow, who still says that word? how offensive." Enter Peter, who not only defends this person but says that he uses this word all the time as "a joke". He also says that he goes to gay bars all the time and laughs when guys hit on him. The next time we saw him, he was wearing this "Straight
-My husband and I hosted Thankgiving this year, and my entire immediate family was there. Before dessert, at around 6pm, my sister said she had to go because Pete had to work that night (thanks, Black friday!) and since he'd been drinking all day, he couldn't drive himself home. If he had not been drinking all day (he specifically said earlier that night that he started drinking at 11am that day with his friends), he could have driven home himself and my sister could have stayed for dessert/games and gotten a ride home from Mom and Dad.
- Another Thanksgiving thing: at the dinner table, a car drove by with a particularly loud muffler and Pete starts going off about "these people" can buy rims from "Paco" down the street and other nonsense. At that point, since it was my house, I shut him down by just saying "Stop, we aren't going to talk about that anymore." He was like "it was just a joke" and mostly stopped at that point, but it was clear he thought I was being oversensitive.
- Today, we all met up to celebrate Christmas. Again, at the dinner table, I was joking around with my nephew (from another sister) and teaching him how to say "toot" (the cutesy word for fart, 'natch). Pete steps in and explains that the older day, his friend dropped a quarter on the ground and Pete exclaimed "Jew! Jew!" at his friend. OF COURSE my niece was there with them, and he joked about how funny it was that she started to repeat "Jew! Jew!" back to him. Then, my niece started to say this word at the dinner table!
I've mentioned my displeasure at his behavior to my mom on several occasions, and she tends to say things like "he's just joking" and making excuses for his behavior. Recently she's gone as far as admit that his behavior is wrong but that "that's how your father was, too," which is a bad excuse. I haven't mentioned it at all to my sister because I don't think she would react well, and I don't want to hurt her or make her feel uncomfortable. I also recognize that my sister is an adult and can make her own decisions, although I really worry that she feels trapped with him (I was once in a relationship where I felt trapped and yeah, it sucks).
I fully realize that the correct answer is probably "butt-out." But is that really it? Can I reach out to my sister and say "Hey listen, I realize that you may not have a problem and if you're totally happy, cool, but know that we are all supporting you if you want to get out of this relationship and that it's an OK thing to do." I feel incredibly selfish about this, but I get so shocked and saddened every time I see my family that I've seriously considered giving an ultimatum to my parents that I won't be there if he's there. I also long for the day when my husband and I move out of the area so I can just "step away" from the situation and really admit that it's out of my control. I think I need some tough love, or maybe some solutions I haven't thought of yet. What say you, Metafilter?